Las Vegas National Golf Course Has Plenty of History

By Ray Brewer, Contributor

LAS VEGAS - One of the more accurate theories about golf in southern Nevada goes as follows:

The best courses are located on the outskirts of the Las Vegas valley. More specifically, these courses - typically of the newer fashion - line the areas of Henderson (farthest east) and Summerlin (farthest west).

The Las Vegas National Golf Club is the one exception to this theory.

Located dead-square in the heart of Las Vegas, this self-proclaimed "oasis in the desert" is a course mentioned in the same breathe as the areas best. Situated just two miles from the lights of the Las Vegas Strip, the National offers golfers a chance to be part of history.

The National has hosted and currently hosts several LPGA and PGA events, including the PGA's Las Vegas Invitational until 1997.

And then there is the history.

In the LVI's final year at the National, a young and confident Tiger Woods won his first PGA event on the course, firing a one-under-par 70 at the facility.

Woods, hands downs golf's biggest and brightest star entering the 2000 season, is just part of the legend of the National.

In 1962, the course opened as the Stardust Country Club, later changing its name to the Sahara-Nevada Country Club upon Del Webb's purchase of the facility in 1969.

Starting in 1969, the PGA played its Sahara Invitational at the course through 1976. Jack Nicklaus won the inaugural event in '69 and other prominent figures on tour like Lee Trevino in '71 and George Archer in '76 flourished on the course. In addition, Nancy Lopez won on LPGA event on the course in '79.

For some reason or another, knowing this history adds something a little special when playing the par-71, 6,8`5-yards course - a slope of 130.

Bear's Best Las Vegas - No. 10The National has well-bunkered greens and lush fairways which are guarded by palm, pine and olive trees.

Hole No. 1 is a perfect indicator of the challenges the National provides. It's a par-five, 560-yard hole that plays longer than it looks - simply put, the deceiving green fairways seem like they are everlasting.

If you think you can conquer this course, think again. Tiger Woods, the world's most dominating golfer, shot a 70 on these links. Furthermore, that 70 was good enough for Woods to win a tournament (what happened to the other field of golfers?).

Hole No. 13 is one of the more challenging layouts the course has to offer. The green is protected by two sand bunkers on the left hand side and there is also two water hazards calling for a stroke penalty on the right hand side.

In fact, water comes into play on seven of the final eight holes.

Season: Peak, March-May and Sept.-Oct.

Tee Time Policy: Full rate tee times available 60 days in advance.

Ray Brewer, Contributor

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