A Mesquite-Flavored Thanksgiving, Day 2: The Conestoga Trail

Day 2 of my Thanksgiving weekend golf trip to the Mesquite area featured what I considered the “main course” round. It did not disappoint…

Conestoga Golf ClubMesquite, NV11/28/14

We had a 9:30 tee time, but when we arrived they quickly let us know that there was an hour frost delay. The staff did a good job moving things along and making up for lost time, so we ended up teeing off a little after 10:00. That said, the starter and/or cart attendants could have done a little more to keep people informed of the pecking order. We kind of felt compelled to wait around awkwardly by the range until we were called to the first tee.

Once finally on the course, things went smoothly. We were paired with two other singles. We rarely had to wait on the groups ahead and the groups behind never pushed us much.

By most accounts, Conestoga is considered the number two course in town behind the more famous Wolf Creek. Of what I’ve played thus far, I’d have to agree with that assessment. Wolf is a special place, but Conestoga is not as far behind as you might think. It is a fantastic course on every level.

Conestoga is somewhat the opposite of Falcon Ridge, where I played Thursday. Here, it’s the front nine that is more dramatic and target-oriented. It works through the canyon and features some really unique and often spectacular holes cutting through the rugged terrain. It feels woven in perfectly with the natural surroundings. At times it creates some awkward sight lines and narrow landing areas.

Conestoga is definitely a course you have to play a number of times to really understand the intricacies of certain holes. There is no GPS on the carts, but they do give you a pretty basic yardage guide that does help a little. Still, until you are out there it’s not always easy to know what you are dealing with.

There are many memorable holes throughout this layout. The highlight holes on the front nine include 2, 3, 4 and 6. The 2nd is an awesome par-3 with a drop off from tee to green tucked down into a small canyon. The 3rd and 4th are fantastic back-to-back par-4s, each with risk/reward options off the tee.

The 6th is a unique par-5 with all sorts of shot options to different sections of fairway separated by rocky ravines. One of the people we played with mentioned the hole’s nickname—"The Three-Ditch Bitch.“ I can understand where this name comes from.

The back nine opens up a lot more and is much more forgiving, but also plays longer. The highlight holes here, in my opinion, are 10, 14 and 17. The 10th and 14th are both really fun par-3s. The 17th is a signature hole. It’s a tough, yet gorgeous, dogleg left with the green tucked back into a canyon.

Personally, I would much prefer if the nines were switched, but that’s a minor quibble.

At the urging of the starter, we ended up playing the forward copper tees (only 5,889 yards), which neutered the layout a little bit. In retrospect, I would have preferred to play the silver tees (6,378 yards). There are two sets even further back including the gold (6,761) and the black (7,232), which are for the really good players. The further back you play, the challenge obviously goes up exponentially.

The course was in nice condition overall. The tee boxes were well maintained. The fairways looked good, but the turf was tricky as it seems the overseed didn’t completely overtake. The top was a relatively thin layer of sticky rye grass with the snaggy, dry dormant bermuda roots still underneath. The playability was fine and the surfaces were consistent, so it just took a little adjusting. The rough was not too much of a factor—a little dry and cut low. The greens were good. They were very firm and my lower trajectory shots wouldn’t hold them at all. I was living on the fringes all day. Putts rolled smoothly and quickly on the tight and somewhat dry surfaces.

The greens here are very tricky and the pin placements Friday were diabolical on top of little mounds and ridges. You had to hit the ball firm to get to the hole, but if you missed your ball would often roll five feet past. A few pins were a bit too extreme if you ask me, especially on such a busy day when you want pace of play to be quicker.

Conestoga is a fantastic course and is not to be overlooked on your Mesquite trip. The Troon-managed facilities are nice and the course is a dramatic, challenging and fun design. I would highly recommend it to anyone.

Some pictures from Conestoga Golf Club (11/28/14):

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Alvin, Simon, Theodore…

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Like the day before, we still had the itch to play more golf, but it was later in the day when we finished at Conestoga. We didn’t want to take our chances at any other full-size courses because we knew we probably wouldn’t finish, so we had to get a little creative…

Beaver Dam Lodge Golf CourseBeaver Dam. AZ11/28/14

What else can be said about this course that hasn’t already been said? Oh wait, nothing has EVER been said about this place!

There is a small stretch of Arizona you travel through between Mesquite and St. George and there is one tiny bit of civilization in the Littlefield/Beaver Dam area. Few people know there is actually a little lodge with its own 9-hole course.

The cost for 9 holes with a cart was $20, which is definitely too steep for this place. Hardly anyone was out there, so we basically had the course to ourselves and we got around very quickly.

There isn’t much to say about this course. It’s a pretty basic par-3 course. The scorecard claims to have one short par-4, but that tee is currently moved up to play as a 150-yard par-3 hole.

Conditions were less than inspiring, but the greens were pretty decent and that’s what matters most. There are a lot of trees in play here, so it’s definitely a different vibe than all the desert style courses around the region. However, the course itself is not worth the trouble.

It scratched the golf itch and satisfied our compulsion to check out a new course, so these are the things that mattered most to us. For most, it wouldn’t be worth the trouble.

Some pictures from Beaver Dam Lodge Golf Course (11/28/14):

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