At Aliante Golf Club in North Las Vegas, variety is the name of the game

By Bill Bowman, Contributor

NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- When you talk about golf in Las Vegas, the choices are endless. You've got tropical layouts, you've got desert designs, you've got courses with all the bells and whistles.

18 Holes | Resort | Par: 72 | 7022 yards
Aliante Golf Club - 5th tee
Aliante Golf Club, a Gary Panks design, sits just 25 minutes north of the Las Vegas Strip.
Aliante Golf Club - 5th teeAliante Golf Club - no. 4Aliante Golf Club - 4th holeAliante Golf Club - 18th hole

But when it comes to what golfers really want (especially in Las Vegas), it's simple -- a good round of golf at a course with plenty of variety at an affordable price.

Aliante Golf Club fits the bill perfectly.

Aliante has been on the scene (and behind the scenes) since 2003. Now owned by City of North Las Vegas and managed by Troon Golf, the Gary Panks design is situated in northeast Vegas. The course, just 25 minutes north of the Strip, winds seamlessly in and around the Sun City Aliante community.

At 7,022 yards from the tips, it's all the test the scratch golfer can want. But with four sets of tees, it sets up well for golfers of any ability -- including beginners.

And Aliante doesn't forget the kids. The course is a host facility for First Tee programs, and there are family tees that give players a course that measure 2,633 yards.

If you haven't been to the course in awhile -- or have never teed it up here -- it's time.

Aliante Golf Club: On the course

There is water on only two holes at Aliante, no. 11 and no. 17. That's the good news. The bad news (well, not really bad -- challenging is a more appropriate choice of words) is there's an arroyo that slices and dices through 14 holes.

Be aware of the arroyo as it may come into play on a tee shot on one hole (watch out when pulling that driver) and on fronting a green on another hole (don't be short with that approach shot). Add in nicely located trees and strategically placed bunkers, and this course is anything but a pushover. Make sure you use the course layout card to help keep yourself out of trouble.

"Knowing the arroyo areas of the course is a must to score well," Head Professional Paul Cox said. "The course map (included with your scorecard) will let players know where they need to hit shots."

The four par 5s are where players can take advantage of scoring opportunities. But play them smart -- don't forget that menacing arroyo.

Ranging in length from 526 yards to 555 yards (from the tips), big hitters can take a shot at getting home in two. For the rest of us mortals, a tee shot that finds the fairway, a smart layup to a good yardage and a flag-hunting wedge can set up four birdie attempts.

On the other end of the spectrum are a couple of the par 3s (no. 6 on the front at 194 yards and no. 13 on the back at a whopping 223 yards) that are as challenging as they are good looking. The other two par 3s (no. 4 at 155 yards and no. 15 at 135 yards) put short irons in players' hands and balance out the two PGA Tour-length holes.

"The par 3s out here are quite different," said resident Vincent Hui. "They have good variety to them, but you need to be careful of the bunkers. On the rest of the course, the fairways are pretty wide and will let you hit the driver."

There are a pair of par 4s that are fine risk/reward holes. The fifth and 16th holes both play less than 360 yards from the tips, putting players in the go-zone if they find the fairway off the tee. The further players move up on the tee box, they will have the option of pulling out the driver and trying to drive the green.

For Matt Hornyak and his buddies, it's a course they have played most Saturdays for the past two and a half years.

"It's a nice course, and it's challenging," said Hornyak, who lives about a driver and five-iron from the course. "It's definitely a good course to help me improve my game."

Aliante: In the clubhouse

Whether it is food or supplies, the necessities are here. The Mondell Pine Restaurant's breakfast options (bacon, sausage, eggs, pancakes, omelets and other favorites) will let players fuel up before the round.

After the round or at the turn, grab lunch -- from burgers to hot dogs to wraps to sandwiches. There are also items you might not expect including quesadillas, fish tacos, wings and nachos.

The pro shop can help you stock those basics, and there are also instruction packages available.

Aliante Golf Club: The verdict

It's simple: Aliante is a course where players will find 18 unique holes, each with its own challenge (don't forget the arroyo).

The pace of play is four hours and will allow golfers to enjoy the day on the course and still have plenty of time to check out everything else Las Vegas has to offer.

Bill BowmanBill Bowman, Contributor

Bill Bowman is a Las Vegas-based writer who has more than 40 years in the sports-writing business. He's spent the past 16-plus years covering the golf scene in Vegas and has teed it up for magazine profiles with celebrities including comedian Bill Engvall, actor Jeffrey Donovan (USA's Burn Notice), ESPN personality Colin Cowherd, NASCAR's Kurt Busch, Collective Soul's Ed Roland, the Baltimore Ravens' Jonathan Ogden and many others.

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