By Joel Beers
Everyone knows the big three G’s of Las Vegas. It’s Glitz, Glamour and Gaming. But there’s a fourth G-word that also attracts a great deal of attention: Golf.
Nearly 100 courses, ranging from opulent private clubs and lavish high-end public courses – such as Shadow Creek and Wynn Las Vegas – to more affordable courses line the Las Vegas Valley and surrounding environs.
Whether a traditional desert target track or a tropical oasis, the 11 courses we’re featuring represent what makes the golf experience in the region so unique. From stellar mountain, desert and Las Vegas Strip views and immaculate course conditions to layouts ideal for scratch golfers and high handicappers alike, golfers from every background will find something to enjoy in Sin City.
And although the first part of the year is peak season for Vegas-area golf, there is a way to save a little bit of money by taking advantage of the deeply discounted twilight and super twilight rates each of our courses offer.
Angel Park Golf Club
(888) 446-5358 • angelpark.com
Just the facts: The Palm Course is a par-70 layout that stretches 6,500 yards from the back tees. The Mountain Course plays to a par 71 at 6,772-yards from the tips.
Why you should play: It’s one of the most complete golf facilities in Las Vegas, including two Arnold Palmer/Ed Seay-designed courses, a 12-hole short course, and a natural-grass putting course. At 3,000 feet elevation, it offers dramatic mountain and city views. The Palm course is less visually striking than the Mountain track, as well as shorter, but it requires several forced carries and three of its par-3s measure more than 200 yards. The Mountain course has longer par 4s and numerous elevation changes, making it a tougher test.
Bet you didn’t know: The Cloud Nine short course is lighted, allowing for night play.
Arroyo Golf Club at Red Rock
(866) 934-4653 • thearroyogolfclub.com.
Just the facts: It’s a par-72 that plays 6,883 yards from back tees.
Why you should play: This Arnold Palmer Signature golf course, which lies alongside the gorgeous Red Rock Canyon, opened in 2003. It’s part of Red Rock Country Club, the centerpiece of the master-planned Summerlin Community, which also hosts an adjacent private club. Daily-fee golfers can enjoy the same service, conditioning and clubhouse of the private club’s members. It’s another generous course in terms of landing and bailout areas, but its 68 bunkers, many of which surround the green complexes, do present ample challenge.
Bet you didn’t know: This is one of only three public Las Vegas courses designed by the legendary Palmer.
Badlands Golf Club
(702) 363-0754 • badlandsgc.com
Just the facts: There are three nines here, the longest 18-hole combination measuring 6,935 yards.
Why you should play: To begin with, its looks. The Johnny Miller-Chi Chi Rodriguez designed courses, which blend seamlessly with the numerous arroyos and washes, look as if they were carved from the canyons at the base of the Red Rock Mountains. It’s also a thinking player’s course, set up to ensure that you just can’t grip it and rip it from the tees in hopes of making par.
Bet you didn’t know: Everything breaks toward the Stratosphere, the towering hotel on the Las Vegas Strip, which can be seen from most spots on the course.
Bear’s Best Las Vegas
(702) 804-8500 • bearsbestgetaway.com
Just the facts: The par-72 course plays 7,194 yards from the back tees.
Why you should play: Jack Nicklaus has designed 275 courses around the world, and he duplicated 18 of his favorite holes at this course. The holes were chosen from esteemed courses such as Scottsdale’s Desert Mountain, the Palmilla Golf Club in Los Cabos and Colorado’s Castle Pines.
Bet you didn’t know: You begin and finish the course on the 1st and 18th holes of the private resort course at PGA West, the same holes professionals have played for years as part of Coachella Valley’s annual PGA Tour stop.
The Legacy Golf Club
(888) 446-5358 • thelegacygc.com
Just the facts: A par-72 layout that stretches 7,233-yards from the back tees.
