Opened in 1997, Primm Valley Golf Club sports a pair of Tom Fazio-designed tracks that all but rise like an oasis from the region’s rustic canvass. The courses sit some 45 minutes south of the Las Vegas Strip.
“It was built by the original owner of the Primm Resort, Gary Primm, and he wanted it as his Shadow Creek,” said Jonathan Waddington, general manager and head professional at Primm Valley G.C. “With all the wildlife and nature out here, it’s kind of a little sanctuary.”
Sanctuary from the Strip, indeed, and newcomers need know that this golf stop is no Vegas gamble.
I like to think that we’re different than the golf courses in Las Vegas; we like to consider ourselves a jewel in the rough,” Waddington said. “It’s a little more unique experience out here in that it’s one of the few 36-hole facilities (in the area), and the course designs are pretty unbeatable at the price point we’re at.”
For local players, said price offers the rare opportunity to beat the house.
Barry, a mid-handicapper from Las Vegas, said Primm Valley’s Desert Course “is pretty challenging.”
“The greens are tricky but fair, and I think the people here are very nice — so I really like this course. I play a lot of golf, and this is one of my favorite courses for the money. It’s just a really good value.”
Primm Valley Golf Club’s Desert Course: Arid and exacting
Between the two tracks at Primm Valley — the Desert Course and Lakes Course — the Desert will appeal more to the better player.
“I think for the lower handicapper, the Desert plays easier because of the length difference; not really the overall scorecard length but just in the way it plays,” Waddington said. “For your 20-plus players, however, it tends to play harder because the desert can get into their heads. If you’re comfortable hitting a shot off of dirt — which most single-digits are — then it will play easier. But for the high-handicap, hitting from the desert can get mental.”
Such head games are furthered by finding flat lies, avoiding taut traps and navigating some tight boxes.
“As a Fazio course, it has a lot of sloping fairways and deep bunkers,” Waddington added. “There’s more risk-reward on the Desert than on the Lakes, and for most, the Desert plays a little tougher. They’re both really, really good plays, but I think the Desert is a little more dynamic.”
Though more arid than its Lakes’ sister, the Desert outset offers dual water holes.
“No. 1 and no. 2 are just awesome holes,” Waddington said. “They’re both long, and they circle the biggest lake that we have out here, and the second has a nice approach over that water. After that, the front side isn’t particularly long.”
A fine run of getable scoring ensues on nos. 5-8.
“The fifth is a little tighter,” Waddington explained. “You can certainly get away with hitting 3-wood, but to get it to the bottom of the hill from the tee, you’ll likely need driver to leave a short second.”
After a fun, 389-yard, par-4 sixth with the risk-reward of avoiding desert waste on the right, the Desert cards back-to-back par 5s. Pass the getable seventh, and the meaty 565-yard eighth hole sports desert left and a challenging, raised green structure.
An attractive, 222-yard, par-3 ninth takes players around the turn before the Desert regains steam four holes later.
“The 13th is a double-dogleg par 5 that requires both a good drive and a solid second shot,” Waddington said of a challenge routing waste-area left and trouble deep right. “Only the longest hitters are reaching it in two.”
Heading home presents a scoreable finish on the penultimate hole.
“No. 17 is a good, short par 4 where you can hit 3-wood or 3-iron from the tee,” Waddington said. “And then there’s lake water to the left with an uphill second shot and a lot of bunkering short of the green.”
Primm Valley Golf Club’s Desert Course: The verdict
Between Primm Valley’s two courses, the Desert is more of a shot-makers course. The more arid of the pair in design, players seeking a day of 36 may well want to gear up on the Lakes Course before dialing-in for the Desert’s enhanced test.
Guests going to-or-from Las Vegas will indeed want to look into 36-holes of golf, an opportunity heightened with a stay-and-play at Primm Resorts, just five miles down the highway.
Instruction is offered, and there is a full practice facility and eatery on site.
courtesy of Judd Spicer (worldgolf.com)