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It’s not surprising that Las Vegas, a vacation destination known for its sunny weather and recreation, would boast more than 50 golf courses — some of them among America’s most praised. But visitors might be more surprised by how easy it can be to access these plush greens. Here’s a look at a few of the many courses to consider, and tips for how to get in on the golf action.
Where to go
Golf in Las Vegas isn’t about dropping greens into the middle of the desert. Courses tend to be carefully crafted to take advantage of their sites. With the top courses setting a high bar for quality, it would be hard to find one that wasn’t worth recommending. Many are open to the public and cater to golfers of varying abilities and goals, and all are open year-round.
Rio Secco Golf Club takes advantage of its location in the shadows of the Black Mountain Range southeast of town. Its varied terrain of desert, plateau, and canyon keeps the golf interesting and the views ever-changing. Although the Rees Jones design can be a tough course of up to 7,400 yards, it also offers flexibility with lots of teeing options.
Greens at Desert Pines Golf Club, northeast of the Strip and not far from Downtown Las Vegas, is modeled after Augusta, which means you might find yourself forgetting where you really are as you watch your ball soar above pine trees or land on bent grass. The course is also designed to mix fun and competition, with generous fairways, creative bunkers and challenging greens.
Royal Links gives visitors a taste of golf’s roots from the other side of the Atlantic. Its 18 holes are modeled after British Open courses, including Carnoustie and the Old Course at St. Andrews. A call box at the ninth tee lets golfers order a mid-round snack delivered to the course.
According to the folks at Rhodes Ranch, course designer Ted Robinson once said these were the best par-3s he ever designed. The course, nestled at the base of the Spring Mountains, plays off its location with lots of water features and rolling fairways. “No matter how good or bad you are, you’ll have fun there,” one local recently noted.
With its entrance next to the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign on the south end of Las Vegas Boulevard, Bali Hai Golf Club is the only course with frontage on the Las Vegas Strip. It has a South Pacific vibe with more than 100,000 tropical plants and volcanic rock incorporated into the par-72 design. The course was designed to grow more challenging the further players get into the round, making them comfortable and then offering up new surprises.
For a taste of “old Vegas,” head to the city’s oldest course, Las Vegas Golf Club, established way back in 1938. Right outside Downtown Las Vegas, it’s a forgiving blend of challenging bunkers, traditional greens, and wide fairways. The mature cottonwood and pine trees add to both the forest-like atmosphere and the relaxing vibe. You can imagine the city’s early movers and shakers talking business in this exact spot, which also made a memorable appearance in the movie “Casino.”
Summerlin, a golf-centric planned community west of Downtown and not far from the foothills of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, is home to some of the valley’s best courses.
TPC (Tournament Players Club) Las Vegas is widely known as one of the must-do courses in town. That’s partly because of the quality of the play on this par 72, 7,080-yard layout and partly because here, golfers can “play where the pros play.” Views of Red Rock Canyon’s soaring crimson cliffs on one side and the glittering Las Vegas skyline on the other are also hard to beat. Golfers will likely see birds among the trees as TPC is a recognized Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary.
A 36-hole Arnold Palmer design, Angel Park Golf Club is divided into the tropical-themed par-70 Palm Course and the modern par-71 Mountain Course. Plus, Angel Park throws in the 12-hole Cloud Nine Short Course and a nine-hole putting course just for fun. It’s also got a 3,000-square-foot putting green, a practice chipping area and an event lawn, all lighted in the evening. At 3,000 feet, it sits above the valley with views all around.
The 18-hole Arnold Palmer-designed Arroyo Golf Club is part of Red Rock Country Club but open to the public. It’s known for challenging play and rugged scenery as well as great views of Vegas (especially at hole seven). It’s also easy to combine an outing at Siena with its sister course, the 18-hole Siena Golf Club, a serene oasis at the foot of the Spring Mountains. (Siena is also home to Las Vegas’s Foot Golf course — think soccer-golf mash-up.)
Golf Summerlin has three public courses: par-60 Eagle Crest, par-72 Highland Falls, and Palm Valley, each with its own challenges and views. The courses are home to family-friendly tournaments and events like the upcoming GlowBall Night Golf on Oct. 11 benefiting Three Square Food Bank.
One option for satisfying a golf fix: Attend a tournament. Some visitors come to Las Vegas just for tournaments, but it’s also possible to buy tickets at the last minute. TPC Las Vegas’s sister course, TPC Summerlin, will host the 2014 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, part of the FedEx Cup series. Tickets start at $26.50.
The Wendy’s 3-Tour Challenge comes to Rio Secco Nov. 11-12, pitting PGA, LPGA, and Champions Tour players against each other in a charity tournament raising money for adoption services. The Southern Nevada Golf Association has its own series of amateur tournaments.
