Today we will not focus on the "classics" of Las Vegas, but purely on the golfing side of things, although you will notice that there is always this component of "extravagance", wherever you play!
Vegas is not a common destination to go to repeatedly, so whenever you are there, golf is a must, as the overall experience is unique. Depending on your time and budget, whether you go alone or in a group, there is always an option for you!
One last thing before we get started: get your wallet ready! Vegas isn't particularly cheap, and neither is golf, but with a good night at the casino you're sure to enjoy all the extras!
With over 50 courses throughout Las Vegas, it's not easy to choose where to play, but depending on your criteria of proximity, price or reputation, there's something for everyone.
All bookings usually include buggy and range balls (the ball pyramid is usually standard), and if you rent clubs they will have what you need and will even give you a box of balls to go fully equipped.
I am not going to go over all the courses I know, but just mention some of the ones I think are the best to make the most of your trip. Las Vegas is big and there are some courses that can take about an hour to drive to. So with the time to warm up, play, eat and get back, it is best to choose the right course and enjoy it to the fullest!
There is a saying that all greens fall towards the strip, so when in doubt, look up and where there is a skyscraper, that's where the drop will be!
Bali Hai brings together many aspects that make this course the perfect choice for many. The first is its proximity to the strip where most of the hotels and casinos are located, so getting to the course is a very short drive (even walking is an option if you are brave). It has a very tropical design that contrasts perfectly with the Nevada desert, and views of the most emblematic casinos on the strip. It's not an easy course, but one thing the marshal will recommend (and so will I) is the tee bar so you have a good time and don't suffer too much. Listen to him, as you'll probably be jetlagged, you won't be playing with your own clubs, and depending on the night before you'll be more or less fresh ;-)
Finally, it is very "Las Vegas Style": the cart-girl stops by every few holes with a full bar on wheels, they give you bluetooth speakers to play your favourite music (if you like it!), you can "rent" a caddie to drive the buggy and give you the necessary advice, or a "parmate" to accompany you and read your putts.
Another curiosity of this Vegas style is that on a par 3 of the course (they usually change so that it is not always the same), they offer you to bet 100$ if you get the ball on the green: if you win you get 200$ to spend in the pro shop, if you miss it will have been the fastest way to lose 100$! That's Vegas!
In keeping with the argument that you don't go to Vegas every other day, it seems appropriate to play courses that you'll only find in Vegas. Bear's Best is a course that brings together the best 18 holes designed by the legendary Jack Nicklaus (of the 270 holes he designed internationally). Each hole has a story and makes you travel while staying close to the strip. Even the colour of the sand in the bunkers perfectly resembles the original designs.
The clubhouse is huge and super cosy, with a restaurant that will make you want to stay all day. In fact if you have time and feel like playing that day, when you go for your first round, they offer you the option to play all day until it gets dark, so you can become a master of the famous Jack's designs!
A TPC course stands for "Tournament Players Club" and gives it a prestigious professional status. The TPC Las Vegas is usually a PGA calendar course and it is clear that the level required to play it is high! Anything other than fairways is almost guaranteed to be a lost ball, as these are rocky areas and it is specifically requested not to go looking for balls in this area (not to avoid slow play, but to avoid encounters with snakes!)
The key to having a good time on this course is to choose the right tee shots, otherwise you will spend the whole game trying to get to the fairway, as there is usually nothing but rock between the tee and the fairway!
A little further away from the Las Vegas strip are the real jewels of Nevada. You can go in many directions, but within an hour's drive, north or south, there is nothing but rocky desert, and therefore a golf course in this area is a real shocker!
Paiute has no less than 54 holes of golf, i.e. 3 long courses in the middle of nowhere. The views and the contrast between the green of the fairways, the yellow of the desert and the white of the snowy mountains are simply spectacular.
The resort belongs to the Paiute tribe, recognised as sovereign almost 100 years ago, and the course designs are by the famous Pete Dye. They are not always the easiest but the fairways are generous and without surprises. It is important to get your putting and short game up to scratch.
If you are only going to play once, and you have the whole day, I would definitely recommend a trip to Wolf Creek.
This course, famous for its location in the desert, offers a unique course with iconic holes. A quick search on any search engine will bring up photos that make you want to just see them in real life.
In addition, you can now practice before you go and get to know the holes perfectly: on the WGT online gaming platform, the Wolf Creek course is reproduced down to the last detail and will make your experience on the course even more unique!
A list of golf in Vegas can never be complete, but I can't conclude this quick review without mentioning Top Golf! Plus it can be an ideal complement to the course if you've been left wanting to play some more!
It was the first "signature" facility of the Topgolf group as we know it now: course obviously, but also food, pool, concerts, live sport, disco and music! It's also a perfect plan to go with non-golfers ( they'll like it for sure!), no need for it to be during the day, and it won't take up as many hours as going to play on a golf course.
It is best to go in the evening as the atmosphere is totally transformed and you will really understand what golf means to its audience: fun, friends, laughter, and if possible some good shots! Forget about the "please be quiet" sign!
The idea is not to "hit balls", but to have dinner or a drink, and play a few games along the way. All the balls are microchipped and the digital targets collect all the hits, the good ones and the bad ones!
It is recommended to go with a group of at least 4 people (up to 12 sharing 2 places) and to book in advance so you don't end up waiting in line for a long time.
Enjoy golf in Las Vegas!
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