Plan of attack: How to play The Arroyo Golf Club at Red Rock at Summerlin
LAS VEGAS -- Arnold Palmer left his mark on the golf scene around the world -- and Las Vegas is no different, with The The Arroyo Golf Club at Red Rock.
Nestled in Summerlin, Arroyo Golf Club's lush ribbons of fairways lead golfers on a journey that meanders over and around rugged terrain while offering stunning views of Las Vegas as well as tremendous golf challenges. It's a course golfers will feel comfortable playing, but a course where they can't fall asleep, as arroyos, bunkers and water will team up to catch errant shots. It's Palmer at his finest and a course that will provide as many tests as it does scenic snapshots.
Here's a given: The first seven holes, as well as the par 3s, at Arroyo G.C. will definitely make players think shot by shot.
"I think the first seven holes at Arroyo are probably one of the most difficult stretches of holes in most of the valley," said Thom Blinkinsop, regional general manager. "The first hole you need three good shots, the second is an uphill par 4 that usually plays into the wind, the third is a long par 3 with water coming into play."
Well, you get the picture. So beware. Start out strong here and you can score well.
Playing well early will set the stage for some of the longest, most beautiful and most intriguing holes around. The third hole (186 yards), the seventh (215 yards) and the 12th (238 yards) are all brutes from the back tees. It's the seventh that will be the toughest of these early tests. And not just because of the length. No. 7 itself plays from an elevated tee some 100 feet above a green with a pond lapping up to the right side. There's also a bunker short-right and one to the left so take care when pulling a club.
Arroyo Golf Club at Red Rock's back nine
Starting the back nine is another challenging hole, especially from the back tees. The par-4 10th, reaching 414 yards, is intimidating on the tee.
"You're hitting over a pond and can only see a sliver of fairway," said Blinkinsop. "Then, if you find the fairway, you can't mishit your second shot or you're likely to end up in an arroyo."
Play the second shot just short, as the green slopes from back to front. And these are some greens.
"These greens are very large," Blinkinsop said. "You've got to be on the proper level or three putts are definitely possible. Then you've got the mountain (putts break away from them) and Strip (putts break to them) to consider when you're putting so it can be a challenge."
Par 5s usually aren't holes where players need to be careful, but the 533-yard 15th -- at least with the tee shot -- has danger written all over it. The carry of 230 yards over water off the tee is a must (from the back tees).
If players carry the pond, there's still the problem of the fairway narrowing with a bunker on either side. If that's not enough, two more huge bunkers guard the front of the green making big hitters' chances of getting home in two just a little tougher. It's a golf hole where birdie (or even eagle) is a great possibility -- if players are careful.
On the attack at Arroyo
Arroyo G.C. definitely has holes players can attack -- but, that doesn't mean you can just grab the driver and go for it. Players must have a plan of attack and, most importantly, stick to it.
The first hole, while players need to be careful, is a prime example. It's a long par-5 reaching 580 yards. But two fairway bunkers off the tee can come into play and with the length, in most cases it's a definite three-shot hole, so make those three shots perfect. If you're a straighter driver with a 3-wood, hit it off the tee and then lay up with the second shot to perfect short-iron distance for the third shot to a green with bunkers on three sides.
It's the same with the par-4 eighth and ninth holes. Both play less than 400 yards (396 and 368 yards, respectively), so both are definite birdie holes with two solid shots. But again, bunkers will come into play without accurate shots -- both off the tee and into the green.
That's three holes on the front where players can score well -- if they play it smart.
As with many of his designs, Palmer has given players options throughout the round at The Arroyo Golf Club at Red Rock and that's always the sign of a course you'll want to play again and again -- because you'll want to explore other options of playing many of the golf holes.
March 3, 2011