Sun Mountain course at Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort replaces Pete Dye doom with shining desert golf scenes

By Chris Baldwin, Contributor

Among Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort's trio of Pete Dye designs, Sun Mountain is the largely forgotten golf course. But don't overlook it if you want scenic desert golf without the usual Dye scorecard savagery.

Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort - Sun Mountain Course
Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort's Sun Mountain course provides perhaps the most remote feel in all of Vegas golf.
Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort - Sun Mountain Course Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort - desert lookLas Vegas Paiute Golf Resort - water

LAS VEGAS - Pete Dye typically treats golfers with all the gentleness and forgiveness of the drill sergeant in Full Metal Jacket. You have a better chance of getting out of Guantanamo than escaping some of his golf courses under par.


There's a Dye out in the Vegas desert that defies the unconventional conventions of America's most controversial celebrity golf architect. It's a Dye with relatively generous fairways, drivable par 4s and some of the best mountain scenery in all of Nevada.

It's also the largely forgotten course at Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort, 54 holes of golf on house-free Native American land.

Wolf is the showy newcomer at Paiute, the longest track in Nevada at 7,604 yards. Snow Mountain is the original and arguably still most challenging course here.

And Sun? Well, don't be ashamed to let it shine on you.

"All the courses have great views," said golfer Andy Tripplet, playing Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort while in town for a convention. "But Sun puts you way out there - after you're already way out there."

Even Dye seemed to understand that the best thing he could do in this most remote corner of the Paiute property a half-hour from the Strip was get out of the way of scenery.

The looks to the mountains can be stunning. The blue water in the man-made lakes glistens in the afternoon sun. The Joshua trees are memorable.

And you actually have a chance to enjoy all of it without feeling the need to curse Pete Dye every few minutes.

"I don't need a super-tough course all the time," vacationing golfer Ron Cook said. "Some of these golf courses in Las Vegas are just too tough."

Paiute Sun isn't too much. It's 7,112 yards of swales and doglegs, but you always seem to have a chance. On some other Dyes, the starter might as well hand you a blindfold and cigarette. Here you can actually stare at your scorecard without cringing.

There is plenty of desert, but there is also usually enough fairway to avoid it. Paiute Sun plays a lot like Paiute Snow, except the brush doesn't creep into the fairways or hug the dogleg turns as ominously.

No. 18 is typical. It's essentially a tamer version of Snow Mountain's dogleg-left-around-water closer, but it's about 45 yards shorter, the water's not snuggled as tight against the fairway and the green's a little more open.

Chances are you're not going to miss the extra slaps.

Sun Mountain at Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort: The verdict

If you want great scenery without scorecard savagery, Paiute Snow Mountain warrants a spot in your Las Vegas itinerary. It's not easy compared to your local Saturday-afternoon course, but it won't beat you silly like Dye's other Sin City desert designs.

"It's the gentler Pete Dye," Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort Head Professional Greg Wickensimer said. "It's a little easier to get out of the rough. But it still has the traditional railroad ties and it has equally great views."

Sun Mountain's great scenery and relatively forgiving nature make it popular with groups. The conditioning is up to the level of its siblings, and there are no houses to forget you hit - the resort's mammoth clubhouse is the only building out here, and this course is far removed from even it.

Chris BaldwinChris Baldwin, Contributor

Chris Baldwin keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation.

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