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Salve from the Sin: Aliante Golf Club in North Las Vegas is a pleasing, playable round

Judd SpicerBy Judd Spicer,
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Aliante Golf Club offers up a pleasing, playable and mountain-viewed round 20-plus miles from the Las Vegas Strip. (Courtesy of Aliante G.C.)

NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- For all its activity, action and amusement, the never-ending party that is the Las Vegas Strip can be, well, a mess.

And true, sometimes it's fun to get messy. But to enjoy a happy balance of lights and leisure during your next Vegas trip, a round away from the sound can bring some pleasing measure to your time at the tables.

After a night of drink, dine and gaming, seek respite from the clamor with a round at Aliante Golf Club, just 20-plus miles from the gaming epicenter.

"If you've already been to the Strip, that's sort of like Waikiki Beach, with all the touristy things," says Eric Eubanks, assistant golf professional at Aliante Golf Club. "For people that want to get away from the Strip, you've got the casino up here, our golf right across the street and you can get away from all that headache. And you can also get away from the prices down there. A beer is, like, $10 and over here its four bucks. So, personally, I think it's a nice quiet getaway."

Quietude indeed. Set amid the well kept Sun City Aliante 55-plus community, the Troon-managed golf club presents a pleasing, playable and mountain-viewed round that proves accessible for all level of golfer.

"It a nice course and they keep it in good shape," says Bill Hernandez of North Las Vegas, who has played Aliante multiple times a week since the course opened in 2003. "And a big reason I like it here is because you use various clubs; where other courses you might hit the same clubs all day, here, you're using a whole variety of your bag, which allows you to get better at the sport. It's a place where an amateur can really learn."

Understanding the arroyo

Designed by Gary Panks Associates, Aliante Golf Club proves commensurate with other Sun City communities in its philosophy of getting players off the tee with generous landing areas. Keeping the box honest, however, is a meandering arroyo, which cuts through a host of fairways both short and deep and routes the grounds as a playable desert hazard.

"You've got the arroyo running through the entire golf course, so there are hazards. It's rocky and bushy, but it's a lateral hazard throughout the course," says Eubanks, who noted that the arroyo comes into play on all but two holes. "But it's still a very fair and very playable golf course. Even as a high-handicapper, you still need to hit a fairly awful shot to get to the desert hazards. Your ball needs to be moving pretty hard to either side to get off the grass, because the rough is up pretty good and stops balls off-line."

After finding the oft-massive fairways, benign greens await those with a sturdy iron game.

"The greens are well guarded and not generally huge, but they're also not undulating," Eubanks says. "And the approaches can be a bit difficult at times, but if you find the greens, the putting is pretty simple. There's not a tremendous amount of break out here."

Opting for sweet solace over signature holes, Aliante generally finds its highlights on the four holes with the strategy of the crossing arroyo.

The 555-yard, par-5 third begins an early run of engagement.

"You need some course knowledge on no. 3," Eubanks says. "It is a par 5, but it's a lay-up off the tee, not a driver. The hole plays to a hill from the tee, so it's blind and you can't see the crossing arroyo down there."

The two holes ensuing offer more fun.

"The fourth is a short par 3 that gives everybody a chance at birdie. Then you follow that up with no. 5, a short par 4 which is sort of a risk-reward," Eubanks says. "On the fifth, you can lay up with an iron off the tee, or, you can hit driver and try and get it up on the green or at least pretty close. You need to be precise with that tee shot, but I really like the options there."

After a meaty 452-yard, par-4 12th and the tough 233-yard, par-3 13th, the arroyo returns on the studied 14th.

"It's a par 5 and on your second shot you need to lay up to make sure you're short of the arroyo because it's a very long second shot to get close to the green," Eubanks says.

Rounding home offers a pair of terrific holes.

On the short par-4 16th, players club down from the box to avoid the arroyo deep fairway before approaching to an uphill and well protected green.

"And the 17th is really an excellent hole," Eubanks says of the 420-yard test. "It requires a good driver and then you've got water on the left side and a small, elevated green; and it's a difficult approach shot up there. You really need to think about every shot on that hole."

Aliante Golf Club: The verdict

True to the rep of both Sun City and Troon properties, Aliante is well played from top to bottom, with an upbeat and professional milieu that aims to please.

From those seeking a stay-and-play option sans the Strip, the course offers some solid deals with neighboring Aliante Casino + Hotel (not affiliated).

Full practice facility and instruction are on site, and the course has established an impressive program with the military. For both veterans and active servicemen and women, Aliante has affiliated with a number of programs offering military discounts, golf rehabilitation clinics and green fee deals with big savings for military vets and spouse.

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Judd Spicer is an award-winning, veteran freelance writer hailing from St. Paul, Minn. After 12 years of covering MLB, NBA, NCAA and the active golf landscape of the Twin Cities, he relocated to the Palm Spring, Calif. region to further pursue his golf work and Champions Tour dream. Sporting measured distance off the tee, Spicer refers to his pitching wedge as his "magic wand." Follow Judd on Twitter at @juddspicer.

Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management.

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