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|No. 15 on the Wolf Course at Paiute is among Las Vegas' top par 3s. (Courtesy of Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort)|
As with most things in life, one person's best doesn't even make the next person's list. It's the same with golf. One person loves a golf hole, the next person (after plunking a shot or two in the water or out of bounds) can't stand the hole.
With that in mind, we give you three of the best par 3s, par 4s and par 5s that Las Vegas has to offer. Nine golf holes that will test the shot-making skills of the best players.
It's simple: You've got to have water, you've got to have scenery, and you've got to have that "wow" factor when you step up to the tee. That being said, that narrows it down to about 20 in Las Vegas. Here are our three best:
Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort's Wolf Course, 15th hole: This one was easy. With an island green sitting some 185 yards from the tee, the green looks small. A bunker short as well as one more long makes proper club selection vital. And don't forget to factor in the breeze/wind. Good luck -- you'll need it.
Bali Hai Golf Club, 16th hole: This one's also an island green, but on a smaller scale. Just 141 yards from the tips, there is a little bailout area to the left, but hitting that area is almost tougher than hitting the green. Bunkers short and long add to the test on Bali Hai's 16th. Also, a very undulating green will challenge even the best putter in your group.
Rhodes Ranch Golf Club, third hole: A stream, a pond and four bunkers make this hole a beauty. Take it back to 227 yards from the tips, and it becomes a beast. The pond in front is huge, making the green appear even smaller. Bailout is short and left, and there's no shame in chipping and one-putting for par.
This one's tough to narrow down. The best par-4 holes require two shots that force players to think. The tee shot isn't just a grip-it-and-rip it shot, it's a shot where you've got to be accurate. If it's a long tee shot, and you've still got to be accurate, so be it.
Bear's Best Golf Club, 18th hole: At 463 yards from the tips, it's already a challenge. Add in a pond and beach-like bunker on the right off the tee and OB left, and you've upped the ante. Nestle the green up next to a pond with a bunker on the left, and you've got one of the best finishing holes anywhere.
Royal Links Golf Club, 10th hole: Inspired by the "Road Hole" at St. Andrews, this hole will test players' accuracy and courage all the way through the 466-yard hole. The drive must be a fade and avoid the huge scoreboard perched above the old wall. The second shot must avoid a deep bunker fronting the green as well as the road that runs behind the green.
Wynn Golf Club, 18th hole: At 448 yards, Wynn's closer is not the longest par 4 you'll play. But it will be one of the most challenging holes along with one of the most gorgeous. After the tee shot to a lush fairway, players face an approach that will bombard the senses: A 37-foot waterfall cascades into a deep-blue pond that guards the green long and left. Add in a couple of brilliant white-sand bunkers and you've got a finishing hole that is picture-postcard perfect.
Risk/reward is the name of the game when you're talking about the best par-5 holes. You've got to have the chance to go for it in two, but missing the second shot has to have consequences. These three par 5s do -- and in a big way.
Primm Valley Golf Club's Lakes Course, second hole: Granted, you've got to be a big hitter to get home in two -- and we mean big. But, there's a chance. If you're going for it in two, you've got to cut off as much of the dogleg left as possible, which brings a huge pond into play. Accomplish that, and you'll have a long-iron or hybrid in that still must avoid a huge bunker fronting the green, and that pond is also on the left.
Revere Golf Club's Lexington Course, seventh hole: At 489 yards, it's definitely a reachable par 5 with well placed shots. Off the tee, players need to avoid a bunker left and desert landscaping. The second shot -- an uphill knock to a huge, sloping green -- must also avoid a couple of bunkers, left and right, as well as a pond behind the green at the base of a cascading waterfall.
Legacy Golf Club, 17th hole: This one measures just 515 yards from the tips, so it's definitely reachable if you manage to avoid bunkers off the tee (left and right) and keep it out of the pond on the left with your second shot. A bunker short right will catch shots from those bailing out and an up and down from there is no easy task. While eagle is a possibility with two solid shots, this hole can also derail a great round.
July 18, 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.
Here are the best 36-hole facilities open to the public. All of them share a clubhouse and offer two exceptional 18-hole golf courses. Most of the clubs are part of a resort, and in some cases you even stay on site. No matter which you visit, you can't go wrong playing 36 holes at any of them.
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