Golfing in Las Vegas:
Las Vegas may be a mecca for gambling and nightlife, but in the day many golfers converge on this great city to play golf in the desert. I have been a part of several "guys golfing trips" to Vegas over the past few years and we have had a chance to play a lot of the courses. Some are clearly overpriced while others offer a "good value". The good part of playing golf in Las Vegas is that you can expect sunny weather and temperatures that are comfortable. We went about 2 years ago in December and played in brisk conditions, but the wind was really the worst part. The sun was out so we weren't going to freeze, but it was not what I had expected for Vegas. The real question is how many courese do you want to play? How much is your budget for golf? Will you have 4 players? 8? What is the playing ability of everyone?
We have started to venture out more beyond the local Las Vegas golf courses and play at places like Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort which has 3 courses to choose from - Snow Mountain, Sun Mountain, and the Wolf. Paiute is a little north of the strip, but worth the 40 minute drive or so. You can barely even notice the courses off to your right as you approach them Hwy 95. The 3 courses are well hidden but they offer up some exciting golf. If you venture down south a bit from Vegas you can also play the 2 courses Primm Valley Golf Club (Lakes Course and Desert Course). Of course staying in town to play is not a bad idea, but the green fees may surprise you a bit if you have never played golf before in Las Vegas. Just like the shows at night, golf can easily exceed $100/round and in some cases you are going to be paying $200 or more for golf. After a few bad experiences at places like Desert Pines ($120 green fee) I started searching for better golf deals on the outskirts of Vegas and I believe the golf is better. Sure you have some courses like Bali Hai, Rio Secco, and Royal Links Golf Club that get outstanding reviews from almost all that play, but too many of the courses are overpriced for what you get. We did a trip to Mesquite last year and had a great time playing courses that are beautiful and for the most part cheaper than those found in Vegas. We highly recommend playing Wolf Creek out in Mesquite ($180/round), it's an incredible experience that you won't soon forget. Back to Las Vegas, if the group you are planning on playing with is just a bunch of weekend hackers, don't spend $150/each just to be miserable on a difficult course. Enjoy your stay and relax while playing on courses like Badlands Golf Club, Black Mountain Golf, and Arroyo at Red Rock. If you are a serious golfer with lots of cash, consider Shadow Creek, the vintage Fazio course which is about 20 minutes from the Vegas Strip. Lots of celebrities play this course.
Best Golf Courses in Vegas:
If you want courses with lush, green fairways and neatly manicured bunkers and greens, you will pay for it in Vegas. The top courses per several reputable sources are The Falls Golf Club at Lake Las Vegas
, Reflection Bay at Lake Las Vegas
, and the Wolf Course at Paiute Resort
. I have played the Wolf at Paiute several times and it's an incredible Pete Dye course with an island green and difficult playing conditions since the wind blows pretty hard on the course. The last time I played at Paiute it was about 45 MPH winds and sunny weather. Closer to the strip there is Bali Hai, a top rated course, but a little too close to all the action for me. Royal Links is a fun course with holes that copy those found at Turnberry, Royal Troon, and St. Andrews. The bunkers are tough, much like those found on courses at the British Open, but overall the play is fair. Lastly, we feel that Rio Secco is a gem in the desert. Designed by Rees Jones, the course is long and very challenging. You can find a good list of top courses listed
. Now that I have played the Wolf Creek course out in Mesquite (about 80 miles northeast of Vegas), I would HIGHLY recommend taking the time one day and make the drive out there. The course is majestic and thrilling to play. Unlike almost any other course you have ever played. Rates are about $180/round in May.
Which Courses to Avoid:
Vegas has a lot of hype built around it and it's not just with the casinos and gambling. For some reason when people to go Las Vegas they are expecting to blow $100's on shows, food, gambling, and it appears golf can be added to that list. Golf courses around your local area probably run from $30 to $60 per round, so why should the courses in Vegas have you paying $100 to $200 per round? I for one have been jaded after playing a few rounds near the strip and I refuse to pay high green fees just for the convenience of playing within a few miles of my hotel. I have found that Desert Pines is an over rated course that lies in a bad part of town with major roads running just on the other side of the fence on certain tee boxes. The course is not up to par compared to others I have played. A group of 8 of us played at Desert Pines and when we were warming up we thought the automatic ball placement system at the driving range was cool. After the round, though, all 8 of us said we were disappointed with the course for the price. Another course in my opinion that is worth avoiding is Siena Golf Club. A few of my friends actually live in Vegas and tried this Summerlin course but were disappointed - too many bunkers and the course is young (opened in 2000) and needs to mature a bit.
Packages Deals with Hotels:
Walters Golf runs the Bali Hai, Royal Links, and Desert Pines courses and offers some special golf packages online at Waltersgolf.com
. They offer up 2 nights accommodations at either Hooters Hotel or the Mandalay Bay Resort and 2 rounds of golf. The rates start at about $500 (offseason) and go up accordingly. Rio Secco is a sought after golf course located in Henderson, NV and it also offers the Butch Harmon School of Golf if you want to get lessons. Green fees at Rio Secco in January are about $175 per round but go up over $200 in certain parts of the year. They will setup custom golf packages if you have 12 or more golfers. Cascata is the name of the other course next to Rio Secco. You can sometimes find deals online at Riolasvegas.com
. The best site for Las Vegas golf packages is at Lasvegasgolf.com/packages
- they have best selection of hotels, golf courses, and dates available. You can read up on course reviews, see the current promotions, and reserve tee times online. We have done a package deal through Paiute Golf which lets you stay on the strip - Wynn, Venetian, Santa Fe Station, etc. and choose from their 3 golf courses.