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
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)