At Desert Pines Golf Club, it's simple: All inclusive, all the time
LAS VEGAS -- For Desert Pines Golf Club, their label sends a message to players: "All-Inclusive, All the Time, Desert Pines."
So, whether it's golf on an 18-hole Dye Designs layout, a stop in for great food, a nice cold drink or a combination of all of the above, this one fits the bill when it comes to an all-around Las Vegas golf experience. And, best of all, it's all included in one price.
Desert Pines is located in the heart of the city -- just a driver and three-iron (if you're a really long hitter) from the famed Las Vegas Strip. It's a golf course with a Carolina feel that features pine trees lining the fairways, deep blue ponds (water comes into play on nine of the 18 holes), brilliant white-sand bunkers and bentgrass greens modeled after Augusta National.
"It's a big course on a small footprint," said Josh Gafford, head golf professional. "It's the Carolinas in Las Vegas, and that feeling is captured very well."
Desert Pines: On the course
The par-71 layout, run by Eagle Management, sits nestled on just 98 acres. But what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in challenge. The saying is good things come in small packages, and this certainly rings true at Desert Pines.
"It's a very challenging course," said Gavin Bristol a two-handicapper who played the course on a trip with friends from Portland, Ore. "It's a great design, and not something I thought I would see in Las Vegas. The greens and the whole course were very impressive."
Both nines open with straightaway par 4s. Both are short (less than 375 yards), so take a club you can hit the fairway with. That will leave players with a short iron into greens that are big and receptive.
And then there's the finish of both nines. The ninth and 18th holes are mirror-images. The ninth is a 467-yard par 4, while the 18th is a 466-yard par 4. The similarities don't end there. The ninth is a dogleg right, while the 18th is a dogleg left. Both greens nestle up to a pond that runs between the holes. Add in a few bunkers; why not? There are more than 60 on the course -- and you've got finishing holes on both nines that are diabolical. (Or should we say Dye-a-bolical?)
Mike Sampson was in Vegas from Los Angeles, and teed it up with buddies.
"It was definitely a challenge," Sampson said. "You've got to think your way around the course, and that's definitely something I love in a golf course."
A hole that will test that thought process -- as well as players' nerves -- is the seventh. The "Sidewinder" is a short par 5 at just 517 yards. It's an ultimate risk/reward hole. What it lacks in length it more than makes up for in challenge. A good drive will leave players with that age-old question: Do I go for the green? Well, the answer isn't always simple. A bunker left of the green and water on the right cuts down the opening to the green. The smart shot is a layup leaving a wedge in. But you're in Vegas. This may be the time to take that gamble. (But remember that pond to the right.) And with an undulating green, being on the proper level is imperative for scoring chances.
"The course is totally playable," Bristol said. "And you've got to pay attention, especially on the water holes. And the trees around the course separate the holes nicely and also frame the course."
In the Desert Pines golf shop
Now we get to the impressive "all inclusive" part. And this is a dandy. All of your food and non-alcoholic beverages are included in the price.
So players can arrive at the course, have breakfast, play nine holes, grab a hot dog, play the back nine and then have lunch, all for one price. "We're the first to do it in Vegas, and it's something that's really starting to gain interest -- people are talking about it," Gafford said of the program that was unveiled the first week of February.
Golfers can also upgrade to the "Royal Flush" package, which also includes two sleeves of Callaway balls, Desert Pines hat, golf shirt and pin, stocked cooler of beverages and personalized cart signs. ($229 peak season).
In the spacious clubhouse, grab an extra sleeve of balls (you may need them), a logo hat or ball, and maybe that sunscreen you might have forgotten (especially if you're from a cold climate).
Working on your game
Desert Pines is an ideal spot, even if you're just looking for a practice session. Whether you're just gripping it and ripping it, or honing that short game, the two-tiered, climate-controlled facility fits the bill.
And the target greens replicate some of the best par-3 targets anywhere, including TPC Sawgrass (minus the actual water, of course), Pinehurst No. 2 and others.
Desert Pines Golf Club: The verdict
If you're looking for that golf getaway in Vegas (and close to the Strip), Desert Pines G.C. is it. Whether it's just a quick 18 holes or a daylong outing, your group will find a golf course designed to appeal to players of every ability. Add in the practice facility, the inclusive dining and the ambiance and you've got a complete experience.
"I really didn't know what to expect when we got here, but after the round, it was definitely better than I expected," Bristol said.