A round at Primm Valley Golf Club's Lakes Course is well worth the stop en route to Las Vegas

PRIMM, Nev. -- You know when you're nearing Vegas on the I-15 heading northbound and there's that teaser?

Yeah, you know: You're all jacked-up for some golf and gamble, and from the spare desert drive arises signage for "Whiskey Pete's" and "Buffalo Bill's," and your car party gets a little stir crazy because you realize there's still 40 minutes to The Strip.

Here's a tip: Be teased. You're in Primm Valley.

Popular with SoCal players making the drive to Vegas or staying at Primm Resorts -- and extremely affordable for local golfers -- Primm Valley Golf Club's two complementary courses offer a diverse and pleasing public palate designed by Tom Fazio, whom many consider the game's greatest modern architect.

Primm Valley Lakes Course: Landing a good bet

Tipping at a shade less than 7,000 yards with gentle, albeit consistent, fairway undulation will indeed find the Lakes Course dousing any scorch. Moreover, some serious, deep green-guarded bunkering will keep scores in check for all players.

The front side sports the Lakes' most engagement. The diminutive fifth hole offers a beauty of a backdrop framing a tiny target. A short but tough par 4, you have to hit a good tee shot. The green is one of the smaller ones at Primm Valley, plus it's got some slope to it.

The Lakes' top handicap hole charts as the tracks longest par 4. The eighth is very long, and the approach plays uphill over a big bunker. If you leave yourself short, you can't even see the bottom of the hole, Waddington said. And left of the bunker is a green with a false front, so you have to hit a good drive and a great second, otherwise it's not an easy par.

And then, turning the corner, there lies the infamous 347-yard, par-4 10th. Charting (perhaps curiously) as the 18th handicap, the bunker-laden pop over water offers little out and demands aggression. Tip: When making a tee time, players likely won't want to start with this baby.

Primm Valley Lakes Course: The verdict

The prettier of Primm Valley's dual plays, the Lakes proves an engaging round that will test the irons throughout, and it proves a worthy stop for all comers. The tracks may not hold a primo spot in Fazio's vast and celebrated portfolio, but rest assured that you're still enjoying a master at work.

For Las Vegas locals, the deal is a steal.

"I used to be in the golf business, and if you took this course and put it right in Vegas -- anywhere in Vegas -- they could charge five times as much for the greens fees," said Jim, a mid-handicapper from Las Vegas. "I know what all the rates are for top-tier courses, and this is definitely one of the top-tier courses out here, some of which will charge you at least $300."

Guests going to or from Las Vegas will indeed want to look into 36 holes of golf, an opportunity heightened with a stay-and-play at Primm Resorts, just five miles down the highway.

Instruction is offered, and a full practice facility and eatery are on site.

Judd Spicer is an award-winning, veteran freelance writer hailing from St. Paul, Minn. After 12 years of covering MLB, NBA, NCAA and the active golf landscape of the Twin Cities, he relocated to the Palm Spring, Calif. region to further pursue his golf work and Champions Tour dream. Sporting measured distance off the tee, Spicer refers to his pitching wedge as his "magic wand." Follow Judd on Twitter at @juddspicer.
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A round at Primm Valley Golf Club's Lakes Course is well worth the stop en route to Las Vegas