Las Vegas Golf Review: Part Three – Wolf Creek

Put simply, Wolf Creek Golf Club outside Las Vegas is one of the most memorable, craziest golf courses I ever played or ever will play.

Its stately, lonely 18 hole run rests in Mesquite, Nevada – a little more an hour north of Sin City along I-15 North. As if someone accidentally dropped off a golf course in the least likely place possible, Wolf Creek is ladled into desert canyons. I don’t mean there’s canyon walls surrounding the 18 holes. Those holes run in, out, around, over and under canyons, rivers and gorges that would otherwise hide in the desert and offer residences to snakes and scorpions.

That’s Wolf Creek’s first, best feature: It shouldn’t be there. There should only be sand, rocks and cliffs — not lush, green fairways and well manicured greens. But, there the course sits, serving up holes players aren’t likely to find anywhere else in America.

Even though it exists in a surprising environment, the course’s amenities are spot on and as any player might find on other elite courses. There’s a well stocked pro shop, a complete restaurant and bar and refreshment stands situated along the front and back nine.

Once out on the course, the real value of Wolf Creek is counted in laughs. They’re not the kind of bitter sniffs a player might cough up when playing a course that’s too difficult. They’re delighted, breathtaking chuckles at the sight of another wonderfully bizarre, reality defying golf course.

While I don’t think I’d call it a signature hole, the second (top) might be my favorite example of Wolf Creek’s personality. The tee is elevated over a 385, slight dog leg left. A few bunker line the turn and the long green. On their own, none of those elements make for a special golf hole — no matter how neatly its kept. But the second hole at Wolf Creek is good enough to include a deep, impassible canyon cutting the tee off from the fairway, rocky hills to the left and thick sage rough to the right.

The result doesn’t look like a golf hole — not from the tee, anyway. It looks like you’re at some nature park enjoying a picturesque view spot. And, it’s a pretty enough Nevada desert view But, facing that 100 yard plus stretch of open canyon, you have to tee up a golf ball, grab your driver and swing for that distant fairway. Duff it, and your ball is gone. Hook it, and your ball is gone. Slice it, and you get the idea.

In addition to golf holes that look to intimidate you, Wolf Creek is one of the only courses I played that challenged my golf cart as much as my game. The club has to use gasoline carts because electric units won’t make it up the high rising court paths. Every so often, I’d find my clubs and I elevating at 45 degrees toward a distant tee box, wondering if I’d make it to the next promised land.

I don’t recall how I scored at Wolf Creek. I don’t remember keeping score because I was too amused by the defiant punkiness of the course’s desert links. It’s the iconoclastic nature of each hole that makes the Mesquite jewel special.