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|The 18th hole at Bali Hai Golf Club in Vegas plays to 486 yards. (Courtesy of Bali Hai G.C.)|
LAS VEGAS -- Three-oh-oh. That's the number power hitters look for when they grip it and rip it on big-boy golf courses. Las Vegas is the perfect golf destination for big hitters. Go big, or go home.
Here are five Las Vegas golf courses where you can and must pull out the big stick to score well. Pack your bags, make your reservations and show us what you've got.
Bali Hai Golf Club, one of the most glamorous golf courses in Las Vegas, is also one of the toughest from the tips. It may be just 7,002 yards, but it's got a few of the biggest and baddest golf holes in town. Bali Hai's opener plays just 341 yards from the back tees, so get that birdie on the scorecard early because by the time you get to 17 (484 yards) and 18 (486 yards), you're going to be challenging two tour-length par 4s back-to-back to finish your round.
Boulder Creek Golf Club may not be a high-profile course in Vegas terms (no bells and whistles, just great golf), but within the 27 holes there are enough tests for even the biggest hitters. How about a 250-yard par 3 on the Desert Hawk nine? Or a 457-yard par 4 with a split fairway that is situated perfectly to catch errant drives and make scoring that much tougher? Not challenging enough? Then tackle the 635-yard, par-5 seventh on the Coyote Run nine. Seven bunkers and a desert waste area will require those big shots also be accurate.
You'll have a howling good time on the Wolf Course at Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort. At 7,604 yards it's a monster with the teeth to prove it. Three of the par 4s stretch to more than 490 yards, and three of the par 3s play more than 200 yards. If you've got the length, this is one of the best tests anywhere.
At 7,332 yards, Rio Secco Golf Club, a Rees Jones masterpiece, is also a big hitter's dream (or nightmare if you're not hitting it straight). Rio Secco's 634-yard, par-5 finishing hole plays dead-straight back toward the Las Vegas Strip. But it can play into the wind. Getting home in two? Maybe. Getting home in three? Probably. Throw in a couple more tour-length par 5s (566 and 595 yards) and par 4s that will have you shaking your head (478 and 489 yards), and you've got a round of golf you won't soon forget.
The 27 holes at Silverstone Golf Club aren't that long. But with four par 5s reaching more than 600 yards (including one reaching a mammoth 653 yards), you're going to be licking your chops as you try to get home in two on any of them. And if you're hitting it that long, a couple of Silverstone Golf Club's par 4s will be drivable from one tee box up (324, 329, 299 yards); so that two-putt birdie is also a possibility.
There are other golf courses in the Vegas area with big-time numbers. So if distance is your game, look around and be ready to give it your best shot. You'll need it.
August 19, 2011
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.
The Olde English District -- which runs 20 minutes south of Charlotte down toward Columbia, S.C. -- has a whole lot going for it when it comes to golf and history. But today's battles can be played out on an array of more than 20 golf courses. Here are some top picks.
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