Desert Pines Golf Club: A sort of deserty, piney golf paradise, Las Vegas style

By Jeff Wallach, Contributor

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.

18 Holes | Public | Par: 71 | 6222 yards
Desert Pines Golf Club - No. 18
The 18th hole at Desert Pines Golf Club is among the top finishing holes in Las Vegas.
Desert Pines Golf Club - No. 18Desert Pines Golf Club - hole 17Desert Pines Golf Club - hole 3Desert Pines golf course

The course features smoothly wrought earthworks piled up into lovely humps and mounds, some of which are decorated with Dye's signature railroad tie bunkers.

If Royal Links Golf Club is like a trip to the British Isles and Bali Hai Golf Club transports you to the tropics, Desert Pines brings to mind the lowlands of the Carolinas.

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 here, 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.

This story originally appeared at

Jeff WallachJeff Wallach, Contributor

Award-winning author of five books, Founding Member and Executive Editor of The A

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