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|The 653-yard third hole on the Mountain nine at Silverstone is the longest in Nevada. (Courtesy of Silverstone G.C.)|
LAS VEGAS -- They have definitely saved the best for last at Silverstone Golf Club, which means three -- not just two -- challenging finishing holes at this 27-hole Robert Cupp design.
Whether it's the Desert nine's 404-yard par 4, the Mountain nine's 616-yard par 5 or the Valley nine's 406-yard par 4, players will find closing holes that put a premium on shot-making. All three holes provide generous driving areas, but then they toughen up. All three greens feature lakes along one edge or the other, which makes hunting for the pin a supreme risk.
"The biggest thing is that water comes into play on all three holes," said Josh Martin, Silverstone's golf operations manager. "The greens are right on the edge of the water and that makes the approach shots a little tougher."
But, we're getting ahead of ourselves. Let's go back to the first tee and get into the round.
If you're looking to score at Silverstone Golf Club, you better come out firing.
All three nines (ranging in length from 3,398 to 3,599 yards) have opening holes that offer birdie opportunities -- and in two cases, an eagle. Two are par 5s that are very player friendly (the Desert opener is 535 yards, while the Valley is 631 yards but plays straight), while the Mountain opener is a 343-yard par 4.
"Two of the opening holes are par 5s and the third is a driveable par 4 so people definitely have the chance to start their round off with a good score," Martin said.
But, just because they open with scoreable holes, don't take any of the nines for granted. There is enough danger in the round to force players to really think their way around.
Start with the 627-yard, par-5 fifth on the Desert nine. It's a straight hole, but a bunker off the tee and three more short of the green provide obstacles that must be avoided.
On the Mountain nine, it's the 653-yard, par-5 third -- the longest hole in Nevada. With desert landscaping on both sides, the tee shot and second shot must be precise to set up an approach to a green that is guarded front and left by a lake and also has bunkers to catch errant shots.
The Valley nine's 567-yard, par-5 fifth is also a tough hole as the fairway falls off on the right side. Players can still get home from there, but it's a blind shot to a green fronted by a perfectly placed bunker that catches more than its share of shots.
Overall, the course (just like those challenging par 5s) will give players their share of birdie opportunities.
Mike and Colleen Ciarla, from Calgary, Alberta, were playing their first round at Silverstone. Both came away impressed.
"It's definitely a challenge," Mike Ciarla said. "But it's not too intimidating. And it's very picturesque."
But, there will be times during the round that the course can rise up and bite players. It's just a matter of taking your medicine and not making a bad situation worse by trying to come up with that heroic shot.
"When you're standing on the tee boxes, the course looks wide open," Martin said. "But a few holes are deceiving with some forced carries so players really have to think before they hit a tee shot."
Comfort is the name of the game in the clubhouse. Whether it's a beer with the guys after the round or a dinner for 100 of your closest friends, Silverstone Golf Club has the space for everyone to spread out and not be cramped.
The food selections run the gamut, from hamburgers and hot dogs to sandwiches. Silverstone also has menus to choose from for your tournament or event. All you have to do is show up and have fun.
There is a 90-yard, par-3 hole adjacent to the clubhouse. It is used for players to break ties after the round or for closest-to-the-pin contests during tournaments.
"There are definitely a lot of bets settled there," Martin said. "It's not a long hole but it's over a pond and it can definitely make for an interesting finish."
And it's no pushover as it plays over a pond. Take your best shot. It could make or break your bet.
The 27 holes at Silverstone Golf Club provide the challenges all players want and the variety players need during a round.
"It's a unique golf course in that it appeals to all players," Martin said. "With the tee selections, it caters to players of all abilities and will give them the chance to have a good, challenging round of golf. We definitely have a lot of repeat players and with the three nines, they get the chance to get a look at different combinations in their round."
October 14, 2013
Bill Bowman is a Las Vegas-based writer who has nearly 40 years in the sports-writing business. He's spent the past 15-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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