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Fairways to Heaven

Backyard Golf Course Owners Find There's No Place Like Home
Larry Olmsted
From the Print Edition:
Pierce Brosnan, Nov/Dec 97

(continued from page 5)

Tour True Turf Technologies (Irving Bookspan)
U.S. Indoor Golf
384 Oyster Point Boulevard - Suite 14
South San Francisco, California 94080 (415) 244-0690 --LO SHADOW CREEK COURSE: Now Open For Business

It has been called the most exclusive golf course in the world. Augusta National? Cypress Point? Pine Valley?

No, Shadow Creek.

You couldn't get more private. Since it opened in 1989, the only way to play the golf course, a tropical wonderland hidden amid otherwise desolate North Las Vegas scrubland, was to be invited. No problem, right? Just find a member to take you--like you might at Augusta.

Shadow Creek, however, has only one "member": Steve Wynn, the chairman of Mirage Resorts. If you wanted to snare a coveted invitation, you had to be a management employee at one of the company's Las Vegas casino properties, a fully "comped" high roller, or household-name famous. Period. The usual golf course interlopers--journalists, corporate heavy hitters, persistent relatives--simply had to learn to take "No" for an answer.

Shadow Creek, consistently ranked as one of the top 10 courses in America, was a private playground, reserved for an elite, anointed few. (See Cigar Aficionado, Autumn 1994.)

Until now.

To the delight of golf fanatics everywhere, Shadow Creek is now open to limited--very limited--public play. Here's the deal: For $1,000, a guest may purchase one of six to 12 tee times available each day. (Availability is contingent on the number of invited guests, and the season and day of the week. High-season weekends are the most difficult time to get a reservation.) The fee includes a caddie to escort you around the 6,701-yard game preserve masquerading as a golf course, round-trip limousine transportation to and from the club, and a suite at The Mirage, Treasure Island or Golden Nugget. One other player, staying in the same suite, may participate for an additional $500.

Whether this hefty tariff is a good value depends on your priorities. To those who want to play an immaculate, startlingly beautiful course-- which very few have ever played--and do so in the company of the rich and famous--the price may seem like a bargain.

A night at Pebble Beach and a round of golf the next morning costs around $750--and there you get the privilege of paying an additional fee for range balls and waiting 30 minutes at the eighth tee for the bottleneck to clear. After a six-hour round filled with a lot of standing around, you start to wonder, is it worth it?

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