Arnie offers up a rollercoaster ride on the Palmer Course at Oasis Golf Club in Mesquite, Nevada

By Wes Gilbertson, Contributor

MESQUITE, Nev. -- It's a bit like the first frightening scene in a scary movie.

18 Holes | Resort | Par: 71 | 6468 yards
Oasis Golf Club - Palmer Course - 18th
Buckle up! The Palmer Course at Oasis features a handful of dramatic drops and hairpin turns.
Oasis Golf Club - Palmer Course - 18thOasis Golf Club - Palmer Course - 8thOasis Golf Club - Palmer Course - 7thOasis Golf Club - Palmer Course - 5thOasis Golf Club - Palmer Course - no. 5Oasis Golf Club - Palmer Course - 3rd

The first four holes on the Palmer Course at Oasis Golf Club are mundane, with wide-open fairways framed by houses and not a lot to up your heart rate. Just your run-of-the-mill residential course, right?

Not so fast. You're in for a surprise when you arrive at the fifth tee.

"You get done with no. 4, and then you're driving up this little hill, and the next thing you know, you're 100 feet above the fairway and really don't have anything to aim at. It's beautiful, yet it's daunting," said Adam Schwartz, the head professional at Oasis Golf Club, Mesquite's only 36-hole facility.

"You're on a tee-box where you can't even see the whole fairway. That's the challenge for the next four holes -- you're playing some tee shots that are very intimidating. You just see canyons on both sides of the fairway. It looks very narrow."

Palmer Course at Oasis Golf Club: The course

It doesn't end with that drive.

Buckle up, because the Palmer Course at Oasis -- designed by Arnold Something-Or-Other, you can probably piece it together from there -- features a handful of dramatic drops and hairpin turns.

Put it this way, the slow start will be a distant memory by the time you tap in your last putt. In fact, if you sneak a peak of the 392-yard finisher before your round, you'll realize right away this isn't a parkland stroll or show-home tour.

"It's probably the best finishing hole in Mesquite," Schwartz said. "You're on an elevated tee, and then you have a pond all the way up the right side that guards the green. And you can't bail out left because it's out-of-bounds. A lot of people love to play the 18th because if you're down a bet, a lot of things can happen on that hole."

Imagine that -- gambling in this town.

With a full-time population of about 16,000 mostly retired residents and not much nightlife, Mesquite will never be mistaken for Las Vegas, the round-the-clock party city to the south along Interstate 15. Mesquite has established a solid reputation among golfers, though, and enjoys a dose of TV time each fall with Golf Channel's coverage of the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship.

The 6,633-yard Palmer Course put Mesquite on the map as a golf destination when in opened in 1995, and, according to Arnie's own Web site, it has been ranked among his 10 favorite designs. The Palmer Course was even the location of Golf Channel's Big Break Mesquite in 2007.

Oasis Golf Club is also home to the Canyons Course, which is actually rated a wee bit tougher than its older sibling. Palmer designed the back nine of the 6,408-yard challenge -- including the stunning 17th, arguably the best shortie on the entire property -- and David Druzisky mapped out the front.

Oasis Golf Club has a full practice facility and instruction is available.

Oasis Golf Club's Palmer Course: The verdict

Usually this question produces a cringe from any employee at a 36-hole hangout. Not Schwartz.

Asked to identify the must-play course at Oasis Golf Club, the Wisconsin-raised head professional didn't hesitate for even a second.

"If I was just going to recommend one, I would say the Palmer," Schwartz said. "I think the elevation changes on the Palmer are a lot more dramatic, and there's a little bit more beauty, aesthetically. And it's a golf course you can play every day and not get bored and not feel any redundancy."

The Palmer Course isn't Mesquite's trophy track anymore -- that distinction belongs to one-of-a-kind Wolf Creek Golf Club -- but if you're planning to play a handful of rounds in these scenic desert surroundings, it should definitely be on your hit-list.

If you manage to hit the fairway at the fifth hole on the Palmer Course, you'd be crazy if you didn't at least try your luck at the tables after the sun goes down.

Eureka Casino Resort is just a mile from the clubhouse at Oasis Golf Club and is home to Mesquite's largest gaming room. The casino is located just across the parking lot from the hotel, close enough to walk but far enough to make you think twice before retrieving more money from your suitcase. Because the accommodations are in a separate building from the tables and slot machines, you won't have to worry about noise or cigarette smoke.

Eureka Casino Resort offers stay-and-play options with several courses in Mesquite and the surrounding area.

Wes GilbertsonWes Gilbertson, Contributor

Wes Gilbertson covers the NHL’s Calgary Flames and writes golf features for Postmedia in Calgary, Alta. When the snow melts, he's living proof that thin mountain air doesn't turn everybody into a long-drive specialist. Follow Wes on Twitter at @WesGilbertson.

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