On our trip to Nevada, we decided to check out one of the Laughlin golf courses. There are many reasons why people prefer Laughlin, Nevada over Las Vegas for their casino hopping or attending stage shows. The atmosphere is much, much more relaxing as Laughlin is more laid back, much the way Las Vegas was in the early days. When we visited Laughlin, we stayed at the Flamingo Hilton, now called Aquarius Casino Resort. We did the usual tourist thing by frequenting the casinos and the shows, but our main interest was in golfing, and we knew that the hotel gave out golf deals on several neighborhood courses.
There are several good golf courses around Laughlin; some on the east side of the Colorado River in Arizona. One that comes to mind is the Desert Lake Golf Course. The only proviso is that there is a one hour difference between Laughlin and the courses on the other side of the river; so you need to be aware of that or you’ll miss your tee time, as we did. The Flamingo (Aquarius) offered us two other courses that we really enjoyed; the Emerald River Golf Course and the Mojave Resort Golf Club. Of the two, we would recommend The Mojave Resort Golf Club.
The Mojave Resort Golf Club
Belonging to the Fort Mojave Tribe, the golf course is part of the Avi Resort & Casino complex that prominently guards the entrance to the golf course area. From Laughlin, you would take the Needles Highway south for a mile or so until you get to the Aha Macav Parkway. This is the intersection that was just mentioned. A huge neon lit structure advertising the Avi Casino and Resort sits at the intersection. From there, it is about a three mile drive to the golf course.
The Mojave Resort Golf Club was given a four-star, “places to play”, award from Golf Digest in 2007. Designed by the Curly-Schmidt team, the course plays to 6,939 yards and has four sets of tees to accommodate golfers of varying talents. Being carved from the desert the golf course is relatively flat, but with abundant desert vegetation and plays as a link-styled golf course. The fairways are fair and generous and are kept in immaculate condition. The greens are also well kept that tends to be fairly fast with many subtle undulations. There are, however, eighty sand traps on the course and water comes into play on nine of the eighteen holes. The par 3 signature seventeenth hole measures one hundred and seventy-eight yards and is all carry over water. If that isn’t enough, the green is surrounded by bunkers on all three sides; left, right and back.
The clubhouse area has the usual driving, chipping, putting and sand shot practicing facility. The clubhouse itself has a snack bar and luxurious lounge area for after golf relaxation.
We did not take in the Avi Casino and Resort, which is the essence of this complex, because we were staying at the Flamingo. The city of Laughlin, headed by Don Laughlin’s Riverside Resort, has nine casinos all lined up along the west bank of the Colorado River. It does not matter which hotel you stay in, you will have a view of the river.
It is not necessary for you to think that staying at a casino means gambling away all your hard earned money. Of course, there are nine casinos to choose from to do that; however, there are first-rate floor shows and entertainment by well-known personalities offered nightly in each casino. Not to date ourselves, we took in the Debbie Reynolds show on one of our visits. Dining, of course, is a non event in a casino. Every casino offers excellent food at well below street prices; and in fact, I cannot name an outside restaurant in Laughlin.
During the day, you will probably want to take in some outdoor activities. The Colorado River offers a scenic walk along its bank for miles. Starting from Don Laughlin’s Riverside Resort, you can walk south for blocks along each hotel’s sidewalk. For the avid fisherman, you can dip your line almost anywhere along the river bank. The world-famous Laughlin River Tours offer a nostalgic link to the past with its paddle-wheel steam boat. If your timing is right, you can take the dinner cruise offered each evening. Aside from the golfing, this may turn out to be the highlight of your trip.
By the time the mighty Colorado River has pass through the Grand Canyon, through Lake Meade and its nearby cities, Las Vegas and Henderson, and through the numerous dams including the Boulder Dam, the river is ready to take a little breather as it levels off and calmly flows through the city of Laughlin. It will quietly pass by the pachinko rattling casinos and, outside the city, the luscious green fairways of the Mojave Golf Club; prior to heading on towards the Baja Peninsula. The river, as in many cases, is the center of attraction, the raison d’etre, for the city of Laughlin. The golfer who has immersed himself in all this scenic and diverse activity accompanying his visit to the Mojave Resort Golf Club, can truly lay claim to having had a memorable excursion.
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