Category Archives: Nevada

Conestoga Golf Club Review – Mesquite, Nevada

Conestoga Golf Club is an 18 hole facility based in Mesquite, Nevada. While many connoisseurs of golf are familiar with Mesquite because of Wolf Creek, Conestoga is definitely worth checking out while you’re in town. Read on to see my full review for the golf course and its facilities.

Practice Area: A-

Conestoga has one of the better practice areas you’ll find. It has almost everything you need to prep for your round in the desert. There are multiple target greens on the range with yardages, practice balls are already laid out, and there are club cleaners for use. The practice area, while not terribly large, is sufficient. There is a small chipping area as well as the usual practice putting green. The only reason I say it has almost everything is because there is no sand bunker from which to practice. And trust me, this is the kind of track you’ll want to practice in the sand before venturing out to the course. More insulting is the fact that they do indeed have a sand bunker as well as a full short game area, but it is only for their “pass holders.” This wouldn’t be an issue if most visiting golfers were paying $25-50 to play here. Unfortunately most are paying well over $100. Minor gripes aside, the practice facilities at Conestoga are extremely nice.

The 17th hole at Conestoga
The 17th hole at Conestoga

Course Conditions: A-

Much like the practice facilities, the course conditions at Conestoga are mostly impeccable. Everything is as one would expect at a top-notch golf course. The tees, fairways, and greens are all in excellent shape. Even the rough is nicely manicured. The only reason I gave it the minus is I’ve played the course a few times and recently they are lacking a bit of sand in the bunkers. I’ve certainly played worse but some work could be done to make it better.

4th hole at Conestoga Golf Club
Leave your driver in the bag on the 4th. This is the downhill view you’ll play from on your 2nd shot

Layout: B+

First the good at Conestoga: I really like the layout. There is an excellent mix of holes; drivable par 4’s, short and delicate par 3’s, long par 4’s, and everything in between. It’s a fun course to play because it features so many different types of holes. With a few notable exceptions, the course is all out in front of you. This is always nice at a resort course that many are playing for the first time.
Unfortunately, the notable exceptions I mentioned earlier drop the course a notch. There are about three holes that one must be careful off the tee, in some cases taking less than driver in order to avoid ending up in an arroyo. While the course provides a very helpful yardage guide to all players, some of these shots are downhill and hence play much shorter than the yardage indicates.
For example, the 17th hole is about a 350 yard par 4 where the tee shot must be laid up in front of a massive drop into an arroyo. What makes it challenging, and near-impossible for the visiting golfer, is that while the yardage book indicates it’s about 220 to the arroyo, the downhill nature of the shot calls for a 190 yard shot max. It’s almost impossible to realize this the first time you play the course without local knowledge.
The course also loses a notch on the grading scale due to its many forced carries. Hole number six is known locally as the “three ditch bitch.” That should provide some indication as to its difficulty. In no way to I mean to imply that a difficult course is a poor golf course. Just be aware that those who struggle with getting the ball airborne, escaping out of deep bunkers, and keeping the ball in the fairway will be in for a long day. Arroyos aside, this is desert golf, and missing fairways in many cases means balls lost to the desert.

9th hole Conestoga Golf Club
One of my favorites on the course, the par 5 9th hole

Pace of Play: A

Every time I’ve played the course, play has moved along quite nicely. There are marshals on the golf course, but they’ve only been there to offer a friendly word or advice, never to tell us to speed up play. Considering much of the course is occupied by tourists playing it for the first time, the pace is quite good. Part of the reason for this is that some time ago a local rule was implemented that dictated that the desert is played as a lateral hazard. This means that if you spray one out into the rocks and sand, don’t go look for it, just drop a ball and take a stroke. Not only does it speed up play it avoids the potential hazards of walking through the uneven desert terrain in golf shoes.

10th hole at Conestoga Golf Club in Mesquite, Nevada
10th hole at Conestoga Golf Club in Mesquite, Nevada

Price: C+

There are no two ways about it. Conestoga is an expensive golf course. I believe in season golfers pay close to $125 per person. While there are certainly more expensive courses, Conestoga is relatively pricey for the area, especially compared with some of its more famous neighbors. There are, however, deals to be floating around if you have some flexibility regarding your timing. Keep an eye on sites like teeoff.com and you might get lucky and find a deal. Conestoga also uses a dynamic pricing model for their tee times. While I don’t fully understand how this works, I know that generally speaking, if there are times that will likely go unsold, the system discounts the prices. That’s my vague understanding at least. Much like the way airlines price tickets, it’s a mystery but there are deals for those with time to shop.

2nd hole Conestoga Golf Club
The downhill par 3 second hole

Amenities: A-

While pricey, Conestoga is an upscale facility that has most of the perks one would expect. There is usually a cart girl selling drinks and snacks on the course. There are two bathrooms you’ll pass during your round. As a golf course built in the desert, I think they could benefit from a water station on the course (with ice, cups, etc.) but there are a few coolers of water around the course, plus they provide a bottle of water in the cart for you.
The clubhouse at Conestoga is built more around the restaurant housed there rather than the locker room. As a matter of fact, it’s probably a stretch to call it a locker room. It’s more of a place to change one’s shoes before the round and not much else.
Where the clubhouse does shine is in the breakfast options. The breakfast sandwiches are an excellent way to start your day, and I’ve been known to enjoy them even on days I’m not playing golf. Just don’t expect to get one outside or breakfast hours as they are quite strict regarding when the kitchen turns over. In addition to the excellent breakfast, they also have a happy hour that runs from 11 am to 7 pm. The cheap drinks plus a plethora of large TV’s make it worth sticking around after golf.

