Mesquite over Las Vegas: With Nevada golf vacations, bigger isn't always better

By Bill Bowman, Contributor

For many it's a no-brainer: Las Vegas is the ultimate spot for your getaway. There's gambling, golf, dining, entertainment and so much more.

Conestoga Golf Club in Mesquite - hole 6
Exciting golf courses like Conestoga are just one of the reasons Mesquite is a legit alternative to Las Vegas.
Conestoga Golf Club in Mesquite - hole 6Eureka resort - Mesquite, NevadaCoral Canyon Golf Course - sixth holeOasis Golf Club - Palmer Course - hole 7Coyote Springs Golf Club - no. 5

But for some looking to get away from it all, bigger isn't always better. Mesquite, Nev., may have an edge over its big brother when it comes to places to escape for fun and games, including golf.

Why? Here are some of the reasons ...

One of the big advantages is the people working at many of the resorts and golf courses in Mesquite greet every guest with open arms. Whether you're staying at the CasaBlanca Resort and Casino, the Virgin River Hotel and Casino, the Eureka Casino Resort or the Falcon Ridge Hotel, the tranquility will surprise you and the attention to detail will impress you.

"You'll have more of an intimate experience with your friends in Mesquite," said Cody Law, executive director of Golf Mesquite Nevada. "It's such a tight community. You don't just check in and say goodbye to your friends ... you'll see them everywhere."

And that includes the stunning array of world-class golf courses -- seven of which are within two minutes of each other, which is another plus. That means there's no down time as you drive 20-30 minutes (or more in some cases) just to tee it up. And when you have a 20-30 minute drive to a course, it also means you face that same drive back to the resort after the round.

With layouts such as Oasis Golf Club (which includes the Canyons Course and Palmer Course), Falcon Ridge Golf Club, Palms Golf Club, Conestoga Golf Club and CasaBlanca Golf Club, you're just a driver and 5-iron away from the door of your resort room to the first tee.

And if you do feel like venturing farther out to play golf, three more courses -- Coyote Springs Golf Club (back toward Vegas) as well as Coral Canyon Golf Course and Sand Hollow Resort (both in Utah) -- are also part of the Golf Mesquite Nevada family.

"We've got great golf courses at great rates," Law said. "And there are golf packages available for everyone."

For one week, Mesquite is also home to the biggest hitters in golf as host of the annual RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship. The event airs on The Golf Channel, which not only showcases the event but also highlights all of the courses in the area.

"All of the resorts and golf courses are right here," Law said. "In fact, everything you need for your getaway is right here."

Mesquite has become a destination for baseball, softball and soccer tournaments, as well as a hub for hikers and off-road enthusiasts.

"Whether people are going to Zion or Valley of Fire or Lake Mead or Lake Powell, Mesquite is just a great spot for them, proximity-wise, for their outings," Law said.

Those outings also include spa treatments, horseback riding, skydiving and a myriad of other outdoor activities.

And there's more. When it comes to dining options, Law says Las Vegas does have an edge -- but only when it comes to sheer numbers. In Mesquite, the numbers may be smaller, but there's plenty of fine-dining available.

"There are steak houses, Mexican, Italian, Chinese, American … coffee shops, buffets," Law said. "There's something for everyone."

And if you've ever spent an hour or more in a buffet line, or 30 minutes waiting for a table, you'll know that's not the ideal way to spend time on your vacation. Most of the time in Mesquite you'll walk into a restaurant, be seated and your dining experience is under way.

At night in Mesquite, lounges and clubs spring to life with comedy shows, dancing and other entertainment options. It may not be wall-to-wall people like the clubs in Vegas, but those who come to Mesquite seem to prefer the laid-back atmosphere.

"It's all here," Law said. "It's just on a smaller scale. There are still all the gaming options people enjoy, but they are in a more relaxed atmosphere."

Now relax and enjoy it.

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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