Las Vegas :: Never a gamble for golf

2015 01 Tpc Las Vegas

Las Vegas is famous for many things: gambling, Elvis impersonators, drive-through weddings, The Hangover… the list goes on.

Golf? Not so much. But that’s starting to change. The ‘Capital of Second Chances’ is taking the opportunity to establish itself as one of America’s most exciting, more alluring, and most appealing golf destinations.

Sure, it doesn’t have as many courses as, say, Florida, Arizona, or the California coast, but what Vegas lacks in quantity, it more than makes up for in terms of quality.
As good a public course as you are likely to play in America, TPC Las Vegas is also fairly good value for money.

As you might expect from a city where money is seemingly no object, it appears as though no expense has been spared in making the courses in Vegas every bit as good as they ought to be. And it shows.

TPC Las Vegas, above, is a good example of that. A lush, green, oasis surrounded by desert scrubland, and with the Red Rock Canyon as a backdrop, it is rightly considered one of the finest places to play in the whole of the US, never mind Nevada. The par-4 13th has gained some notoriety for its ‘risk/reward’ attributes - a concept that pretty well encapsulates the spirit of Vegas. As good a public course as you are likely to play in America, it is also fairly good value for money.

TPC Summerlin

Another TPC course in Vegas is Summerlin, above. The host of the PGA Tour’s Shriners Open. Interestingly, this was the site of Tiger Woods’ first professional victory in 1996.

Regarded by many as the top private course in Nevada, it is located just a matter of minutes from the Las Vegas Strip and meanders through arroyos and canyons. Lush bentgrass greens, striking flora, numerous water features and an abundance of honey mesquite and pine trees all contrast dramatically with undisturbed desert washes and other raw landscape features to make an aesthetically striking, challenging test of golf.
Royal Links offers a little bit of Scotland in the heart of Las Vegas.

The brilliantly-named Desert Hawk and Coyote Run courses at Boulder Creek Golf Club are also worth visiting, as are the exceptional Badlands, Stallion Mountain, Desert Pines and Aliante courses. Cascata, meanwhile, is a favourite of Nevada resident and top coach Butch Harmon - but it’s not exactly cheap!

The quirky Royal Links should be on the itinerary, too. Designed by Perry Dye in the late 1990s, it faithfully recreates 18 of the best holes from 11 different Open Rota courses, including the ‘Road Hole’ and ‘Postage Stamp’. It offers a little bit of Scotland in the heart of Vegas.

There are no two ways about it: the gambling haven of Las Vegas will make every golfer’s heart flutter.

Six tips to make the most of your visit to Las Vegas

1 Dress for comfort

Temperatures in Vegas can top 45°C in the summer, so take some short-sleeved shirts and shorts if you’re planning on playing golf.

2 Stay hydrated

Drinking plenty of water when you’re out in the heat for prolonged periods of time is always recommended but that goes double if you’ve been having it large the night before - and it’s Vegas, so you probably have. Don’t drink straight from the tap, either. Not unless you want ‘Nevada tummy’.

3 Wear sun cream

Even if your skin takes the sun well, it’s recommended that you wear cream with an SPF of between 30 and 50. And make sure you apply it regularly through your round as sweat washes it off. A good pair of sunglasses is recommended, too, particularly ones with a UV coating.

4 Hire a buggy

It’s hot, your bag is heavy, and you’re going to clock up around five miles walking. Do yourself a favour and take a load off by hiring a buggy. Most of the top courses offer them and they are well worth the money.

5 Get a late tee time

Many clubs offer twilight rates to cater for those who want to stay up into the wee small hours. Plus, a later tee time means you avoid playing in the sweltering heat of the midday sun.

6 Avoid visiting in early September

Many courses shut down for a few days to over-seed their fairways around this time so you might find your preferred layouts are unavailable.

Las Vegas :: Your experiences

Have you ever been to Las Vegas on a golf break? If so, share your tips and favourite courses in our 'Comments' section below.

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