Snow Mountain at the Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort in Nevada: A course to Dye for

By Bill Bowman, Contributor

LAS VEGAS -- The Snow Mountain Course was the first golf course to open at the Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort. And when it opened in 1995, there were high expectations -- and with good reason: Designer extraordinaire Pete Dye was at the helm.

Snow Mountain - Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort - 18th
Snow Mountain Course was the first of a trio of Pete Dye designs at Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort.
Snow Mountain - Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort - 18thSnow Mountain - Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort - 16thSnow Mountain - Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort - 9thSnow Mountain - Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort - 4thPaiute Snow Mountain golf course - 18th and 10th

The result was a course that resulted in reviews that were nothing short of amazing. How amazing? Well, two more courses on the property followed -- Sun Mountain and the Wolf Course. With all three layouts, it adds up to 54 holes of golf paradise just 20 minutes northwest of Las Vegas.

But it was the Snow Mountain Course that paved the way, and it did it beautifully.

Paiute Snow Mountain: On the course

At 7,164 yards from the tips, it's all the golf course a player can want. But there's more. Add in water on seven holes, Pete Dye railroad-tie bunkering, lush fairways and white-sand bunkers, and the star-rating is elevated.

Chad Gunier, general manager, pulls no punches: "You won't find a better 18-hole layout in Las Vegas," he said. "It just flows nicely. The par 3s are great, there's water on a third of the holes, there are great doglegs, you've got Pete Dye's touches -- it just goes on and on."

And where the course ends is a stunning final three-hole stretch. All three will definitely test players' shot-making skills as well as their aggressiveness. Start with a par 3 reaching 198 yards, follow it up with a 529-yard par 5 and finish it off with a par 4 at 445 yards, and you've got variety and challenge. It's just the type of finishing stretch players should expect from every course and definitely get from Dye. Being accurate from tee to green over this three-hole run can make or break the round.

"They are all great designs and aesthetically beautiful," Gunier said. "It's one heck of a way to finish your round."

And we aren't done talking design just yet. You've also got the classic risk/reward holes, such as the par-4 seventh. At 339 yards from the tips (but right around 300 yards from the next tees up), it's one of the finest risk/reward holes around. An iron off the tee will leave a short iron into the green for those taking the safe route.

Those taking the gamble will have their hands full. Five bunkers line up across much of the fairway some 230 yards off the tee and come menacingly into play. Another bunker guards the green to the left. Oh and if that's not enough challenge, the native area comes into play just right of the green. Take your best shot (or shots), and you'll be rewarded.

Chris Stoddard, from New York, was joining a large group in a three-day outing, covering all three courses.

"(The Snow Mountain layout) is a great course," he said. "It's very playable, but it's also quite a challenge ... especially if the wind blows."

Stoddard was quick to add that the playability of the course is typical Pete Dye.

"It's pretty easy off the tee to keep it in play," he said. "But it definitely gets tougher the closer you get to the green."

In the Paiute clubhouse

There's a wide variety of options in the Paiute pro shop -- from shirts to shoes to clubs to ... well, you get the idea. Then there's the dining area with enough world-class food selections to satisfy even the pickiest eater. It's a perfect spot to start or finish your round.

Oh, and don't forget the cigar lounge. Grab a cigar, a drink and check out the games on the televisions. At 15,000 square feet, it's massive when compared to the tent facility that was used when the first course opened in 1995. Now, there's room for everyone -- and a few extras can also pull up chairs out on the expansive patio overlooking the course and enjoy the food and the view.

Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort's Snow Mountain Course: The verdict

With Pete Dye's signature designs all over the place at the Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort, it's tough to pick a favorite course out of the three. But while choosing to tee it up at the Sun Mountain or Wolf courses is fine, just remember it's tough to beat the original. And that's Snow Mountain.

"Looking around, you just can't complain about anything out here," Stoddard said. "You've got great golf and great surroundings. Add in a good group of friends, and it just doesn't get any better than this."

Bill BowmanBill Bowman, Contributor

Bill Bowman is a Las Vegas-based writer who has more than 40 years in the sports-writing business. He's spent the past 16-plus years covering the golf scene in Vegas and has teed it up for magazine profiles with celebrities including comedian Bill Engvall, actor Jeffrey Donovan (USA's Burn Notice), ESPN personality Colin Cowherd, NASCAR's Kurt Busch, Collective Soul's Ed Roland, the Baltimore Ravens' Jonathan Ogden and many others.

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