Siena Golf Club near Summerlin is one fun ride

By Mike Bailey, Senior Staff Writer

LAS VEGAS - When in Sin City, expect to gamble. But the selection of a place to play golf shouldn't be among your risks. You'll find no more sure bet than Siena Golf Club in the Summerlin area.

18 Holes | Public/Resort | Par: 72 | 6843 yards
Siena Golf Club - No. 17
The 138-yard, par-3 17th at Siena Golf Club in Las Vegas is the shortest hole on the course. But if you miss it on the wrong side, getting up and down is almost impossible.
Siena Golf Club - No. 17Siena Golf Club No. 7Siena G.C. in Las Vegas - hole 9Siena golf course in Las Vegas - hole 10

About a 20-minute drive from the Strip in Red Rock Canyon, Siena will probably surpass expectations. Designed by Arizona-based architects Lee Schmidt and Brian Curley, the golf course actually supports the local housing development. But by design, it has a resort feel.

The homes are set back enough that they never seem to factor in play, and the fairways are generous enough that you never feel squeezed.

Add five sets of tees plus large greens, and you've got a very playable golf course.

"Siena's playability and artful bunkering are what really gives the golf course its characteristics," said Tony Lenzie, director of golf at Siena Golf Club. "You don't need to hit it deep, and you can spray it a little off the tee. But we'll get you around the greens with all the bunkers and subtle breaks in the greens."

Indeed, the toughest part of playing Siena, which opened in 2000, might involve the golf course's 97 bunkers. But the beautifully crafted and maintained bunkers add to the playability by helping frame the holes.

The golf course is also built on a 10-percent grade for drainage, which adds to the difficulty of the greens. A rule of thumb: Remember, putts always break toward the money. And by money, the locals refer to the Strip - or away from the Spring Mountains.

Many of Siena's bentgrass greens include lots of undulation. Get some Sunday pin placements, like back left on the long, par-4 fourth, and you might face a few three- and even four-putt opportunities.

A lot of fun holes

But Siena G.C. is more fun than tricky. A great variety of par fours and fives present some interesting risk-reward opportunities.

One of the best is the 350-yard, par-4 11th, drivable for some players. Siena made it more difficult by implementing a turf reduction program. Before, little risk existed, because the hole was grassed tee to green. Now, with native plants and rocks that narrow the fairway and the area in front of the green, even big hitters think twice before pulling driver.

Also interesting is the first, a moderately difficult par-4 with cascading water down the entire left side. The 18th is a fun par 4 with a narrowing fairway that leads to a challenging approach shot. Lake Siena guards the green on the right.

The signature hole is the par-3 fifth, which stretches to just 159 yards with a semi-island green. From the green, the view back across the water is especially picturesque.

Siena Golf Club: 2009 Nevada Course of the Year

The Nevada Golf Course Owners Association selected Siena Golf Club as the 2009 Nevada Course of the Year.

The award honors a member that demonstrates four criteria: exceptional quality of course; exceptional quality of ownership and management; outstanding contributions to the community and significant contributions to the game.

Siena was also honored for its efforts in turf reduction, which eases water demands in the Las Vegas valley, and for its support of local boys and girls high school golf.

Siena Golf Club: The verdict:

Siena Golf Club is like a smooth but tame roller coaster. It's not too scary, and when you're done, you can't wait to go again.

While a few places on the golf course might get your heart racing a bit, you'll enjoy it all. Conditioning, scenery and variety of holes are excellent. And with its sister course, Arroyo at Red Rock, it's part of nice combination.

Practice facilities are also excellent. The driving range features the plush turf you'd expect at a high-end resort, and the range includes plenty of target greens. Practice greens are large and mirror the excellent conditions of the greens on the course. You'll also find chipping greens and practice bunkers.

Siena Golf Club, in summary, is a solid choice in Las Vegas. It's consistent, well-marshaled and the staff is friendly. Plus, the grill at the clubhouse offers an excellent selection of food and drinks with great overlooks of the golf course.

Mike BaileyMike Bailey, Senior Staff Writer

Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in Houston. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America with an occasional trip to Europe and beyond, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 25 years in the golf industry. Before accepting his current position in 2008, he was on staff at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeBaileyGA and Instagram at @MikeStefanBailey.

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