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Choice golf: Double down at these Las Vegas venues

Primm Valley
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LAS VEGAS -- One thing that might surprise golfers visiting Las Vegas for the first time is the variety of golf that Sin City offers. Most might assume that it's just desert golf, or that the courses are dry and without water.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

But what might also surprise you is the variety that's often offered at single facilities, many of which offer at least two 18-hole golf courses. In some cases, the courses complement each other well, as is the case at Revere Golf Club. While others, like Angel Park Golf Club, offer a great variety.

Here then is a look at some of Vegas' best multi-course facilities:

Revere Golf Club (36 holes)

Great views and terrific turf conditions are what you'll find at both courses at the Revere Golf Club. Both the Lexington Course and the Concord Course are designed by Greg Nash and Bill Casper, and both feature panoramic views of the Las Vegas skyline and the Strip as well as the mountains of southern Nevada.

So what's the difference between the two?

The 7,034-yard, par-72 Concord may be a little more forgiving, but it's certainly not easy, especially if you play it from the back tees. The par 3s can be particularly intimidating, with two at more than 225 yards from the tips. Still, play the right set of tees and anyone will have fun. There are even two sets of tees for women.

The 7,143-yard, par-72 Lexington is a little more of a shot-maker's course, and it has one of the most memorable holes in the Las Vegas area. There are lots of elevation changes, especially from the tee. But perhaps the most memorable is the seventh, a shortish par 5 that plays much longer than its yardage because it's uphill. Named The King's Chapel, the 489-yard seventh features a series of punishing cascading bunkers uphill to a green that sits in front of a large wall of waterfalls. Get there in two, and you can make a great score. Find one of those deep bunkers 50 yards from the green, and there's no telling what score you'll record.

Angel Park Golf Club (48 holes)

Angel Park Golf Club might be the most complete golf experience in Las Vegas. Not only does it offer two regulation-length golf courses, but also it has a short course and a putting course -- and both of those are under the lights. Even the driving range is lighted.

At the heart, though, are its two 18-hole courses, both designed by Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay. At 6,722 yards, the par-72 Mountain Course is the longest and the most challenging. At nearly 3,000 feet, it offers great views of Red Rock Canyon and the Las Vegas Valley, and it's a pretty good test.

Angel Park's Palm Course is a little shorter at 6,500 yards and a little more open off the tee. While both have undergone turf-reduction programs to help save water, the Palm Course's reduction was less severe, which means fewer forced carries and bigger landing areas.

Cloud Nine is the name of the par-3 course. It actually has 12 holes, but nine of them are lighted, which means you can play 12 during the day and nine at night. The holes are loose replicas of some of the most famous par 3s in the world, like the 17th island green at the TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course and the postage stamp hole at Royal Troon in Scotland. There's also a nine-hole lighted putting course, lighted range, and an extensive short-game area that includes chipping greens, practice bunkers and putting greens.

Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort (54 holes)

If you have a long weekend, you can take a Las Vegas golf vacation and never leave the Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort. With three challenging and well conditioned Pete Dye-designed courses to play, you'll never be bored, because while they have similarities (all are more than 7,000 yards from the tips), they are all very different.

The resort's first 18-hole design, the Snow Mountain Course, opened in 1995. It features a number of good risk-reward holes, including reachable par 5s and short par 4s. The Sun Mountain Course opened in 1996 and might be the most playable of the three, but it's a Dye design, so you know there's a big number around the corner if you're not on top of your game.

The newest of the three, opening in 2001, Paiute's Wolf Course is also the longest in Nevada at 7,604 yards, and it also features an island-green 15th, similar to the more famous 17th at the TPC Sawgrass. Fortunately, there are five sets of tees so wise golfers can pick the appropriate length and have fun. But it's still difficult, as Dye courses generally are.

A big plus at Paiute is that all three courses feature cool-season grasses, which means no overseeding and no transition in the spring. While the hot summers can be a little challenging for the maintenance crew, the course stays in tip-top shape for the majority of the year and is in awesome shape fall through spring.

Primm Valley Golf Club (36 holes)

If you like Tom Fazio, then you can double your pleasure at Primm Valley Golf Club, home of two excellent Fazio designs, located on the Las Vegas and California border. Like pretty much all Fazio courses, both are visually stunning. But as the names of the courses suggest, they are built around different concepts, though both are imminently playable.

Primm Valley's Lakes Course, which can be stretched to nearly 7,000 yards, forces players to navigate around water. It is, however, considered the easier of the two courses at Primm Valley. Fairways are wide, greens are particularly difficult and the conditions encourage good scoring. Skilled players can find a lot of birdies, while the average golfer will have no trouble getting the ball around.

Primm Valley's Desert Course, which can be played at more than 7,100 yards, has a few forced carries. But don't let the name fool you. It's not target golf. Fairways are generous, and it is a resort style course. The finishing stretch is particularly fun, with two good birdie opportunities.

As a bonus, Primm Valley offers a complimentary 22-acre practice facility, complete with a double-ended circular driving range, target greens, chipping and pitching greens with sand bunkers, and practice putting greens.

Sun City Summerlin (54 holes)

One thing many players don't realize is that some of the best golf courses are located in retirement communities, and they're not built just to cater to senior citizens. That's certainly true of the courses at Sun City Summerlin.

With that said, all three courses are certainly senior and women-friendly.

Like Revere, all three are designed by Nash and Casper with great views, conditions and plenty of interesting holes, with great views of the Strip and surrounding mountains.

Highland Falls has an elevation of more than 3,000 feet. While not daunting, the course plays to more than 6,500 yards from the tips. At 6,849 yards, the Palm Valley is the longest and most difficult. It has a slope rating of 127 and a 72.3 USGA rating. Eagle Crest is an executive style course, perfect for seniors, juniors or anyone looking for a quick round. It tops out at just more than 4,000 yards and plays to a par 60 with 12 par 3s and no par 5s.

Badlands Golf Club (27 holes)

While there aren't separate 18-hole golf courses at Badlands Golf Club, the fact that there are three nines means there are three 18-hole combinations. And that essentially does present a different option every time you play.

This Johnny Miller-Chi Chi Rodriguez collaboration consists of the Desperado, Diablo and Outlaw. And while you might classify them as resort golf, target golf might be a little more accurate description. You also have to think your way around the courses, with driver not always the best option off the tee on par 4s and par 5s.