Luxurious homes, spectacular spas and the privileges of a private sanctuary add spice to golf vacations
From the Print Edition:
Francis Ford Coppola, Sept/Oct 03
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The project is being developed by The Pivotal Group of Phoenix. Chief Executive Officer Francis Najafi defines The Promontory's concept as "bohemian bourgeoisie." By that, he means elegant but comfortable, classy but not stuffy.
"We have tried to encompass the perception of Utah as being crisp, clean, and a place where people cherish the outdoors and their families," says Najafi. "We are very careful about how we go about utilizing the land. We want to maintain the integrity of the landscape while we create a legacy for our members."
Lake Las Vegas, Henderson, Nevada
Now here's a novel concept—escape from Las Vegas by actually going there. It's true. It can be done. In less than a half hour's drive from Las Vegas's McCarran International Airport, you can distance yourself from the neon jungle and find yourself in a watercolor setting with glorious golf, a lake full of fish, and the sun dancing off the waters of a 300-acre lake (artificial, of course. Hey, it's Las Vegas.)
Lake Las Vegas is a blending of the pristine and the man-made, a place of craggy pinnacles where bighorn sheep roam, and acres of lush fairways where the well-heeled roam. Lake Las Vegas has three golf courses, two designed by Jack Nicklaus and one by Tom Weiskopf. Reflection Bay is Nicklaus's course for the resort, next to the Hyatt Regency Hotel Lake Las Vegas. His other course is South Shore, for members only; membership costs $125,000. Weiskopf's Falls Course is open to the public but, like Reflection Bay, has a membership component.
There are grand homes, with the average price of a custom job around $2 million, but there are manses that are quadruple that figure. Celine Dion, an avid golfer, has a home here. There are condos, a village, a marina and, of course, the lake, which took eight years to fill and was completed in 1998. It's all meant to take on the appearance of Lake Como in the Italian province of Lombardy, which is what inspired R. F. Boeddeker to do this project to begin with. Boeddeker, the president and chairman of Transcontinental Properties, visited Lake Como in the early 1980s, and in 1986 he made his first visit to this rugged land south and east of the Las Vegas Strip. "I had been to Lake Como, and the way the terrain is, with the massive canyon, I could see that you could create a Mediterranean setting here. The geographic layout suggested everything to me."
And the location, near the gambling, entertainment and culinary delights of the Strip, was almost too good. "There are 38 million visitors to Las Vegas every year, but there wasn't a resort in the classic sense here, not like Palm Springs or Scottsdale," says Boeddeker.
The Reflection Bay and South Shore Courses play down to the lakeside, while The Falls Course occupies the higher ground and a view of Las Vegas 17 miles away. A fourth course by Tom Fazio is in the works, connected with a 100-acre expansion of the lake. A total of six courses may be built.
Golf was an essential component of the development from the beginning. Dr. Augustus Tagliaferri is a member of the board of directors for Lake Las Vegas and helps oversee the real estate development. "There was a very substantial market for golf in the beginning of this project and it is still very significant today," says Dr. Tag. "So many of the kind of people who live here want the availability of golf. But it has been quite interesting to see that people who have come here for golf discover that the place is about so much more. I try to tell the salespeople here that we don't sell shelter. We are selling a way of life."
For those who seek it, there are places for golf that are out of the ordinary and certainly out of the way. While the best designers have created splendid, even magical courses, golf is not the only thing. It is part of the greater landscape of lifestyle, one where the finer things in life and the absolute basics come together. These are places you can stay when you simply want to get away from it all.
Jeff Williams is a sportswriter for Newsday on Long Island.
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