LAS VEGAS -- It's likely these scenarios have played out a time or two in Sin City.
Scenario A: You're having the time of your life after a great round at Wynn Golf Club or maybe it was Shadow Creek. It was worth every penny of that pricey green fee. You're ready for more. Your game is hot, but after such a splurge, your wallet is not. You don't dare spend big on another round or the missus back home will pull the plug on your next golf trip. You need an affordable fix.
Scenario B: After a couple of good runs early in the casino, last night cleaned you out. The craps table lived up to its name. You need a break from gambling, a chance to clear your head, get some fresh air. Maybe a round of golf will help. It's got to be cheap, though, nothing too fancy.
Sound familiar? Las Vegas can be a mean mistress. Its high-end golf experiences at the Wynn, Shadow Creek and Cascata are expensive, and casino odds are created to be cruel.
But a good day of bargain golf can help heal the wounds in your wallet and your head.
The word "bargain" in Las Vegas is a relative term. Because watering grass in the desert isn't cheap, more affordable rounds surrounding Sin City could still cost as much as a Benjamin. Look at it this way, four hours of golf usually ends up costing less than four hours of gaming and boozing in the casino. Here's where to shop for some good bargain golf in Las Vegas:
Primm Valley Golf Club
It's about a 35-minute drive from the Strip into the Mohave Desert to discover the 36-hole Primm Valley Golf Club just across the state border in Nipton, Calif. Tom Fazio used contrasting styles to design the Desert Course and Lakes Course.
Golf Advisor reviews are virtually split between four and five stars on both courses. Peak rates max out at $115. Golf Advisor user kennydallasmac called Primm Valley a "best-kept secret," handing out five stars. He wrote: "These two championship golf courses are always kept in impeccable condition. Both courses are beautiful and quite challenging. The staff (members) are all friendly and helpful. It is certainly worth the short drive from Las Vegas."
Boulder Creek Golf Club
This 27-hole municipal facility in Boulder City -- designed by Mark Rathert in 2003 -- ranked among the top 15 public golf courses in Nevada by Golfweek in 2013 and 2014. Both the Desert Hawk and Coyote Run nines start and finish around water. Green fees max out at $110.
Golf Advisor ratings skew toward four and five stars. User Vibesmanjake called her round an "Unexpected treat." She wrote: "I have been to Las Vegas many times and have played most of the golf courses but never played Boulder Creek. What a mistake! This course is so much fun to play. Don't make the same error I made."
Rhodes Ranch Golf Club
Rhodes Ranch Golf Club, just minutes from the Strip, is best known for its collection of par 3s. Architect Ted Robinson Sr. considered them the best set he ever designed. Waters lurks on three of them (and on four other holes as well). For the convenience of the location, Rhodes Ranch might be your surest bet.
Its priciest tee time is $110. Five-star reviews outnumber four-star ones on Golf Advisor. User sam32655 noted in his five-star review that it's a "great course for the money and in great shape. Fairways good, rough challenging, greens well kept, sand inconsistent though.”
Also worth checking out
Aliante Golf Club in Las Vegas: Scottsdale-based Gary Panks designed Aliante around a meandering arroyo that ominously impacts 14 holes. Troon Golf took over management in 2012 to improve every aspect of the club, which dates to 2003.
Las Vegas Golf Club in Las Vegas: Clark County's oldest course (1938) delivers no-frills golf with tree-lined fairways and 30 greenside bunkers. Golf Advisor reviews range from five stars to one star, but ultimately the average is a solid three-star experience for less than $60.
Boulder City Golf & Country Club in Boulder City: This Boulder City municipal was voted "Best Bargain Course in Southern Nevada" three years in a row by Vegas Golfer Magazine, costing less than $50 to play.
Black Mountain Golf Club in Henderson: The majority of Golf Advisor reviews are four stars. One player noted the conditioning in July 2015 was the best he's seen in 30 years.
Stallion Mountain Golf Club in Las Vegas: The former host of the PGA Tour's Las Vegas Invitational and the Golf Channel's "Big Break II" has made a nice comeback since reopening in 2011 after closing for several years. Be ready to avoid plenty of water.
Golf Summerlin in Las Vegas: Golfers can choose from two regulation courses (Highland Falls and Palm Valley) and the shorter Eagle Crest (4,067 yards). The 6,849-yard Palm Valley is the oldest (1989) and longest.