LAS VEGAS -- Taking a cue from the wild world of Sin City, Bill Walters has created a fantasyland of golf courses right near the Las Vegas Strip.
If the Luxor can create a resort to mimic an Egyptian pyramid, Walters figured why couldn't he create three distinct golf courses built around different themes, something unique that would set them apart from the target-style desert courses of southern Nevada.
The best of Walters Golf is Bali Hai Golf Club, a tropical oasis right on Las Vegas Boulevard South. The Bali Hai clubhouse impressively looks transplanted from the South Pacific with its tropical fish tank, Balinese decor, the Cili Restaurant & Bar overlooking a blue lagoon and a golf shop annually recognized among the top 100 in the country.
The course, designed by Lee Schmidt and Brian Curley in 2000, is a visual delight, showcasing more than seven acres of water, 2,500 towering palms and 100,000 tropical plants and flowers, all offset by white Augusta sand and black volcanic outcroppings.
Many Las Vegas golf insiders consider Royal Links Golf Club to be one of the most fun courses in town. Royal Links features replica holes from British Open venues. Blind shots, pot bunkers and firm conditions attempt to enhance the British Open feel. The castle-style clubhouse -- while not British Open-like -- is still a nice touch.
Desert Pines Golf Club is the shortest and most affordable of the three. Architect Perry Dye did a great job routing the 6,800-yard layout on such limited land. The transplanted pines lining the fairway and gentle contours of the land establish a look reminiscent of the Carolinas.
A two-tier driving range at Desert Pines, with hitting bays that automatically tee up a ball after every hit, is just another first-class amenity players come to expect from a Walters Golf course.
EDITOR'S NOTE: As of Aug. 1, 2014, Walters Golf no longers owns Desert Pines G.C.