Desert Pines Golf Club: A sort of deserty, piney golf paradise, Las Vegas style
LAS VEGAS -- Desert Pines Golf Club, a perky Dye design about 15 minutes from the Strip, is among the most visually pleasing layouts in Las Vegas.
The Walters Golf course features smoothly wrought earthworks piled up into lovely humps and mounds, some of which are decorated with Dye's signature railroad tie bunkers.
It's not unlike Dye's work at Harbour Town Golf Links, with thousands of mature pines lining the fairways and blocking the wind. Except that instead of a lighthouse in the background you've got a casino skyline backed by dusky mountains.
In most cases when the guys in the golf shop tell you the greens are rolling at a 10 you may discover that they mean "10 minutes." But that's not true at Walters Golf facilities, where short-game artistry and control of the flat stick will serve players well on slick greens.
Desert Pines Golf Club: The course
Narrow fairways define Desert Pines from the start but are slightly offset by canted edges that may nudge mishit shots back toward the short grass.
The 195-yard second hole requires the shaping skills of a sculptor to bring the ball into the green from right to left over a mound that protects the putting surface the way the tigers (most of them) protected Sigfried and Roy.
Water comes into play on the second shot of the third hole -- a reachable par 5 with a waste bunker along the left side and water lurking to the right. Risk-reward options emerge soon afterward, as do elevated greens, doglegs, ridged and tiered putting surfaces, and other subtle challenges you may miss if you've been spending too much time chatting up the lovely beverage cart hostess of if you've hired one of the Parmates to caddie for your group.
The back nine opens with a 372-yarder named "Valley of Fire," a short par 4 with a crowned green that will make you king of the hill if you can two-putt. It's followed by a short par 3 with a pesky pot bunker blocking your view of the green.
You'll only find one par 5 on the back – at No. 13. A fairway slope that kicks balls back toward the center will reward long hitters here.
Finish your round by running "The Gauntlet," 466 yards and as much of a par 4 as anyone needs to close out a great day of golf.
Desert Pines Golf Club: The verdict
During our round at Desert Pines the staff not only dressed in costumes but also set up several skills challenges for us throughout the round. That's the kind of thing Walters Golf will set up for a large enough group at any of their courses. Add the company's signature Parmates program, and other added services, and it's clear these folks are all about fun.
This story originally appeared at GolfRoadWarriors.com.