Las Vegas Golf Courses

Hit the links with some of best courses in Las Vegas.
By: Brian Hurlburt

In Las Vegas, it’s easy to get blinded by the bright lights, superstar names, and green felt tables and forget about the emerald green fairways and greens of the city’s many golf courses. But don’t fall into that trap (golf pun intended). More than 60 golf courses stretch from the area around the Strip to such other Nevada cities as Mesquite (77 miles north), Boulder City (30 miles south) and Laughlin, (90 miles south).

The biggest and most-respected names in golf have twirled golf design magic in Las Vegas, including such master architects as Tom Fazio, Pete Dye and Rees Jones, and player/designers like Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Billy Casper and Raymond Floyd.

Plus, when you add the golf experience to with everything else that defines Las Vegas, you get what golf insiders like to call the World’s Ultimate Golf City. And thanks to a still-shaky economy, there may not be a better time to stay and play in the entertainment capital of the world. Here is a range of options for different budgets.

The high rollers live on these courses, many times earning comp rounds due to large gambling credit lines, but each is also open to the public with some restrictions. Golf/room packages are available, and fees to play start at $225.

Cascata features a stunning clubhouse complete with a “river running through it” and a Rees Jones course to match. The course weaves through desert mountains and offers a private journey on each hole. Groups find themselves isolated from other golfers. In a 2009 ZAGAT survey, Cascata earned top-ranked status among all golf courses in America. Rio Secco Golf Club is a sister course to Cascata and was also designed by Jones.

Shadow Creek was once called the “World’s Best Golf Course” by the Robb Report, a respected luxury publication. Golfers leave stunned at this secluded and secretive course that was seemingly plopped down from Carolina (pine trees, lakes, lush vegetation) into the barren Vegas desert. Recently, Michael Jordan held a star-studded tournament here and called it one of his favorite courses in the world. Those staying at an MGM Mirage hotel can play here where the rate includes a limo ride to the course.

Wynn Las Vegas Golf and Country Club is located in the shadows of the Wynn and Encore resorts, and only those staying there have access to this course, an oasis located seconds from the bustle of the Vegas action. It features lush trees, a jaw-dropping waterfall on the 18th hole, and conditions that are PGA Tour-ready.

TPC Las Vegas has hosted PGA Tour events. The course features canyon holes and long carries over rough desert gorges.
Three themed courses operated by Walters Golf pay homage to the many themed hotels along the Strip. Bali Hai Golf Club features tropical golf from the South Pacific. Royal Links Golf Club provides replica holes from St. Andrews, Carnoustie and Royal Troon among others. The Postage Stamp hole from Royal Troon makes you feel the same shimmer down your spine as the pros standing on a tee during a British Open. And the Road Hole from St. Andrews features a replica Open scoreboard and thick rough. Desert Pines comes complete with pine trees and water holes in the middle of the desert. Bear’s Best Las Vegas features 18 of Jack Nicklaus’ favorite holes from courses that he has designed from around the Southwest.
Las Vegas provides alternatives for those unwilling to spend too much on a round, with rates starting at $59. Three Pete Dye-designed golf courses at the Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort are known for a deal that includes range balls, lunch and 50% off rental clubs. The three courses feature a kinder, gentler Pete Dye. Still, some of Dye’s dastardly design can be found at the par 3, 15th hole on The Wolf Course; it’s similar to the infamous 17th at TPC Sawgrass.

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