Your hotel or resort can facilitate rounds on regional courses. Check the property’s website for golf packages, or call to ask about help with a tee time. Many of the city’s casinos, resorts, and hotels have connections with golf courses and concierges will often set up tee times for you. Some will also arrange transportation to and from a course.
For example, Caesars Entertainment owns Rio Secco and its high-end sister property, Cascata. While anyone can play the courses, Caesars properties offer golf concierge services and transportation for guests. The luxurious Shadow Creek is only for high rollers, the rich and famous and select MGM Resorts guests, who have their own limousines and caddies for the day’s outing.
JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort offers golf packages with TPC Las Vegas. The Venetian offers packages for Greens at Desert Pines Golf Club, and these are just two examples. Golf courses also often team up with other Vegas entities to offer special deals combining golf with, say, a helicopter tour or bachelor party package.
Most courses make it easy to reserve a tee time online. Consider golfing in the evening — some courses, including Angel Park Golf Club and the nine-hole Callaway Golf Center near the Strip — are lighted when the sun starts to go down. Final points: Be sure to stay hydrated, and, of course, always tip the drink attendant.
In this week's Vegas Minute -- which you can watch below and which can also be found, along with many of our signature Las Vegas commercials, on our official YouTube channel -- Mirage headliner Terry Fator isn't just giving lip service to his revamped show. Also, don't miss The Strokes at the Cosmopolitan and it's a great time for sports fans, too. Go golfing at any of Vegas' championship courses and catch Big League Weekend along with all of the action of college basketball's championship tournament in Las Vegas' luxurious sportsbooks. Plan your trip at LasVegas.com. Vegas Minute produced by Vegas.com.
Whether you like championship golf, professional boxing, the best pro skaters and BMX riders or the world's top bull riders, Las Vegas has something for the sports fan in you.
Start with this weekend's Dew Tour Championships featuring a performance by N.E.R.D. The event takes place at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel and features the best skate, BMX, and freestyle motorcross riders.
On Saturday night, enjoy a great night of boxing with Battle in the Backyard at the Silverton. It's an action packed night featuring some of the sport's top young talent.
The PGA Tour comes to Las Vegas Oct. 21-24 for the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at the TPC Summerlin. See some of the world's best golfers, and then play a few rounds yourself at any of Las Vegas' more than 60 championship courses. Play original courses designed by great players and architects like Jack Nicklaus, Raymond Floyd, Tom Weiskopf and Arnold Palmer.
You can also enjoy some cowboy culture as the best bull riders in the world compete Oct. 20-24 in the PBR World Finals at the Thomas and Mack Center.
Las Vegas is home for great sports! For more, see LasVegas.com.
Historic Pebble Beach is the location for the 2010 US Open Golf tournament, but who wants to watch golf on TV when you can be playing the top courses in the country ?? in Vegas! With summer arriving June 21, the days are the longest all year round and that makes for more birdies, eagles ?? and a few three putts.
Lake Las Vegas is home to the spectacular Jack Nicklaus-designed South Shore Golf Club. Nestled along the shores of Lake Las Vegas, the course stretches around exclusive homes and features guarded-bunker greens that force you to play your long-iron game. Relax afterwards in the comfort of deluxe accommodation at the Aston Montelago Village Resort or Loews Lake Las Vegas Resort then stroll the village for shopping and a bite to eat.
If you're craving a bit of East Coast scenery, head to North Las Vegas for a dose of Evergreen wilderness. Originally built by Steve Wynn, the MGM operated Tom-Fazio designed Shadow Creek is a legend. The exclusive course offers 18 serene, perfectly manicured holes, which require your A-game for every hole. Your game may not be under par, but the scenery is an ace by all standards!
Looking for a dramatic course with a little fun? The Rio Secco Course, operated by Harrah's Entertainment, is a top-100 golf course and is home to the Butch Harmon School of Golf. Who needs lessons though when you have a personal caddie! T-Mates is a popular program offered here that pairs your foursome with a beautiful ?? and expert -- caddie who assists in all parts of your game. Only in Vegas!
Experience the best of the best in Vegas. Royal Links Golf Club links-style golf course was created to honor the rich tradition and history of the game of golf. This Links-style course faithfully recreates holes inspired by the British Open rotation golf courses such as "The Road Hole" and "Hell Bunker" from the old course at St. Andrews and "The Postage Stamp" from Royal Troon.
From desert canyons to South Pacific palms, there is a terrain that suits your game, and a course made just for you. Check out the entire list of championship courses in Vegas, then book your vacation directly through our website. With so many Special Offers, you might just end up booking a return visit too!