The Greens of Las Vegas lets you test your putting against the legends

By Leigh Hallenberg, Contributor

LAS VEGAS -- Eddie Heinen wants to give the art of putting its perfect canvas. With The Greens of Las Vegas he may do just that and, in the process, give golf fanatics a chance to live their dreams. Heinen founded and has been developing The Greens of Las Vegas as a completely unique golf experience made up of 24 of the most famous greens in the world. The Greens, which will partially open this summer, replicates greens from courses like Augusta National, Britain's Turnberry, St. Andrews and Royal Dornoch and Hilton Head's Harbour Town.

Heinen says each green will be built exactly to scale and will include water features, molding and sand traps. There will also be an absence of artificial turf. Every one of The Greens championship holes will have real grass and Heinen wants people to know that this is not just another mini-golf tourist stop.

"There are a lot of common things with miniature golf, but the experience feels like real golf," Heinen said.

By being able to change hole positioning, The Greens will provide a chance for golfers to try some of the most famous putts in golf history. Heinen said the history and mystique behind the Augusta greens has excited many of the people he's talked with about the idea. Guests will be able to see how they match up to some of the putts that Tiger Woods sank on his way to a record win at the legendary course in 1997.

"We can recreate every putt Nicklaus made and Tiger Woods made," Heinen said.

Heinen, an accomplished amateur golfer, said he came up with the idea in 1996 while playing on the Canadian tour with his friend and college teammate Mike Weir. Las Vegas was clearly the ideal location and after for such an inimitable and lavish undertaking.

"They've already recreated all of Europe," Heinen joked.

Despite the extravagance, there has been an attempt to keep prices low. But it wouldn't be Las Vegas without some higher stakes. The Greens plans to hold putting tournaments this year, with prizes up to $100,000. In the next few years, The Greens wants to raise the bar with $1 million prizes. "Putt for Dough" daily events will give visitors a chance to putt under pressure. It may seem like quite a bit of money for putting, but Heinen says putting tournaments can be more challenging than golf tournaments.

"Putting tournaments are kind of like 'in-your-face golf,'" Heinen said. "You really don't have 200 or 300 yards in between shots to think about your next putt."

Of course, there will be someplace to relieve all that stress after the round ends. Bogee's Sports Bar and Restaurant will be the ultimate haven for golf fans. And there won't be a chance of someone asking to change the channel from golf to a baseball game. Bogee's will be golf from wall to wall and feature leaderboards from tournaments across the country, golf simulators and, of course, plenty of Golden Tee machines. Bogee's is even in talks with Golden Tee to bring the World Championships there.

With anticipation up and its limitations seemingly endless, The Greens of Las Vegas plans to continue expanding into next year, well after its initial opening.

Fast Fact

The Greens of Las Vegas will be comprised of 24 of the most famous greens in the world.

Leigh Hallenberg, Contributor

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