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Cold Weather, Fast Rounds And Our Trip To Painted Desert

Where: 5555 Painted Mirage Drive [map], 89149
January 23, 2013 at 3:36 PM | by | ()

The prominent topic in Las Vegas over the last few weeks -- both in face-to-face conversation and via social media -- has been the city's displeasure with the unseasonably cool temperatures that have swept across the landscape. Never mind the fact that not a single flake of snow has found its way onto the valley floor. (Although, quite a few things did freeze over including the fountains of Caesars.) Nevertheless, we live in the desert. We moved here because we prefer warm temperatures.

That's not to say that a colder climate is devoid of benefit. A big advantage awaits golfers unafraid of donning an extra layer of fabric to brave the Vegas morn. The chilly air has kept a large percentage of golfers away from the courses, paving the way for casual four-hour rounds spent focusing on one's game rather than the amount of time it's taking the group in front to clear the green.

We capitalized in full on nature's recent gift to the brave with an early January round at Painted Desert, an 18-hole layout situated on the western side of town. Designed by Jay Morrish and opened to the public in 1987, Painted Desert stakes claim to being one of the first desert layouts in Las Vegas. Tight fairways with a few strategically placed water hazards are two course characteristics to keep in mind when approaching the first tee.

In our opinion, Painted Desert is lacking in two key criteria used to grade championship golf courses: Resistance to Scoring and Aesthetics. The course plays to only 6,781 yards from the back tees and despite a slope of 129, you get the feeling that the track plays a bit easier than advertised. As for the eye test, the surrounding mountains offer some of the classic vistas experienced on western Las Vegas golf courses, but the layout winds through a local community with a portion of the property abutting the nearby freeway. There's a bit of a cramped feeling at Painted Desert that you won't experience at places like Rio Secco or Shadow Creek.

The course does have its moments, though. The two Par-3s on the front nine -- known as Watery Grave and Curso de Agua -- feature challenging approach shots, multi-tiered greens and water hazards on the left. And, the Par-4, 292-yard 14th offers up a great birdie opportunity for those who can avoid the giant willow tree and water hazard to the right of the fairway. A well-struck tee shot here opens up the door for a short iron approach into a sizeable green.

For locals, Painted Desert is one of six golf courses under the OB Sports Card flag which, for $149, includes five complimentary rounds and either 350 bonus points or one dozen Srixon Q Star golf balls. Discounted rounds, complimentary driving range passes at your home course and complimentary tournaments throughout the year are just a few of the benefits that come with membership.

Painted Desert won't rank near the top of our favorite Las Vegas courses, but it was an enjoyable round played in four hours on a track that was in respectable shape. The staff was terrific, the post-round lunch hit the spot and the clubhouse facilities were more than sufficient. Plus, the rates (see below) are more than reasonable for what's being offered.

Now, here's hoping for warmer days soon.

ADDRESS: 5555 Painted Mirage Drive, Las Vegas, NV. 89149

CONTACT: 702-645-2570

WEBSITE: Click here

DIRECTIONS FROM THE STRIP: Take I-15 North to I-95 North (exit 42A). After 11 miles, take Ann Road (exit 90B). After one mile, turn left onto Painted Mirage Drive.

RATES: From $25-$59 for non-residents, depending on time of round.


Back: 71.8/129 (6,781 yards)
Middle: 69.9/125 (6,269 yards)
Forward: 72.2/126 (5,647 yards)

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