Why you should play: Designed by Arthur Hills, this is a blend of Scottish links-style golf and desert terrain. From the tips, it can be a daunting challenge, as four holes play longer than 500 yards, including the 594-yard 14th. It hosts annual qualifying for the U.S. Open, so it’s a course that will test even a scratch golfer’s mettle and require most golfers to use every club in their bag.
Bet you didn’t know: The par-3, 193- yard 10th hole has a set of four tees each shaped like a symbol from a deck of cards.
(702) 679-5509 • primmvallegolf.com
Just the facts: The Desert Course is 7,131 yards from the back tees, while the Lakes Course tops out at 6,945 yards. Both play to a par of 71.
Why you should play: Located at the California state line, both of these Tom Fazio-designed courses rank among Nevada’s best. The Lakes track, considered a working-man’s Shadow Creek, is tropically themed, with water on 12 holes and pine tree-lined fairways. It gets most of the pub, but the Desert course is no slouch.
Bet you didn’t know: Fazio has more golf courses on the list of America’s top 100 courses than any other designer.
Rhodes Ranch Golf Club
(702) 740-4114 • rhodesranch.com
Just the facts: The course plays 6,905 yards from the back tees with a par of 72.
Why you should play: Located just 15 minutes from the Las Vegas strip, this Ted Robinson Sr.-designed track features a set of par 3s that the famed designer called perhaps the best grouping of short holes on any of his courses. Its stellar conditions and risk-reward holes make it a favorite for Vegas locals, as does its tropical theme, with scores of towering palm trees flanking the fairways.
Bet you didn’t know: Stay-and-play packages with neighboring Southpointe Casino start as low as $110 per night during the week and $140 on weekends.
Siena Golf Club
(888) 689-6469 • sienagolfclub.com
Just the facts: A par-72 layout that plays 6,843 yards from the tips.
Why you should play: Designed by Schmidt-Curley Designs, this course opened in 2000 and has grown into one of the most popular Vegas tracks for locals and visitors. Though its rolling fairways are generous, shotmaking is at a premium, with nearly 100 bunkers and six water features. The facility also includes a Tuscan-style 13,500-square-foot clubhouse and a gourmet bistro overlooking Lake Siena.
Bet you didn’t know: You can play both Siena and its sister course, Arroyo Golf Club, for a total of $174 through March 12 if you play both within five days.
Silverstone Golf Club
(702) 562-3770 • silverstonegolf.com
Just the facts: There are three nines, the longest combination of which measures 7,159 yards from the back tees.
Why you should play: The three nines, designed by Bob Cupp, carry most of their bite in the long par 5s, with a nice blend of longish and shorter par 3s and par 4s. The Mountain nine, with its subtle elevation changes, is the toughest of the three. A 35,000-square-foot clubhouse is one of the region’s finest.
Bet you didn’t know: The par-5 fifth hole is the longest in Nevada at 653 yards.
Stallion Mountain Golf Club
Just the facts: A par-72 course at 7,351 yards from the back tees.
Why you should play: For starters, it’s finally open again. After being closed for nearly four years, the course re-opened under new ownership and management in July, and course conditions are immaculate. The original design of former PGA Tour player Jim Colbert and architect Jeff Brauer is intact, as are the views of the Strip and Sunrise Mountain. Accuracy and length are important, but you’ll run into most of your problems on the well-protected tiered greens.
Bet you didn’t know: Stallion Mountain hosted Golf Channel’s Big Break II.
Tuscany Golf Club
(702) 951-1500 • tuscanygolfclub.com
Just the facts: A par-72 layout that plays 6,906-yards from all the way back.
Why you should play: This sister course to Rhodes Ranch was also designed by Ted Robinson. Since opening in 2004, the course has earned plenty of accolades from regional and national golf publications. It’s very playable from the forward tees, but strategic bunkering makes playing from the tips a challenge for even the best of players.
Bet you didn’t know: The Par-4, 404-yard ninth hole is one of the toughest in Las Vegas. There’s water on the left and a pond rests to the right of the small green. The par-4, 440-yard 18th is also a bear, since the green is guarded by water on three sides.