The Greatest Greens
Less than 20 years ago, first-rate Las Vegas courses were scant, but today the area boasts some of the country's best golf experiences
From the Print Edition:
Vegas, Mar/Apr 2006
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Dye's Wolf Course is a bear, so to speak. It's 7,604 yards from the tournament tees with a hefty course rating of 76.3 and a hefty slope rating of 149. If you really are intent on beating yourself up, play from the back, but for some enjoyment play the yellow tees (OK, so you are chickening out) at a little less than 6,500 yards. Just so you know it's a Pete Dye course, the par-3 15th has an island green. It can be windy all year and chilly in the winter here, but all the courses are well-kept and finely detailed.
Resort, Lakes Course
Primm Valley Lakes is Shadow Creek for those on a budget, minus the exclusivity. Primm is a casino exit off Interstate 15 about 40 minutes south of the Strip. But you won't find the Lakes and Desert golf courses attached to Whiskey Pete's or Buffalo Bill's. You have to go another four miles-plus over the California state line to get to the courses. The fact that they are located over the state line allowed Tom Fazio to design both courses at Primm, which angered Steve Wynn. Wynn's contract with Fazio for Shadow Creek didn't allow him to design another course in Nevada for anyone other than Steve Wynn.
At Primm Lakes you get a sense of what Shadow Creek is like for less than a third of the price. Fazio being Fazio, there is drama all about. A lake and stream system comes into play on 11 holes. Lots of pines (fast-growing for instant maturity) come into play and block off views of many adjoining holes as well as the nearby interstate. Primm is another favorite for conventioneers and, like Paiute, it's best to call ahead for a tee time. If the Lakes is chockablock with an outing, the Desert Course is a more than acceptable alternative.
TPC at Summerlin
The Tournament Players Club at Summerlin is a private club and home to the PGA Tour's annual Las Vegas event, whatever it seems to be called these days. It's conveniently located less than a half hour northwest of the Strip, and if your credit line is sufficient, your casino host can likely arrange for you to play here. There's a better chance to play here than at Southern Highlands.
The TPC at Summerlin, a design by Bobby Weed and Champions Tour player Fuzzy Zoeller, is a fetching course that's always in great shape. While the Tour pros tear it up during the tournament, it's pretty challenging for the average guy. The designers appropriately incorporated the desert terrain, with the typical carries over washes and arroyos and a rash of mesquite trees, but you will also find almost 100 acres of lush Bermuda grass The hole corridors are wide and the greens large. A very pleasant place to spend a few hours away from the casino.
Jeff Williams is the golf columnist for Cigar Aficionado.
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