12th hole at Conestoga Golf Club in Mesquite, Nevada
Evening falls on the 12th hole at Conestoga

Overall: A-

If it’s not already abundantly clear, Conestoga is an excellent experience from start to finish. Minor details aside, it’s a beautiful track with some fantastic views of mountains, mesas, and the desert. If you have time to play it while you’re in town to play Wolf Creek, by all means stop by and check it out.


If you liked the photography in this post, click here to go to my website. All photos may be purchased as prints but feel free to use them as your desktop wallpaper free of charge.

And don’t forget to tell your golfing friends about Digital Fairways!

 

Coyote Springs Golf Club Review – Coyote Springs, NV

Price Paid: $37.50 via Teeoff.com

Full Price:  $109 if booking directly through the course.

The par 3 8th hole at Coyote Springs
The par 3 8th hole at Coyote Springs

If you’ve come this far to learn a little more about Coyote Springs Golf Club, your first question might be “Where the heck is Coyote Springs?” In a nutshell, it’s in the middle of nowhere about 40 miles north of Las Vegas. There is practically nothing surrounding the course; no town, no housing development, not even a gas station in the general vicinity. The only thing you’ll see is a beautiful golf course. Also of note is the lack of a clubhouse. As of early 2015 there is only a temporary clubhouse. It’s nice enough. There you’ll find hats, balls, shirts, etc. Just don’t go expecting a restaurant, locker room, and other luxuries.

The 9th hole at Coyote Springs is also known as “Splash the Pot.”

As I played the course, I kept wondering why a course like this would be built without anything nearby. Was it meant to be a sort of “if you build it they will come” club ala Sand Hills in Nebraska? Was the intent to eventually build houses and infrastructure around the course? Asking around to club employees there weren’t many answers to be had. There was talk that much of the upcoming development has been held up in litigation, but future plans were up in the air.

The 9th hole at Coyote Springs
Another view of “Splash the Pot”

I did a little research to try and figure out at least what the original plan was and I learned (courtesy of Golf Odyssey) that originally Coyote Springs (or specifically The Chase course as it was known) was meant to be the the Western home of the PGA Village similar to what already exists in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Word has it that permission was granted for up to 13(!?!?!) courses to eventually be built. Looking at it now, with one golf course, no clubhouse, and zero housing units, it seems like a pipe dream at best. Then again, I’m sure that 50 years ago if you had looked at most of Florida and tried to envision what it’s become today it would be impossible.

Bunkers at Coyote Springs Golf Club
Jack Nicklaus clearly prefers a lot of bunkers and forced carrys

Reading all this one might think that Coyote Springs is a bit lacking in its amenities or maybe it’s a no-frills operation. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you’ve come to play golf (and have the requisite game), you’ve come to the right place. The practice range is world-class. There are more target greens than I could count. It spreads 180 degrees so one can play with any wind direction they choose. The short game area is also superb.

The 15th hole at Coyote Springs Golf Club
Keeping with the gambling theme, the 15th is known as “On Tilt”

If one could level a complaint about Coyote Springs it probably would be the course playability. Many golf courses get criticized because they are too difficult. There are too many hazards. The greens are too severe. There is a school of thought that all of these new black diamond-level difficulty courses are killing the game due to countless hazards, the subsequent 6 hour rounds, and bloated maintenance budgets. Make no mistake about it, Coyote Springs is an extremely difficult and unforgiving golf course.

The 18th hole at Coyote Springs
The 18th hole at Coyote Springs

Probably the most extreme part of Coyote Springs are the green complexes. Not only are the greens extremely fast but the severe undulations make them close to impossible if you end up on the wrong side of the hole. The way the course is set up, many of the bailout areas are spots where it’s all but impossible to get up and down. The 12th hole provides the perfect example of this. It’s a relatively short par 3 of 164 yards from the blue tees but miss it short and you find yourself in a crater-like bunker. Miss it left in the collection area (or long in the rough) and you find yourself chipping to a flag running away on greens running at 12+ on the stimpmeter.

The 7th hole at Coyote Springs
“Seven Out” aka the 7th at Coyote Springs

This is not to say that a challenging golf course is a poor golf course. It’s just to say that most players will struggle coming here. I am about a 8 handicap, and I shot a 92. The combination of fast greens and high winds meant that downhill, downwind putts had a hard time staying on the greens at all. As I told a friend of mine, Coyote Springs reminds me a lot of Old Corkscrew in Estero, Florida. Some will love it; some will hate it, and just about everyone will have a strong opinion about it.

The 17th hole at Coyote Springs
The 17th at Coyote Springs

The best thing about Coyote Springs is probably the conditioning. Everything is superb. The greens are like putting on a pool table, both in speed and smoothness. The fairways are mowed so tightly that it’s challenging to pick blades of grass to test the wind. The waterfalls (man-made of course) are beautiful. The rough is thick, lush, but not unplayable. As mentioned earlier, the practice range is also superb.

So if you’re in Las Vegas is it worth it to make the 45-minute drive to Coyote Springs? If you want a solid test and aren’t worse than about a bogey golfer then by all means. I’m not sure you’ll find better value anywhere close to the Strip. If you are a twice a year player who shoots 100+ on your home course, just know what you’re in for at Coyote Springs. Come and enjoy the scenery but leave your expectations behind. Coyote Springs is not the track to shake the rust off or build confidence.


 

If you like the photographs from this post and would like to see full-size versions click here to go to my photography website.