Golf in the desert: Nevada is nirvana for golfers

Outcroppings of red rock accent the 13th hole at scenic Sand Hollow, one of many excellent golf...

Outcroppings of red rock accent the 13th hole at scenic Sand Hollow, one of many excellent golf courses in Mesquite, Nev. (Handout)


, Last Updated: 2:17 PM ET

In Nevada, not far from The City That Never Sleeps, is a little laid-back place that has plenty of the same sizzle — flashing lights and all.

Mesquite, an hour away from Las Vegas, is nirvana for golfers, especially those who don’t want to break the bank to swing the sticks.

Mesquite also has some world-class casinos of its own, with some out-of-this world restaurants. Of course, a trip to the small city involves a flight into Vegas (something you can do from pretty well anywhere in Canada).

But back to Mesquite. With a huge exclamation mark, I loved the golf, food, accommodations and people. The good news: Summer, fall, winter, spring — it’s good year round.

On a trip organized by sports-trip specialists Gendron Travel, we landed and headed directly for a golf course — Coyote Springs. We were up for whatever sizzling temperatures Nevada could toss our way. One hundred-plus-degrees? Bring it on. Thankfully, there is less humidity than in Canada so it’s not quite as sizzling as it seems. We were in the middle of nowhere, then, all of a sudden, we were playing golf.

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Fortified by deep white sand bunkers, the Coyote Springs layout provided a taste of old school with new, zesty charm.

“The conditions are probably what we’re most proud of,” Karl Larcom, the gold director said. “And we’ll keep it this way 12 months of the year.”

After a day in the blistering sunshine, we parked our pale, but reddening, carcasses at the Holiday Inn Express and Suites.

On Day 2, we took on Conestoga Golf Course, which undulates through canyons and rugged rock outcroppings and invites players to experience Troon Golf. It was yet another challenge, not only on the course, but also to drink enough water to combat the heat, mixed in with an occasional frosty American beer.

Dinner that night — heavy on the wow factor — was at Samurai 21. Cooked right in front of us, the food was out of this world. It was also a challenge in co-ordination as our chef playfully flipped portions of the food from the grill into our mouths.

On Day 3, we took on The Golf Course at Sand Hollow Resort, its rolling fairways surrounded by natural red-sand bunkers and red rock outcroppings.

By this point I had become increasingly edgy about chasing my golf balls into anything that didn’t look pristine green. Snakes, scorpions, spiders and other nasty wildlife can put that fear into you. (The positive behind losing so many balls is my golf bag was becoming much easier to lift each day.)

We checked into the Eureka Casino Hotel, where we had dinner at Gregory’s Mesquite Grill. One word: Awesome.

On Day 4, our final full day, we tackled Wolf Creek, a fabled course so magnificent it has been included in Tiger Woods’ video game. It’s not hard to figure out why after marvelling over it for most of the 18 holes.

“There’s plenty of cachet in being one of the signature courses on the Tiger game,” Wolf Creek GM Joel Villanos said.

The course wound up and down and all around — a journey through canyons, with its elevation changes making it wild, wonderful and unique.

“Any hole you play, you’d be hard-pressed to say this hole looks like that hole,” Villanos said. “We have a lot of signature holes, I’d say 16 of them. My personal favourite is No. 8.”

There’s so just much visual candy; The course is right up there with the best — we’re talking about courses like Bandon Dunes and Pebble Beach.

Thank you, Mesquite. I’ll be back.

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There’s a reason why they call Las Vegas The City That Never Sleeps.

Not only does the city always have its eyes open, turns out it’s tough to close yours.

There’s just so much to do, so much to see. You could spend hours and hours sitting on a patio just people watching. Because you can’t take your eyes off some of these “people,” dressed up as the likes of Sponge Bob Square Pants, Captain America, Iron Man, Super Mario, Elvis and Chewbacca, who will get their picture taken with you for a “tip.”

Then there’s the 24/7 noise and excitement of the casinos.

And the entertainment. Checking out one of the many Cirque du Soleil shows is a must. I saw KA at the MGM Grand and was thoroughly entertained. I also had what may be the best meal of my life there, at the Joel Robuchon Restaurant. With wine-tasting to match, the elegant dining pricetag was worth every penny.