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Vegas, baby! In Sin City, golf is only part of the action

William K. WolfrumBy William K. Wolfrum,
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The Falls Golf Club - Lake Las Vegas
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The Hyatt Regency Lake Las Vegas offers up The Falls for golfers and even more for non-golfers. (Chris Baldwin/WorldGolf.com)

There is a famous scene in the Jon Favreau's movie "Swingers" with Vince Vaughn where the pair make the drive from the Los Angeles area to Las Vegas. It's a drive millions and millions have made throughout the years -- a five-ish-hour trek that comes to fruition just as you tire of it.

"Vegas, baby," the duo repeat as the lights from Sin City come into view on Interstate-15.

Whether by land or air, those words, in one form or another ring in the mind of all travelers who have seen this surreal desert playground spread out before them. "Vegas, baby." It's all there for a traveler looking for some adult fun.

And while golfers know they'll be challenged by great courses like Painted Desert Golf Club and Badlands Golf Club, both golfer and non-golfer alike know that off-course is where the real action is happening in a town that has boldly stated "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas." Here are some ideas of where to stay, eat and play.

Best gambling action

While many will pick Bellagios when faced with the decision of where to play poker, as the host of the World Series of Poker, Harrah's has pushed its way onto the stage in the increasingly popular world of cards.

Of course, a variety of Vegas stand-out hotel/casinos now operate under the Harrah's banner, including Caesars Palace, Paris, Bally's, the Horseshoe and Rio. For true old school cards and dice action, head downtown to the Horseshoe, which will still go by the moniker of Binions by old schoolers. The stories and history are still at the Horseshoe, and for single-deck blackjack, hardcore poker and freewheeling craps, there's few better places in Nevada.

Looking to bet the ponies, or put some money on an NFL game? Your choices are endless, as there are sportsbooks all over town. Once again, an old favorite -- Caesars -- is the place to place your bets.

"Even with all the brash newcomers, it's no contest. You can bet anything here and the place is so huge it seems to dominate the casino," wrote Golf Publisher West Coast Bureau Chief Chris Baldwin.

Where to stay

Lodging in Vegas depends solely on the traveler. If you're in town for sin, as many are, and aren't much concerned with where you lay your head, head downtown. Action is always within walking distance, and hotels like the Four Queens will have you in a room for less than their counterparts on The Strip.

For high rollers, the Four Seasons at Mandalay Bay and Bellagio will treat you with the style and luxury you feel you deserve.

In town with the family? Take a look at the Hyatt Regency Lake Las Vegas, which will have you in a more serene setting, sans the glaring neon in nearby Henderson. They even have outdoor activities and a childcare camp available.

"This is where you go to escape from Las Vegas, while still being able to experience Las Vegas at the slightest whim. All that neon craziness is only about 25 minutes away after all," wrote Baldwin.

Where to eat

Face it, you're in a town that literally assaults you with "Prime Rib: $4.99!" signs. Nonetheless, you need to be aware that if you pay $5 for prime rib, it likely won't be the most memorable cut of meat you've ever tried. The same goes for the buffets.

This is why buffets at places like Bellagio and the Golden Nugget will run you a few more bucks, but they are not to be missed for the quality and amount of food. Seafood in the desert? The crab legs at Bellagio will make you think you're in Maine.

Finally, if you just can't resist theatrics, even while eating, there are few more thrilling experiences than Aureole at Mandalay Bay.

"The cat-suited babes rappelling down the sides of the 42-foot tall glass enclosed wine cellar is just the start of the show," writes Baldwin.

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William K. Wolfrum keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation. You can follow him on Twitter @Wolfrum.

 
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