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Spanish Trail Country Club in Las Vegas starts its journey on the next 30 years

Bill BowmanBy Bill Bowman,
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Spanish Trail C.C. -- a 27-hole, Robert Trent Jones Jr. design -- is a nice break from the harsh desert courses of Vegas. (Courtesy of Brian Oar)

LAS VEGAS -- The slogan for Spanish Trail Country Club is simple but effective: 30 Years Of Tradition, A Brand New Experience.

And that new experience is on display right from the start. The course is a Robert Trent Jones Jr. layout and features 27 holes with enough nuances (15 water features and more than 120 bunkers) to challenge everyone's game.

Jerry Roberts, the first pro at Spanish Trail and still the golf professional emeritus, said Spanish Trail was definitely a trailblazer. "We were the first gated community, we had 27 holes and we were totally private," he said. "We were pretty unique. When we opened the course, we were the first golf course built in Las Vegas in 19 years. In fact, no. 2 on the Lakes Course played 604 yards and was the longest par 5 in the state at that time."

While it is a private course, outside play is allowed on a limited basis. That means that everyone, from members to visitors to residents, has the chance to tee it up and check it out.

Spanish Trail: On the golf course

With three nine-hole layouts, if golfers are looking for variety, this is the place to be. Rolling fairways, true-rolling greens and beautiful water features (with waterfalls galore) are centerpieces for this exclusive club located in the center of Las Vegas.

Each of the nines at Spanish Trail (Canyon, Lakes and Sunrise) has a second hole that will test golfers' aggressiveness early in the round. Each of them is water-laden and requires pin-point accuracy. On Spanish Trail's Canyon (187 yards) and the Sunrise (179 yards) nines, the par 3s feature greens that require pinpoint shots. On the Lakes (a par 5 at 601 yards), the second and third shots are key. Big hitters (John Daly comes to mind) might get home in two, but mere mortals need to play it as a three-shot hole and set themselves up with a wedge into a green that is fronted by a pond and also features a waterfall on the right side. All three are beauties, but they can certainly be beasts.

"It's a fair yet challenging layout," said Robb Rizor, head golf professional. "And it's a traditional course. There are trees everywhere, and there's no desert, and there are no forced carries. It's just a very playable golf course."

One of the country club's newest members, Jack Rippel, has been a member for about a month. He retired from the army and moved to Las Vegas to be closer to his daughter. Spanish Trail Country Club caught his eye.

"With 27 holes, it's got a lot of variety, and that's really a big appeal," he said. "And the course design suits players of all skill levels. It's not going to beat you up."

And then there are the greens. Rizor said they are PGA Tour quality (Spanish Trail was one of the courses in the rotation for a five-year stretch during the PGA Tour's Vegas stop), and Rippel was quick to agree.

"You can certainly put yourself in trouble if you're in the wrong place on some of the greens," Rippel said. "They can be tough, but they are very true."

Rippel isn't able to point out favorite or trouble holes -- but he knows they are coming. "I'm still learning the course so I don't have any scars, yet," he said with a smile.

On the other end of the spectrum is seven-year member Rob Martin. He didn't take up golf until he joined Spanish Trail.

"You're really treated well here," he said. "And that's important. They always keep the course, especially the greens, in great shape. The course definitely has some tough holes. Well, there are holes that don't look that tough, but somehow they wind up being tough for me."

In the end, the best selling point is the number of holes. "Having 27 holes gives you a different look every time you play," Martin said.

Spanish Trail: Clubhouse and practice facility

A 50,000-square-foot clubhouse awaits players at Spanish Trail. Nicely appointed locker rooms, impressive banquet facilities and an elegant restaurant highlight the interior. And this isn't your typical burger-and-a-beer place to stop before or after the round to eat.

The bar and grill has almost as much variety as the golf course. From breakfast specialties (how about three varieties of eggs Benedict or cinnamon swirl French toast) to lunch (maybe Buffalo chicken wrap or blackened Mahi Mahi or a vegetable Panini wrap) to dinner (from New York style pizza to filet mignon to rotisserie half duck) this place has it all.

Just looking to work on your game a little? Well, the practice facility at Spanish Trail has spots to work on every part of your swing.

Along with a huge hitting area, there are also three large putting greens (chipping is allowed on two of them). There are also spots to work on your bunker game, whether it's greenside sand shots or those troublesome longer bunker shots.

Spanish Trail Country Club: The verdict

Whether you're a member or just looking for that special place to play golf in Las Vegas, Spanish Trail Country Club has all the amenities that make it worthy of the country club title.

From world-class golf (remember, this is a Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed course) to the spa to the other amenities, everyone is treated like a VIP.

And in Vegas, you wouldn't expect anything less.

For more information, see spanishtrailcc.com.

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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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