Pahrump golf course a fairly uneven experience

Right up front, I want you to know that I lean conservative. But at times, you have to be one-off. Take a chance. Explore new venues. Get out of Dodge, so to speak.

So in my winter quest to explore executive golf courses combined with a friends’ recent relocation to Las Vegas, the decision was made to trek to Pahrump. We’ve played Durango Hills Golf Club and Desert Willow Golf Course in November and December, so Lake View Executive Golf Course, 1471 E. Mount Charleston Drive, seemed to fit right in the mix. Its website boasts that it has been voted the Best Executive or Midsize Course in Nevada. Fair enough, we’d go for it.

I secured $11 green fees for four online with a 12:22 p.m. start time. The course is tucked away in a residential neighborhood. The starter and restaurant/bar are what you would expect from a small city course: small, tidy and a one-man show. The attendant was very cordial, and soon we were at the first tee. So far, so good.

Arriving at the first tee is when the concerns started. The course was in winter dormancy: brown, dry grass. The tee boxes were the same. I know that some budgets don’t allow for overseeding, so no big deal. We were still playing golf.

The course opened in 1979 and was designed by William F. Bell. He was the architect of the now-closed Willow Creek Golf Course in Pahrump and has more than 100 courses to his credit. Lake View is a par 59 playing to 3,518 yards with a course rating of 58.6 and a slope of 82. There are seven holes of more than 200 yards, with five rated as par-4s. We’d play in less than 2½ hours. We were playing ready golf.

The greens are another thing. They were in terrible shape. At several of the greens, the surface had started to peel away, and the underlying sand was exposed. It appeared that they had not been watered for several weeks. A big deal, but we were still playing golf.

Despite the conditions, the layout of the course was pretty challenging. There are few sand traps, but water comes into play on several holes. And the lateral hazards consist of desert tundra and strategically placed trees providing some interesting lies.

And, at the end of the round, we still enjoyed the beverages and the bull. An interesting golf experience.

Pahrump is also noted for a couple of other interesting experiences.

One is the Sanders Family Winery, 3780 E. Kellogg Road, so off we went. Featuring a Renaissance Tuscan-style winery and with no tasting fees, you can enjoy the full menu of really good wines. My favorite, the NV Chardonnay, is unoaked and has hints of lemon, vanilla and orange blossoms and is deliciously light and crisp. The tasting concludes with a couple of wine cocktails featuring the Crème Sherry and Ruby Port.

With any luck, your tasting host will be Jack Sanders himself. Jack founded the first modern winery in Pahrump in 1988 and is a very entertaining host. He’ll share tales of the wine business and show business, and his narrative is more like a floor show. Plus, Jack’s pours are very generous. My friends were impressed. After a couple of case purchases, we moved on.

Next up was what would be a first experience for all of us in the party. We headed to the Resort and Spa at Sheri’s Ranch, 10551 Homestead Road.

Get that first thought out of your mind right now. And I won’t make any golf-related inferences.

Sheri’s Ranch is a legal brothel operating in Nye County. None of us had ever set foot in such a business.

After hearing fellow wine tasters at Sanders Family Winery mention they lunched at Sheri’s and took a tour of the facilities, we opted to try out happy hour there. The sports bar/dining room was dark, and we settled in at the bar. There were a dozen women, and a couple of them approached us. We ordered very reasonably priced drinks. We explained how we got to be at Sheri’s and if we could take the tour. Of course.

The hostess said she would get a tour guide and suggested a tip would be expected. The tour lasted 25 minutes, and we visited several different themed rooms. We all asked pretty detailed questions, and the guide responded very professionally to each one.

We finished watching a basketball game in the bar, and each one of us thought the experience was educational and eye-opening. Time well spent.

The perfect end to a one-off day.

— John Asay is a longtime golfer and local freelance writer.

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