Mesquite, Nev. (Oct. 21, 2016)–If players think they need a course more than 7,000 yards to make a layout a great test of golf, they need to think again. At 6,939 yards from the tips, Wolf Creek Golf Club isn’t long by today’s standards. But what it lacks in yardage, it more than makes up for in challenges–especially on the par 5s–and overall dramtic shot values. –By Bill Bowman.

The course, located in Mesquite just an hour north of Las Vegas, mixes severe elevation changes (some more than 150 feet), deep-blue water features, bunkering, desert landscaping and undulating greens to offer golfers that one-of-a-kind golf outing.

And those features are most apparent on the four par 5s. Ranging from 490 yards to 579 yards, players will have four holes that put the risk in risk/reward.

“You definitely have to execute to conquer the par 5s,” said Darren Stanek, the general manager. “You’ve got to get a drive in the fairway to have a chance to make a birdie. You can score on these holes, but by no means are these holes gimmes.”

It starts from the first tee. The opener is a 579-yard, par-5 called The Challenger. It lives up to its name. This hole sees players hitting from an elevated tee to a fairway some 100 feet below. The approach shot (the second shot for the really big hitters, but the third shot for mere mortals), is to an elevated green at the base of a mountain. In fact, players are likely to see just the top half of the flagstick, if the pin is back, on the approach shot so trusting your distance control is vital.

And that’s just the beginning. There are several forced carries that will test players’ nerve.

None are more impressive than a second par-5 on the front, the 490-yard 5th. Now 490 yards may not seem like a big number for a par-5, but there is a catch. The tee shot is from an elevated tee and must carry a stream that runs down the left side of the fairway and cuts in front of the landing area. That’s the good news. The bad news is the tee shot can’t be hit too well (or too straight) as the hole is a dogleg left. A draw will leave players another severe uphill shot (if they avoid the bunkering in the landing area) into a large green. Even hitting the green in two is no guarantee of an eagle or birdie as the rolling green can be tough to read and even tougher to putt.

But the best risk/reward par-5 is definitely the 17th. At 562 yards it’s definitely a big-boy par-5. There is good news: The tee shot is from an elevated tee about 150 feet above the fairway. Find that fairway and then comes the big question: Do I go for it in two. Well, that depends. With a huge pond standing guard in front of the green, players need all the firepower they can muster to even have a chance to get home. This is one where playing it as a three-shot hole is the best way to set up a birdie putt.

“I look at every par 5 as a birdie hole,” Stanek said. “Whether I can get home in two or not, I take on the hole knowing I have to hit a good drive to put myself in position. If golfers hit the proper shots, especially on the par 5s, they can play the course and they can score.”

The par 5s are definitely highlights at Wolf Creek, but with stunning views and dramatic elevation changes everywhere, those holes are just the beginning of a never-to-be-forgotten golf adventure.