Bali Hai Golf Club: Your chance to play a different game on the Las Vegas Strip
LAS VEGAS -- It's hard to believe that Bali Hai Golf Club, located on the south end of the famed Las Vegas Strip, is well over a decade old. But like a fine wine, it gets better with age.
The Lee Schmidt-Brian Curley design offers a par-71 trip through a South Pacific-themed paradise. Playing 7,002 yards from the tips, Bali Hai Golf Club challenges golfers to keep their focus on playing golf. From start to finish, its deep-blue ponds, brilliant white-sand bunkers, lush foliage and majestic palm trees serve to visually stimulate and provide severe tests as players wind around the golf course.
The layout starts with a gimme, a short par-4 that plays 341 yards from the tips. A 3-wood or hybrid off the tee allows for a simple wedge into the green. This is a great chance at birdie to open your round. But take advantage here, because your golf round is about to get a whole lot tougher.
Bali Hai features long par 4s (five measure more than 450 yards), challenging par 3s (three are water-laden and long) and perfectly placed hazards. It makes for a memorable round of golf.
The final three holes provide the toughest test. The 16th, a par 3 of just 141 yards, plays to an island green. And with the Cili Restaurant behind the green, don't be surprised to find a gallery as you search for the right club to ensure your ball finds land.
That sets the stage for a tough finishing, two-hole punch. The 17th and 18th holes, both par 4s, measure 484 and 486 yards, respectively. Welcome to PGA Tour-type length. The 17th plays uphill with a swale in the center of the green that adds to the difficulty of putting.
The 18th, named Kuda Bay, presents an amazing finish. Grip it and rip it off the tee, but hit the fairway. The approach shot has it all -- a lush, huge green and a pond to the right that laps up to a beach-sized bunker guarding the green.
Walk away with par here and you deserve a pat on the back. Put a birdie on the scorecard and you're ready for The Tour.
Mike Sullivan and his son, Casey, recently visited Bali Hai Golf Club, their fourth golf course in as many days on a trip from Lone Pine, Calif.
"I really like the layout," Casey said. "It's a very nice course."
Mike described it as "the toughest of the four we played and also the prettiest."
"We will definitely be back," he said.
Ed Cebulko, a Las Vegan who has played Bali Hai many times, said the looks keep him coming back -- in addition to the golf test.
"The aesthetics here are just great," Cebulko said. "It's a beautiful course with a neat, exotic look. And it's a challenging course.”
Bali Hai Golf Club: The name game
The big names have all teed it up at Bali Hai Golf Club. How big? Try Presidents Clinton and Obama. How about athletes? Julius Erving, Jerome Bettis and Greg Maddux. Actors? Samuel L. Jackson, Adam Sandler and Ray Romano. Singers? Justin Timberlake, Garth Brooks and U2. The list goes on and on, so you're in great company when you play at Bali Hai.
Bali Hai after the round
Cili. Like so many other big-name restaurants, this will expand your dining-in-paradise experience. Whether it's dinner, for groups of 15 or more, or a business lunch, you can take it indoors or out, and Cili will exceed your expectations. In Vegas, that's no easy task. For a burger, prime-rib dip or a lobster cobb salad, prepare to be dazzled. For more information, visit www.cili.com .
In the Bali Hai pro shop
A consistent award-winner from golf publications around the world, the Bali Hai Golf Club pro shop features Tommy Bahama, Hugo Boss, Bobby Jones and many more. You'll find it all here, from logo golf balls to hats or sunscreen. Didn't bring your clubs or shoes? No problem. They stock rentals -- clubs by Callaway and shoes by FootJoy.
Caddies at Bali Hai Golf Club
Caddies add to the experience with their vast knowledge of the fairways and greens. No matter your golf handicap, these guys can help shave strokes and make your visit that much more enjoyable.
Bali Hai Golf Club: The verdict
Play it. It's that simple. Schmidt and Curley designed a masterpiece on the Las Vegas Strip. Arrive at the 18th hole around sunset and watch the Strip come to life before your eyes. It's the end of a great round of golf -- and leads players to the beginning of a great night in Las Vegas.