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Desert Flower

Jeff Williams
From the Print Edition:
Rudy Giuliani, Nov/Dec 01

(continued from page 2)

Cascata is more true to its desert surroundings, if you can call 100-plus acres of grass and waterfalls true to a desert. But there has been no attempt to mask its surroundings, and every attempt to glory in them. Not a single tree comes into play. "I think the people who play it are struck by the site," says Jones. "It's very special that you get to do something like this. It was a tremendous challenge, but I believe it turned out well and is doing what it was intended to do."

The hope is that the $60 million spent on Cascata will attract even more money to the gambling tables of Park Place Entertainment. For the very high rollers, Cascata is one leg of a very expensive golf outing for about 30 players. After playing at Cascata, they are flown by luxury private jet to the Monterey Peninsula of California, where they play Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill. The company has also held a tournament for 144 players at Cascata, which has a large tournament room in the clubhouse for serving gala dinners and handing out the prizes.

Park Place went so far as to hand-deliver special invitations to play Cascata to customers and potential customers in the Far East. "It's been making some pretty good impressions on the Far East customers," says LaPorta. "We see people coming back and telling us they did so because of the course. Everybody I take out there -- investors, casino analysts -- wants to go back. Based on the increased level of play we've had in our casinos, it has justified our investment in the course."

Cascata has no plans to sell tee times, nor any intentions of building housing around the course. The entire site is 800 acres, and there are unconfirmed reports that PPE eventually will build a second course farther down the mountain that will be open on a daily fee basis. But the long-term plans are to guard the privacy of Cascata and its exclusive group of players.

And to make sure that the coyote and the crow have a place to play tag.

The Shadow Knows

MGM's golf course was the first high-roller enclave in Las Vegas

In the supercharged competitive world of Las Vegas hotels, everyone is looking for a hook. Every hotel executive is looking to attract the biggest players, the six-figure guys, the seven-figure whales. It could be a private jet ride into town, an extravagant suite with a butler or a personal gaming room. No matter what the bankroll, the odds are still with the house, and the house wants you to know how appreciative it is.

Steve Wynn sought different hooks when he founded the Mirage hotel. He put a volcano out front to entertain the teeming masses. And he had another idea, a highly successful, unique idea. He spent the better part of $40 million to build one of the most talked about, and least played, golf courses in America. He created Shadow Creek.

Opened in November of 1989, Shadow Creek was Wynn's private club, his sanctuary and his hook. He knew that high rollers, particularly from the Far East, found golf compelling. So he set about building, with golf course architect Tom Fazio, a mirage in the middle of the desert and a gem that would sparkle around the stratosphere of the gambling world. The course felt like a tree-lined, green paradise nestled somewhere in the Northwest, only it was in Las Vegas. It was the ultimate casino amenity, and one that has proved tremendously successful, even though Shadow Creek isn't as exclusive as it used to be and Steve Wynn doesn't control it anymore.

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