Tuscany ready to make splash on Vegas golf scene
HENDERSON, Nev. - When Tuscany Golf Club opens to the public this month it might be the most mature course to ever experience an opening day.
The course, located in the southeastern part of the Las Vegas Valley just two miles west of Lake Las Vegas, has been ready for players since November 2001. But construction delays and problems with a proposed access road have been the major problems delaying Tuscany's opening.
"The biggest thing that has held up our opening has been the access road," said Tom Vold, director of golf for Tuscany. "It was an environmental issue. Our road was on a condemned plot of land. It took a good 12 months to get that cleared up."
OB Sports Golf Management of Scottsdale is in charge of operations for Tuscany and Commerce LLC owns the course.
Construction problems with the permanent clubhouse also held up the opening. The foundation for the clubhouse has been in place for more than a year with no progress.
Andy Deiro, Tuscany's national director of sales, said a change in contractors for the building has taken place and construction should start again soon. But the permanent clubhouse is still 18 months from completion.
"It's been frustrating, sure," Deiro said about the opening delays. "It's frustrating because I know we have a great course to offer golfers and they will love this course once they play it."
When complete, the clubhouse will actually be a village of seven buildings that will feature a pub and a gourmet restaurant.
A small number of golfers have gotten to experience the Ted Robinson-designed course.
"I love this course. It's a challenge but it's fun," said Charles Holloway, who played the course about two weeks before the opening. "You are able to play your bad shots because they aren't really too bad. You're not that penalized for one bad shot."
Four sets of tees will challenge all skill levels. The course measures just short of 7,000 yards from the championship tees and 5,616 from the forward set.
"No matter what set of tees you play this course will be a fun experience," Vold said. "It's undaunting off the tee. There's a lot of inspiration instead of perspiration off the tee."
The course opens with four holes designed to get the pace of play going. Vold said the fifth hole is where the course really starts and where the thinking golfer must make an appearance.
"The course becomes less about just going for it and more about positioning," Vold said. "You've got to put yourself in position to have good second and third shots."
Tuscany's hole No. 9 is a test of positioning for golfers. The 404-yard par-4 requires a tee shot that favors the right side of the fairway for a chance at a decent approach shot.
Water guards the left side of the green and bunkers are on the right. But don't stray too far right on the approach shot because on the other side of the hill is the lake from the 18th hole.
And speaking of No. 18, save some energy for this finishing hole. It might be one of the toughest finishing holes in the Las Vegas area.
The 440-yard par-4 looks scary off the tee and twice as scary on the approach shot. About 245 yards from the tee box the fairway seems to drop off. If the ball reaches the down slope, there's a treacherous approach shot next.
The green is well protected with water in front and on the left and bunkers behind the green to catch those balls coming in hot. And don't forget that the prevalent Clark County winds will always be blowing in your face on this hole.
"This is the hole where you'll need your best drive," Deiro said. "If you? re too far back you might have to lay up in front of the water."
"You can lose your lunch or really finish off a good round on 16 through 18," Vold said.
Opening in the summer heat in Nevada isn't usually a good idea, but Tuscany's opening is just to get some players on the course and some word-of-mouth publicity before the busy season comes in the fall.
"It's going to be somewhat of a soft opening and that'll be fine," Vold said. "We'll put a hard campaign out locally and try to get the local players out here but our national campaign will take off in August for play in September and October."
Similar to Robinson's design at Rhodes Ranch in California, the fairways are generous at Tuscany and there are some mounds around the fairways that could keep a ball in play if it starts straying.
July 1, 2003