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|The Pacific-themed Bali Hai Golf Club is right on the Las Vegas Strip. (Courtesy of Bali Hai G.C.)|
So here's the deal: You fly into Las Vegas, take a taxi to one of the Strip's plush casino resorts and check in. Now you're looking for a place to play golf. Since you don't have a car, you'd like a short cab ride. Where do you go?
Fortunately, there are several golf courses that aren't far from the Strip. In fact, there's one that's right on Las Vegas Boulevard, and if you were staying at the Mandalay Bay Resort, you could literally walk over to Bali Hai Golf Club.
Here's a quick rundown on a few Las Vegas golf courses that won't take a cab fare larger than the green fee.
One of the plushest and most unique golf courses in Las Vegas, Bali Hai Golf Club is also closest to the action. This South Pacific-themed golf course, which features thousands of tropical plants, is located on the south end of the Strip and just a few minutes from McCarren International Airport.
The Schmidt-Curley design, which can be stretched to 7,000 yards has more than 2,500 palm trees, acres of crystal white sand and plenty of water features, including streams and fountains.
You'll also enjoy dining at the popular Cili Restaurant & Bar inside the 32,000 square foot, Balinese themed clubhouse. Forecaddies are also available at Bali Hai.
Wynn Golf Club is about as secluded as it gets, considering its location right on the Strip behind Wynn Las Vegas and Encore. There isn't even a parking lot; guests have to walk through the hotel to get to the golf shop. Once they get to the course, it's perfect green grass conditions on a rolling, 7,042-yard par 70 designed by casino magnate Steve Wynn and Tom Fazio.
The course has plenty of streams, water and cascading waterfalls, including one that's 37 feet tall behind the 18th green. From the tips, Wynn is quite a challenge with most of the par 4s 440 yards or longer and a couple of par 3s that tip out to more than 220 yards. But from the right set of tees, with the help of the mandatory forecaddie, Wynn is a most playable, enjoyable experience. While there are a couple of forced carries to pins, most players, even novices can play around them to safe sides of Wynn's flawless bentgrass greens.
Offering a taste of Carolina Sandhills golf in the desert, thousands of pine trees were imported to complete the look at Desert Pines Golf Club, located less than 15 minutes from the Strip.
The well maintained course features smooth bentgrass greens, often fronting water hazards at the end of doglegs. Risk-reward par 4s and par 5s will keep your interest as will a nice collection of par 3s.
Desert Pines also features a two-tiered, lighted driving range that's open late during the summer, perfect for unwinding after dinner.
Just five minutes off the Strip on Desert Inn Road, Las Vegas National Golf Club is old school Sin City golf. Having undergone several name changes over the years, you still get the old vibes in the clubhouse and on the course. The old stomping ground of the Rat Pack, Las Vegas National is also where Tiger Woods won his first PGA Tour event in 1997 – the Las Vegas Invitational.
Designed by Bert Stamps and opened in 1961, Las Vegas National is a 6,800-yard par 71 that still provides a good test of course management, ball-striking and short-game skills.
Although Revere Golf Club is located in Henderson, it's a pretty easy trip on Las Vegas' freeways. Plus, you can still see the Las Vegas Strip from the two golf courses. In fact, the 36 holes at Revere Golf Club, which include the Lexington course and Concord course, probably offer the best views you'll find anywhere of the valley and Strip below.
More than that, though, both courses are terrific designs by Greg Nash and Billy Casper. The 7,143-yard, par-72 Lexington Course was the first to open followed by the Revere three years later. Everything at the Revere Golf Club has a Revolutionary War theme, including the names of the holes.
The Ted Robinson-designed Rhodes Ranch Golf Club is a 6,900-yard design that features plenty of water, white sand bunkers and excellent conditions. A favorite among local players, the course has a number of good short par 4s that tempt big hitters, varying elevations and great views of the surrounding mountains.
The Rhodes Ranch Bar, which offers a variety of brews and cocktails, is a popular hangout spot for golfers after the round.
Las Vegas may be thousands of miles from the British Isles, but Royal Links Golf Club is about as close as you can get in the desert. The course is a collection of holes that pay tribute to the great courses of the British Open rota, such as the Old Course at St. Andrews, Turnberry and Royal Troon.
To complete the experience, guests check in at Royal Links' castle-like clubhouse, where you'll find an authentic Scottish pub that offers old world whiskies and ales. Forecaddies are also available to complete the experience as are the gorgeous female ParMate caddies, who will help you get around the course in style.
February 23, 2011
Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in the Houston area. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 20 years in the golf industry. Before accepting his current position in 2008, he was on staff at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @Accidentlgolfer.
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