Reflection Bay Golf Club: Nicklaus' First Resort Designed in Nevada

By Diana Rowe Martinez, Contributor

LAS VEGAS, NV - Originally The Links at Monte Lago, this resort course changed its moniker to the Reflection Bay Golf Club at Lake Las Vegas Resort just prior to its May 6, 1998 official opening. Reflection Bay’s design is another Jack Nicklaus special and is the first of three resort courses planned to the tune of $4 billion at this residential and international resort destination. Reflection Bay joins the private SouthShore Golf Club (viewable across the lake) as the second Jack Nicklaus design.

A 1999 Golf Magazine “Top 10 You Can Play List,” editors praised Reflection Bay as one of Nicklaus’ “finest and most versatile resort spreads.” Reflection Bay is Nicklaus’ first resort course in Nevada. Golf Digest named the course to its 1999 “Best New Upscale Public Course” list. The Golf Digest nomination involved panelist ratings of all courses for shot values, design variety, memorability, esthetics and walkability. For public courses, playability is also evaluated.

Located 17 miles east of The Strip, this course is situated in an upscale community built around a man-made lake in Henderson, but don’t let “man-made” fool you. From the air, this course winds like a green oasis that spreads across the desert hillside with 1.5 miles of course fairways lining the shores of Nevada’s largest private 320-acre lake, Lake Las Vegas. A top-notch course available for championship public play, Reflection Bay is sculpted from the desert’s rugged natural contours and blends into the background as if born there, ensuring a distinctive and memorable day of golf.

Featuring fairways of sodded hybrid Bermuda and greens of Crenshaw Bent grass, Reflection Bay’s $18 million, 7,261-yard, par 72 resort course offers five tee settings, exasperatingly strategic bunkering and plays around arroyos and water to enhance and challenge the golf experience.

Early holes on each nine follow existing canyons up in elevation to approximately midway point, returning with dramatic views on downhill holes before reaching a crescendo with finishing holes from each line located along the 320-acre Lake Las Vegas. In fact, five holes stretch along a mile and half of pristine, white sand shoreline. Other water features include three major waterfalls. This course is a photographer’s dreams come true.

A four-acre lake starts your game on Holes 1 and 10. Hole 1’s tees are to the right of the lake with a 424-yard, par 4, dogleg left. Holes 5 through 9 are an incredible stretch of beauty with water and desert course layouts guaranteed to make you catch your breath.

Hole 5’s par 5 starts off the scenery with a long 528-yarder. A small creek follows the fairway on the right side and the shot seems pretty straightforward except for the kick to the right off the downhill sloping fairway. The green is bunker-protected in the front and a small stream leading to a waterfall on the right also detracts your attention and adds to the difficulty of the shot.

The signature hole, #8, is a 199-yard, par 3 hole situated beside the lake, and certainly one of the more unique ones. Located on a peninsula jetting out into Lake Las Vegas, the water comes into play on the left side of this hole. Beaches, bunkers, palms and rockwork create a dynamic shoreline and backdrop.

The 9th hole continues with a dogleg left, with the lake running from the tee box to the green on the right. The ever-present and stroke-adding Nicklaus bunkers present further protection of the green. This 429-yard par 4 is an easily attainable par or birdie if you play it safe to the middle or right of the fairway.

Hole 10, a par 4 393-yarder, begins your back nine play with a drive from the left of hole 1’s shared lake. Your first shot is a carry over the water for a lay-up before again carrying over the water in front of the wide green.

Hole 15 continues the desert saga with an elevated tee shot down into a valley. You’ll need another lay-up shot here just shy of the arroyo. Your second shot is downhill over the arroyo but will roll quite a distance--and hopefully not end up in the bunker situated in the middle of the fairway about 71 yards in front of a bunker-protected green.

Hole 17 is another tough par 3, 164 yard shot with a wide, 32 yard green, situated on a peninsula similar to Hole 8. The difference is that water surrounds almost the entire green with a narrow entry at the front. Wide and deep bunkers beckon the errant slicer or the golfer intimidated by the water to the far left just shy of the green near the cart path.

The finishing hole is a par 5 561-yard, dogleg right challenge. Bunkers protect nearly half of the right side of the fairway to both sides of the green. Too far right will net you water.

Overlooking the golf course and right of the 9th hole, Hyatt Regency offers room and golf packages for those wishing to get the most of their golf vacation. This 496-room golf resort hotel provides relaxing Mediterranean architecture with its two-story arched windows and deep loggias. Ornamental ironwork and concrete grills accented in Moroccan patterns decorate the facade of this hotel that sits on a terraced hillside overlooking the north shore of Lake Las Vegas. The Hyatt’s European-style casino even offers magnificent views of the lake and surrounding mountains.

Home of Wendy’s Three-Tour Challenge, Reflection Bay Golf Club offers an unique lakeside golf experience you can’t describe until you play, and with 81 sand bunkers and three waterfalls, Reflection Bay is a great test of your skills. The course caters to all skill levels of golfers: wide fairways for the high handicap player, length from the back tees and small greens for the low handicap player.

Reflection Bay offers the feel of all the best golf worlds--a seaside, desert and mountain course wrapped up into one location. An added bonus is the on-site Nicklaus/Flick Golf School. Combine the gourmet cuisine of La Chandele at Reflection Bay Golf & Beach Club’s $7 million facility with a round on this award-winning course and you’ll have an unforgettable day.

Reservations can be made up to 30 days in advance.

Diana Rowe MartinezDiana Rowe Martinez, Contributor

A Denver-based freelance writer, Diana Rowe Martinez is a member of Colorado Travel Writers and writes for other publications, both print and online, in the industries of travel, nonfiction, and business. She writes a monthly column for a Denver based newspaper, Singles Entertainment.

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Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • High Praise for Reflection Bay

    Mark Engdahl wrote on: Jul 21, 2010

    I would like to start by saying I have played over 200 golf courses all over the U.S. Reflection Bay Golf Club is without a doubt one of the ten best I have ever played. Each hole offers a spectacular view and a great challenge. The greens were some of the best I have ever seen. Very true and super fast. The staff was superb. The clubhouse and pro shop are beautiful. If you went to this course and tried to find something wrong with the property, I would doubt you would be able to. The next time I am in Vegas, I will play this course again.