Golf Summerlin's Palm Valley Course: Add variety and value to your Las Vegas golf

LAS VEGAS -- Variety, value and views. It's that simple when you're talking about Palm Valley Golf Club at Golf Summerlin.

Palm Valley is one of three courses in the master-planned Sun City Summerlin community, along with Highland Falls Golf Club and Eagle Crest Golf Club. Highland Falls is the course that gets most of the publicity, while Eagle Crest is the executive course that gets raves for its quick pace of play and design.

That leaves Palm Valley. This Billy Casper/Greg Nash-designed layout is the original course, opening in 1989. It's also the longest of the three Golf Summerlin courses, and the design of this layout -- with a variety of challenges in the length of the holes, such as a 229-yard par 3 and a 343-yard par 4 -- makes tremendous use of the land.

"Palm Valley is a very player-friendly course," Head Professional/Tournament Director Shane Sanchez said. "It's a very traditional golf course that always has great course conditions."

Ready to check it out?

Palm Valley at Golf Summerlin: The course

The Palm Valley Course features opening and closing par 5s that will give players the chance to start and finish the round with birdies -- always a good feeling. Each hole stretches out to more than 530 yards, so getting home in two is possible, but there are consequences for bad shots in water and bunkers. The prudent play is to lay up to wedge distance and then go flag hunting.

Another bit of advice on this course: Make sure to play the proper set of tees. From the tips, the par-72 course plays to 6,849 yards. That may not seem long, but when you factor in two of the par 3s reach more than 220 yards from the back tees, it's smart to know your game and not bite off more than you can chew.

Strategically placed bunkers add to the challenge, while the water features, even though limited, are utilized very well.

The final three-hole stretch at Palm Valley will test all aspects of your game -- as well as your nerves.

"The 16th, 17th and 18th holes are great holes to finish the round -- and they can bite you," Sanchez said. "You definitely have to play smart. The 16th is a long par 3 (229 yards), while the 17th is a challenging par 4 (415 yards) and the 18th is a dogleg par 5 (534 yards). For a finishing stretch of holes, I'd put them in the top 10 in Las Vegas."

Ah yes, the 18th hole. Playing 534 yards and with a 90-degree dogleg to the right, the hole features water along the entire right side. Add in bunkers around the green, and you've got an outstanding finishing hole.

"There are so many different shots you may have to hit on this hole," Sanchez said. "The big hitters may be able to get there in two, but with the water and bunkers, it's tough."

Golf Summerlin off course

The golf shop and restaurant have that down-home feel -- like in "Cheers," where everyone knows your name. It's a popular spot with the locals, and you'll be welcomed with open arms. Grab a burger and a beer, sit back on the patio after the round and watch golfers finish up on the 18th or check out the area views. It's an ideal spot to relax after your round.

Kent Church, a 79-year-old who has been playing the course since the early '90s, said the reason he keeps coming back is simple: "They have absolutely the best people in the world running these courses," he said of the three Golf Summerlin courses. "They make you feel very important, and that's not always the case at other courses."

Palm Valley Golf Club at Golf Summerlin: Final thoughts

If you're looking for that "wow" round of golf, Golf Summerlin's Palm Valley Course isn't it. But if you're looking for a solid round at affordable prices with nice Vegas views, you've come to the right place.

"There are a lot of great golf courses in Las Vegas," Sanchez said. "But some of them are just too difficult. We give players a challenge, but they will also have a lot of fun here.

Bill Bowman is a Las Vegas-based writer who has more than 40 years in the sports-writing business. He's spent the past 16-plus years covering the golf scene in Vegas and has teed it up for magazine profiles with celebrities including comedian Bill Engvall, actor Jeffrey Donovan (USA's Burn Notice), ESPN personality Colin Cowherd, NASCAR's Kurt Busch, Collective Soul's Ed Roland, the Baltimore Ravens' Jonathan Ogden and many others.

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Golf Summerlin's Palm Valley Course: Add variety and value to your Las Vegas golf