Primm Valley Golf Club's Lakes Course: An oasis in the Nevada desert

By Bill Bowman, Contributor

PRIMM, Nev. -- Leave it to renowned golf course designer Tom Fazio to come up with the Lakes Course in the middle of a desert. Well, at Primm Valley Golf Club he's done just that.

18 Holes | Resort | Par: 71 | 6945 yards
Primm Valley G.C. - Lakes Course - 2nd
The signature second hole on Primm Valley Golf Club's Lakes Course.
Primm Valley G.C. - Lakes Course - 2ndPrimm Valley G.C. - Lakes golf coursePrimm Valley Golf Club -- clubhouse

Primm Valley's Lakes Course (as well as an aptly named second design, the Desert Course) offers players pristine playing conditions, wide fairways, true-rolling greens and a relaxed atmosphere. The courses, located just inside the California border about 30 minutes south of Las Vegas, are isolated. It's just you, nature and the golf courses. No houses, no traffic. It's the perfect setting for a round of golf.

While there are two outstanding courses here, we'll highlight the popular Lakes Course this time.

"The Lakes Course is definitely an easier course off the tee than the Desert Course," Head Professional Rick Koffler said. "It's very fair and the fairways tend to slope back to the middle. But it's a little tougher as you get closer to the green so it's a great, challenging course."

Grab your clubs and your buddies let's get this round under way.

Primm Valley's Lakes Course: Risk/reward challenges

The second and 10th holes on the Lakes Course are ideal risk/reward holes with water coming prominently into play.

The second, the signature hole on the course, is a 530-yard par 5 that plays around a lake. The hole is a definite birdie possibility but players need to take the smart route and make it a three-shot hole as the pond and bunker left will catch errant tee shots and the green is guarded by a pair of menacing bunkers as well as that same pond on the left.

"No. 2, right out of the box, can kind of make or break your round," Koffler said. "You want to challenge the lake, but still keep it right to keep it dry."

The 10th is one of the more intriguing holes anywhere. At 347 yards, it appears to be a normal par 4. But, that's taking the route around the pond and missing the eight bunkers that surround the green. But, there is another option. Taking driver and ripping it over the pond and between two bunkers could set up an eagle. It's around 240 yards to carry the pond (depending on which tees you play) so it's definitely worth the risk.

"It's definitely a great hole no matter which way you play it," Koffler said. "You can fly it to the green or take the safer, drier route and play around the pond. But then you've got a lot of sand traps around the green to deal with."

A little help off the tee

The course offers wide, receptive fairways that many resort courses feature to help the golfers find the fairway more often. That certainly doesn't mean this course is a pushover as the many lakes, bunkers and desert areas will show.

An oddity

It's not often that a golf course finishes the front nine with a par 3. It's even odder that both golf courses at Primm end the front nines with a par 3. Both holes can play long (204 yards from the tips on the Lakes Course and 222 yards on the Desert Course), so the challenge is there to make the turn to the back nine on a positive note with a par -- or that rare birdie.

"It's a little unusual to have both front nines end with a par 3, but people seem to like it," Koffler said. "Both are over 200 yards and both have elevated tees and large greens. they are both quite a test."

Primm Valley Golf Club's practice area

Primm Valley Golf Club's two-sided practice facility is ideal to warm up and roomy enough so players won't seem crammed together. There's also a chipping and putting area on the way to the first tee of the Desert Course to fine-tune those parts of your game before you tee off.

In the Primm Valley clubhouse

Whether it's a snack between nines or a meal after the round, you'll find great food and a relaxed atmosphere. If it's a nice day (there's about 300 days of sunshine here), enjoy your food and drinks on the patio and watch as players tackle the scenic par-4 16th. In the pro shop, pick up a logo shirt or hat for your collection as there is a wide variety of clothing options. You can also stock up on those items you may have forgotten (sunscreen, a hat, glove, etc.).

Primm Valley Golf Club's Lakes Course: The verdict

With the Lakes Course and the Desert Course at Primm Valley Golf Club, the only problem is deciding which course to play. But, with stay-and-play options (there are three resorts in Primm just minutes from the golf course), you don't have to make a choice. Play them both. The courses offer a variety of golf challenges, from long par 5s to scenic par 3s and everything in between.

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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