Mesquite's Palms Golf Club: Desert golf and traditional golf rolled into one

By Bill Bowman, Contributor

MESQUITE, Nev. -- It's not often golfers get the chance to play two different golf courses in the same round.

18 Holes | Resort | Par: 72 | 6804 yards
Palms Golf Club - hole 10
The Palms Golf Club, the oldest of Mesquite's world-class golf courses, remains one of the best.
Palms Golf Club - hole 10Palms Golf Club - hole 14 teePalms Golf Club - hole 15 teePalms Golf Club - hole 14

At the Palms Golf Club near Mesquite, Nev., the round opens with a traditional nine holes and finishes with a desert nine. It's two sensations in one round, making for a memorable golf experience.

"The Palms is a great golf course," Head Professional Ken Turner said. "It may be in the middle of the desert, but once people get on the course, they will see a course with plenty of lush fairways that is a great golf challenge with unobstructed views. It's one of the best values around."

A par-72 William Hull design, the Palms measures 6,804 yards from the tips and starts with a wide-open par-4 that doglegs right around a batch of tall palm trees. More than 200 palms stand guard around the golf course; hence the name.

From the tips, no. 1 plays 442 yards, but taking the tee shot over the trees -- and avoiding the fairway bunkers -- leaves a mid-iron into a green guarded by three bunkers. It's a solid opening hole that will ease players into the round.

The rest of the front nine is straightforward.

"What you see is what you get," Turner said. "You can kind of bomb away with the driver on the front nine, but you've still got to hit it straight."

Water can come into play, depending on your drive, on seven of the nine holes at Palms Golf Club, so accuracy remains key off the tee.

While the front nine is a nice, rolling, traditional layout with water features and bunkers to provide most of the defense, the back gets the rave reviews. And for good reason. Severe elevation changes make club selection as challenging as the actual shots.

It's a jaw-dropping, pulse-pounding ride that will thrill golfers from start to finish.

"Most of our guests really rave about the back nine," Turner said. "They love the elevation changes and the views. It's just something that shouldn't be missed."

Palms Golf Club's par-5 10th, playing 518 yards, offers a forced carry off the tee to a wide fairway. That sets the stage for a downhill second shot to a large green with bunkers short, right and long. It's reachable in two, but remember, when the fairway ends, you're in the desert, which can lead to some nasty lies -- if you find your golf ball.

Then the ride really turns thrilling. The par-3 11th is straight downhill, playing 214 yards from the tips. Again, the Palms places a premium on accuracy, as the desert looms close to the back and left of the green.

The par-4 12th is just the opposite, playing straight uphill. And put the driver away on this 322-yard test. You'll hit a mid to short iron into the green, but make sure to take enough club, because a false front spits short shots back at your feet.

"The elevation changes really make players think about which club to hit," Turner said. "And that adds to the challenge of an already tough nine holes."

And we're just getting started. Still to come are two amazing golf holes, the par-3 14th at 190 yards and the par-5 , 507-yard 15th.

"The 14th and 15th holes really stand out to players," Turner said. "The 14th, a par-3 that has players driving across a huge desert arroyo, is a really good golf hole."

He means good in a tough way. Come up short on this hole, and your ball will roll some 70 feet down to the bottom of the arroyo, leaving a full wedge up the hill. From the bottom, you can't see the green, adding to an already difficult shot. Oh, and three bunkers sit long, forcing players to chip downhill to the pin with that false front ready to inflict agony. Good luck.

That sets the stage for Palms Golf Club's signature hole -- as if you haven't already played three or four that could fit the bill. Standing about 120 feet above the fairway on the 15th, the views are spectacular. The tee shot itself presents a thrill in that it's a forced carry to the fairway below, but a solid drive gives big hitters the chance to get home in two. Before you leave the tee, grab the camera and take a photo or two. It's breathtaking.

Palms Golf Club: In the clubhouse

Before or after the round, or at the turn, grab a burger, a dog or a sandwich, always served quickly and with a smile. The clubhouse provides a great place to relax after the round. Grab a cold one, sit on the patio and watch the two-hole finish.

Golf Mesquite Nevada

The Palms is part of Golf Mesquite Nevada, which also includes Oasis Golf Club (Canyons course and Palmer course), CasaBlanca Golf Course, Coyote Springs Golf Club, Conestoga Golf Club, Sand Hollow Golf Course, Falcon Ridge Golf Course and Coral Canyon Golf Club. Whether you're visiting for the day or an extended vacation, the folks at Golf Mesquite Nevada can set you up with a golf package at any of the venues.

Palms Golf Club: The verdict

The Palms Golf Club, the oldest of Mesquite's world-class golf courses, remains one of the best. With its two-tone design, mixing lush fairways on the front with target golf on the back, it's shouldn't be missed.

Bill BowmanBill Bowman, Contributor

Bill Bowman is a Las Vegas-based writer who has more than 40 years in the sports-writing business. He's spent the past 16-plus years covering the golf scene in Vegas and has teed it up for magazine profiles with celebrities including comedian Bill Engvall, actor Jeffrey Donovan (USA's Burn Notice), ESPN personality Colin Cowherd, NASCAR's Kurt Busch, Collective Soul's Ed Roland, the Baltimore Ravens' Jonathan Ogden and many others.

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