Aliante Golf Club in North Las Vegas: Improvements and challenges galore

By Bill Bowman, Contributor

NORTH LAS VEGAS -- Welcome to the new Aliante Golf Club.

18 Holes | Resort | Par: 72 | 7022 yards
Aliante Golf Club - 15th hole
Under Troon management since 2012, Aliante Golf Club has improved steadily.
Aliante Golf Club - 15th holeAliante Golf Club - 5th holeAliante Golf Club - 4th holeAliante Golf Club - 3rd

This Gary Panks design, which opened in 2003, stretches to 7,022 yards from the tips. The course winds through a community in northwest Las Vegas and is your typical neighborhood course -- playable and challenging.

But Tim Yavello, general manager at Aliante, is looking to get the course more in the rangefinder of every golfer -- locals or visitors.

"Troon Golf took over as the course manager in 2012," Yavello said. "And in the time since they took over, we have drastically improved quality of service, the golf course conditions and the quality of the food. We're looking to drive a lot more business to the course."

Plenty of challenges await at Aliante

Players will find challenges galore at Aliante. From start to finish, arroyos slice through the course, so players need to be sure to check the distances of shots ahead of them before pulling a club.

"Aliante is indicative of a welcome, refreshing change that in the past 15 or so years has put true golf into the courses of so-called retirement communities, in Vegas and beyond," said Ken Van Vechten, a central California coast-based writer who travels to play often in Las Vegas. "If you want fun and intrigue, look here. Designer Gary Panks infused the joint freely with kinks, vertical waves, crossing arroyos and a fair bit of trouble; hey, it's not supposed to be a pushover game."

Two water features come into play on the course and trees are strategically planted around the layout.

After a pair of straightaway opening par 4s, the first real test comes at Aliante Golf Club's par-5 third. Reaching 555 yards from the tips (the rough and the arroyos have a tendency to swallow golf balls and inflate scores), this hole is a fine risk/reward challenge. An arroyo slices through the fairway some 300 yards off the tee, so fire away if you're playing from the tips. Be careful from the other sets of tees, however, because landing in the arroyo will definitely leave players scrambling for par. A trio of bunkers just short and a larger bunker on the left guard the green.

"The third is a very strategic hole," Yavello said. "Players can hit driver, or less, off the tee and get home in two … if they hit the fairway. It's a great chance for players to score early."

Later in the round comes one of the toughest tests around. The par-3 13th reaches a knee-knocking 233 yards from the tips. There's a bunker directly in front of the green, so players need to fly the shots all the way to the green.

"It's a long hole and it's well bunkered," Yavello said. "It's my favorite par 3 because it's a very challenging hole and just plain tough."

The 17th is one of the more scenic holes on the course. At 420 yards, it's not a long par 4 and the landing area is very generous. That sets up a short iron (or even a wedge) into a green that is guarded left and long by a pond as well as three large bunkers. To say accuracy is a must on the approach is an understatement. Birdie is a possibility, but errant shots can certainly bring in those unwanted large numbers.

Overall, hitting fairways is the key to the round at Aliante G.C. And while they are wide in most instances, the rough comes up pretty abruptly.

"You'll find yourself with challenging lies in the rough and the arroyos do come into play all the time," Yavello said. "So accuracy off the tee is a must."

Plenty of variety in the clubhouse at Aliante

The Aliante clubhouse and golf shop feature what every golfer wants -- variety.

In the clubhouse, the options are varied -- from clubs to shoes to clothing to those little knick-knacks we always forget (lip balm, sunscreen, glove).

The Mondell Pine Restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and has enough menu options to satisfy every appetite. Whether it's just a quick bite before or after the round or a leisurely meal, you'll find great service and stunning views, including an uninterrupted look at the Sheep Mountain Range.

Aliante Golf Club: The verdict

Aliante Golf Club may have been lost in the shuffle as the economy hurt many courses, but it has not only weathered the trying times, but it's also coming back strong.

"We're trying to make ourselves more of a resort-style course," Yavello said. "We're working on getting this facility back to being very relevant in the Las Vegas golf market."

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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