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|No. 10 at Royal Links Golf Club is a dead ringer for the famous Road Hole at St. Andrews. (Courtesy of Royal Links G.C.)|
LAS VEGAS -- If you're a true golf fan, chances are you get a little excited when it's time for the Open Championship. Golfers get the opportunity to see history come to life across the pond as the world's best players tee it up on some of the most iconic golf courses and golf holes anywhere.
Well, if you're staying and playing golf in Las Vegas, you can get that same type of golf experience when you tee it up at Royal Links Golf Club and take on replicas of 18 historic golf holes that have been used in the Open Championship rotation.
Royal Links, a Dye International layout just minutes from the Las Vegas Strip, plays to 7,029 yards from the tips. It's an impressive round of golf that brings links-style golf to life.
First up is the fifth hole. It's a 322-yard, par 4 that is designed after the Old Course's 12th hole.
Then there's the finale. The 18th at Royal Links is a 515-yard, par-5 masterpiece. It's a replica of the 14th hole on the Old Course.
But the one that's talked about the most is the 466-yard, par-4 10th: a dead ringer for the world-famous Road Hole, right down to the famed scoreboard that welcomes players. The entire hole has it all: that scoreboard, deep gorse along the fairways and impressive bunkering. The hole's length makes it tough, but the dog-leg right design puts a premium on accuracy off the tee. The second shot must avoid a deep bunker guarding the front of the green and the road (where the hole got its nickname) that cuts right behind the hole.
While those three holes are impressive enough on your journey, there's so much more on and off the course.
In all, Royal Links has holes from 11 of the 14 courses that have hosted the Open Championship. That includes courses such as Carnoustie, Muirfield, Turnberry's Ailsa Course, Royal Troon (the famous "Postage Stamp" hole is no. 8 at Royal Links) and others.
And while you're at Royal Links, don't forget to take in the ambiance. There are monuments around the course highlighting British Open history. Then there's the famed Swilcan Bridge where Jack Nicklaus said goodbye a few years ago and Tom Watson will make that same farewell this year.
There's more. Make sure your round includes a caddie (or a ParMate). With hidden bunkers (there are 108 bunkers overall -- many of them not visible off the tee) and undulating greens, these caddies are long on advice on where players can be more aggressive during the round and where to be a little more conservative. They will definitely add to the experience and shave a few strokes off your round.
There's a red, old-fashioned phone booth on the ninth tee that allows players to call in lunch orders.
And for the finale, check out Stymie's Pub where fish and chips and bangers -- along with a Guinness -- will complete this out-of-this world day.
From the clubhouse-turned-castle to the monuments paying homage to the sport across the entirety of the course, you'll find yourself feeling a world away while only miles from the Vegas Strip.
May 16, 2016
Bill Bowman is a Las Vegas-based writer who has more than 40 years in the sports-writing business. He's spent the past 16-plus years covering the golf scene in Vegas and has teed it up for magazine profiles with celebrities including comedian Bill Engvall, actor Jeffrey Donovan (USA's Burn Notice), ESPN personality Colin Cowherd, NASCAR's Kurt Busch, Collective Soul's Ed Roland, the Baltimore Ravens' Jonathan Ogden and many others.
Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management.
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