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Mojave Resort Golf Club in Laughlin, Nevada finishes with a bang

Bill BowmanBy Bill Bowman,
Mojave Resort Golf Club - no. 18
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Mojave Resort Golf Club finishes strong with a tough 18th. (Courtesy of Mojave Resort G.C.)

LAUGHLIN, Nev. -- It's all about risk/reward shots at Mojave Resort Golf Club.

The par-72 course is a Brian Curley/Lee Schmidt design located some 90 minutes south of Las Vegas. This lush layout that will test players' nerves -- especially with the finishing three holes that take the term risk/reward to a whole new level.

"The course plays as short as 5,520 yards and up to 6,939 yards (with four sets of tee choices), and we've got rolling fairways and large greens," said Randy Mudge, general manager. "They are true-rolling greens that are challenging but fair. But it's the final three holes that really test players."

Sense a theme here? The tree-lined course is also home to strategically placed bunkering (more than 80 of them) that add to the aesthetics and, more importantly, to the challenge.

Mojave Resort Golf Club: On the course

Both nines at Mojave Resort Golf Club give players an early chance to score as the first and 10th holes are both par 5s, reachable by the big hitters. And even those who can't get home in two will have chances at birdies with smartly played second shots and accurate wedges into the greens.

That's the good news. The not-so-good news is the final three holes on the course are three holes players will remember as they can make or break the round.

All three are water-laden and offer risk-reward options. It's up to the player to see how much of a risk they are willing to take.

"Those three holes are definitely a challenge, especially to a high-handicapper," said Randy Lance, an 18-handicap player from nearby Kingman, Ariz. "You've definitely got to play the right set of tees, or you'll have a tough time with those three holes."

The 16th, a par 4 that plays just 326 yards from the tips, gives players the option of driving the green. But the dogleg-right hole is guarded by plenty of sand and a huge pond. Mirage is the name of the hole, and those who have taken the risk and come up short (or right) have seen their dreams of a great round turn into that mirage.

There's more water on the 178-yard, par-3 17th. With the green perched right on the edge of a pond, short is not an option. There's also a bunker behind the green, and landing in it brings that deep-blue pond right back into play.

But those are just appetizers compared to the finale. The par-4 18th, playing just 408 yards from the tips, brings water into play on the drive as well as the approach shot. Named Double-Cross, that's exactly what players must do -- cross the water twice.

Off the tee the water is in front of players as well as down the entire right side of the fairway. Hitting the fairway is step one. Step two is hitting the green that is fronted by that same pond. The pond also circles around the left side of the green, narrowing the landing area. Accuracy is at a premium on this diabolical closing hole.

"Those are just three great golf holes," Mudge said. "Players really need to trust their game and play to their strengths."

Mojave Resort Golf Club: Off the course

The clubhouse snack bar is one of those relaxed-atmosphere places to gather before or after the round. "There's a good menu and great ambiance for just grabbing a beer and watching the range and the 18th hole," Mudge said.

The pro shop is spacious and offers clubs (TaylorMade, Callaway, Titleist, US Kids) and clothing, from Greg Norman to Foot Joy to Jamie Saddock and more. Don't see what you want? They'll order it for you.

Across the street is the Avi Resort & Casino. With 452 rooms (including spa suites), the hotel/casino recently teamed up with Mojave Resort to offer stay-and-play packages so you can play on the course, play in the casino and play on the Colorado River. The pool area is a great place to relax. It includes two waterfalls, trees and lush vegetation. Grab your favorite after-round drink at the Tiki Bar and chill.

"With the Avi being right there, it's a great match for us," Mudge said of the stay-and-play packages. "We've gone from people staying at the Avi and playing with us one day and going to play other courses to them staying at the Avi and playing here each day."

Mojave Resort Golf Club: The verdict

Forget the bells and whistles; there are none at Mojave Resort Golf Club. That's because none are needed. It's just you against the golf course. And with lush fairways, a challenging layout and scenic views, that's all golfers need for a great day.

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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.

Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management.

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