This week, I made a quick trip up to Southern Nevada. It’s kind of become an annual tradition to go up to Vegas (sometimes Mesquite) in early November. One of my golf buddies usually plans it, but he wasn’t able to make it this year. However, I was invited to play a comp round at Rio Secco on Thursday morning with some guys from Greenskeeper.org. So, I decided it was a good excuse to keep the tradition alive.
I won’t review Rio Secco again because I have reviewed it several times already. In fact, you can check out my previous review from just earlier this year.
These November Vegas trips are typically not the standard Golf Nomad style. It’s not all about cramming in as much golf as possible, which is kind of a nice break from my normal travel approach. In fact, I only played once each day on this trip. I was able to enjoy some time on The Strip on Wednesday night before heading home right after golf on Thursday.
On Wednesday, I decided to bypass Vegas and head further out toward Mesquite because I did have some unfinished business to address. Earlier this year, I completed the circuit in St. George. However, I still had one Mesquite course lingering. I was bound and determined to get to it on this trip. Last year, we found an incredible (and somewhat fluky) deal that allowed us to play The Canyons Course at Oasis Golf Club.
This time, a DealCaddy voucher ($65 any day after 11:00) just happened to come out last week that would allow me to come back and The Palmer Course at a reasonable price. The big reason Oasis ended up taking longer to get to is that their rates tend to be really high. Even in the summer when hardly anyone is out there, good deals are hard to find. Plus, they have really shortened hours in the offseason. Even in season, public play is limited at this semi-private club. For these and other reasons, it’s just never worked out for me to play here previously. Last year worked out beautifully and this year was good enough to finally complete the Mesquite list.
I booked an 11:20 tee time. It was reasonably busy out here on a perfect Chamber of Commerce postcard day in Mesquite. I was paired with another single and a twosome, and we went off closer to 11:10. We never really pushed the group ahead much until the final few holes and an older couple that went off behind us never pushed much from behind. Overall, it was a very relaxed pace of just under 4.5 hours.
As the name would suggest, The Palmer Course was designed by the late great Arnold Palmer. Like The Canyons Course, this layout does feature some pretty spread-out routing that can be a bit confusing at times. It runs through the residential community, so you have to cross a few streets. Then, there are some awkward criss-crosses and switchbacks, so you really have to follow the cart paths and pay attention to the signage.
The Palmer Course essentially runs out and back, never returning to the clubhouse until after the 18th hole. There are numerous restrooms, a little snack cart at the turn and we saw the cart girl several times throughout the round. This is a semi-private facility with a primarily senior membership core, so you have everything you need throughout the course.
Parts of the course come close to Falcon Ridge, so you can see a few holes in the background. Most of the holes here have houses, but a majority are up along the hillsides and not much in play. It is pretty hilly terrain here and the course design takes good advantage of the natural changes in elevation.
The first couple holes (a short uphill par-4 followed by a simple downhill par-3) are rather tame to get you started. Then, the par-4 3rd gets interesting with a semi-blind downhill tee shot and a dogleg left over water for your approach. Where the course really gets going, however, is on the par-5 5th hole. This is where the rugged Mesquite landscape really makes its first appearance and it is followed by the best stretch of holes on the course.
The 5th is a fun, attackable par-5 with an elevated tee shot. You hit down into a canyon and then play through it all the way to the green. The par-4 6th turns you around and you play back up into a canyon with a green that is surrounded by a cool natural cathedral of rock and sandstone. It looks like a perfect ambush point in an old Western movie. We were just waiting for the enemy tribe to appear and surround us on top of the hillside.
The 6th is easily the best par-3 on The Palmer Course. It has you hitting across a canyon to a well-protected green on the other side. Lastly, the par-5 8th features another downhill tee shot into a canyon. However, this one also brings water up the right side as you get closer to the hole. It’s a much more intimidating approach, especially if you are going for it in two.
After this, the course is still very enjoyable and well-designed the rest of the way through. However, nothing quite measures up to the excitement or beauty of these four signature holes. The 11th is a great hole and its upper tee box probably offers the best scenic vista point on the course. The 18th is a fun finisher, as well, with another big elevated tee shot and dogleg right design around/over a big water hazard.
The course was in very good overall condition out of its fall overseed. It was pretty comparable to what we experienced here last year on The Canyons Course. The tee boxes were nice. The fairways were generally very good with just a few thin spots here and there where the overseed didn’t come in as consistently. The rough was not overseeded, so it was semi-dormant bermuda as it slowly transitions into winter dormancy. It was cut down, but just long and tangly enough to make us work a little. The bunkers were in great shape.
The greens seemed firm, but they were actually quite receptive and they were rolling well at medium speeds. They were pretty grainy, so that and the natural slopes really made some putts slicker than they looked and vice versa. Otherwise, the greens here don’t feature too much undulation and they are pretty easy to figure out.
In the end, I really enjoyed my round on The Palmer Course. I’d probably put it a slight notch above The Canyon Course. Wolf Creek is definitely in a class by itself and I am determined to make a return trip out there soon now that I’ve played everything else in town. However, both Oasis courses fall perfectly in that excellent second tier with Conestoga and Falcon Ridge. I do think Oasis is generally quite overpriced and good deals are harder to find than on some other courses in Mesquite/St. George. Still, they are both definitely worth checking out.
Some pictures from Oasis Golf Club (The Palmer Course) (11/7/18):
(Click on any picture below to pull up a gallery slideshow.)