Siena Golf Club Ready for Top Five Ranking

By Shane Sharp, Contributor

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - "Top Five," says Siena Golf Club Marketing Director Mick Toscano when asked where he sees his recently opened Brian Curley-Lee Schmidt course stacking up in the Sin City golf scene.

Its hard to blame Toscano if he sounds a bit like ace Diamondbacks hurler Curt Schilling predicting a victor over the Yankees in game seven of the World Series. It's easy to be confident when you have his kind of product to offer.

Las Vegas is home to over 60 golf courses, many of which are considered some of the best venues in the country. Courses like Shadow Creek, Reflection Bay, the Revere, and TPC Canyons have made Vegas one of the world's true up-and-coming golf destinations.

Siena Golf Club opened in June of 2000 ready to do battle with these and the other top courses in the area. Armed with 18 masterful golf holes, 97 devilish pot bunkers, massive three-tired greens, some of the best course conditions west of the Mississippi, and sublime views of the surrounding mountains, Siena declared its arrival on the Vegas golf scene.

Six different water features surround the course, including "Lake Siena" and a number of holes even feature waterfalls.

"The best thing about this course is that every hole has its own beauty," says Toscano. "Some have views of the Strip. Some have views of Red Rock Mountain and others the Spring Mountains. I don't think you'll come away impressed with this course. I think you'll come away awe-struck."

Unlike its ultra exclusive siblings, Siena Golf Club is, and will remain, an upscale daily fee golf course set amid a tasteful, 667-acre age-qualified community. Once the clubhouse opens in the spring of 2002 and Siena heads towards the winter peak season next year.

"We have an excellent product here, complete with five tee boxes for all skill levels," Toscano says. "We are also number one in service, I feel, right at this moment. We offer unlimited practice balls, there is drinking water on all carts, ball washers, towels, and a clubwasher. We meet and greet you when you arrive and depart and you'll never handle your own golf bag."

Stylistically, Siena Golf Club emphasizes brains over brawn. The 97 bunkers were strategically placed along the side of greens and fairways, demanding that players hit the ball down the middle or face the consequences.

"If you push or hook anything it's going to be in a bunker," says Toscano. "It's a fair golf course as long as you don't spray your ball. We don't feel like distance is a priority out here."

Aside from the deep, fluffy-white penal bunkers, Siena's other design signatures are its behemoth, multi-tiered greens and its gradually narrowing fairways. Schmidt and Curley don't have anything against long hitters, they simply don't want burley hackers getting a leg up on the course just because they can hit booming 300 yard drives that end up in another zip code.

The course's greens are large, even by today's standards, and three and four putts become the norm and not the exception if you aren't accurate with your approaches. Pin placement is of the essence at Siena, as many of the greens sport two and three tiers that would make even Brad Faxon think twice about judging distance and line.

"The concept behind the greens was that players need to be challenged on this golf course, and if they play within themselves from tee to green, they should be able to get on in regulation," says Toscano. "Because we are well bunkered, and the fairways are thin, we give players the chance to hit big greens."

And if the multi-tiered effect wasn't enough, Toscano says that Siena's greens will typically roll between nine and ten on the stimpmeter.

"They will be fast, but they are true," he adds. "The secret out here is that everything breaks towards the Strip."

Signature Hole

The 159-yard par-3 fifth hole. Water lines the left side of the hole and culminates in a waterfall that empties into a surreal blue pool that surrounds ¾ of the green. A deep bunker on the right completes the framing of the hole.

Best Birdie Opportunity

The 138-yard par-3 17th, which plays to only 115 yards from the middle tees from an elevated tee box. This is a chip shot for average players, and a decent wedge shot should lead to a makeable birdie putt. The hole has been dubbed "the beach" due to the water bunker that surrounds it.

Most Scenic Hole

The 420-yard par-4 ninth hole, which features an elevated tee box cascading down to a thinning fairway with water along the left side. There are two bunkers on right side, so the only place to go is down the middle. From there, a couple of fluffy white bunkers frame the left side of the three-tiered green. Simply one of the most spectacular views in Vegas from the tee box.

Card Wrecker

The 448-yard par-4 fourth hole is responsible for many a high number. The fairway landing area is forgiving, but the hardest part is sticking your ball on the green when the pin placement is top left. The hole is one of the most heavily bunkered on the course and the approach is to yet another three-tiered green.

Shane SharpShane Sharp, Contributor

Shane Sharp is vice president of Buffalo Communications, a golf and lifestyle media agency. He was a writer, senior writer and managing editor of from 1997 to 2003.

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