Improved Silverstone Golf Club emerging as rising star in Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS - There are some Las Vegas golf courses whose names just roll off your tongue. Others are well-known to dedicated golfers who'll take the fairways over the poker table every time.
And then there's Silverstone Golf Club.
This 28-hole facility - yes, 28 - is only 20 minutes from the Strip, but Silverstone is often called "a local's course." But that could be changing. The club is undergoing the kind of revamp that could make it a major player in the Las Vegas golf scene.
The first thing you notice when you visit Silverstone Golf Club is how it's striving to be a better golf course. A new management team is trying to change the way people think of Silverstone, and the quest isn't based on catchy marketing slogans. It's all about the course.
Silverstone Golf Club's desert-dirt waste areas are being replaced with striking reddish clay that completely changes the look of the golf course. Seven of the holes were completed at the time of this play, and the visual difference is striking. The entire course is supposed to be done by September.
"I don't know exactly what it's called," new Silverstone Golf Club Director of Golf Ross McCullough said of the red sand. "But I know you'd rather look at it than hit out of it."
That's for sure. Though it is fun to send some of the stuff flying on a well-hit recovery shot.
But for all the spruce-up work, and the attention paid to making the driving range one of the best in town, you'll remember Silverstone for its distinctive holes.
Like the 653-yard par 5 on Silverstone Golf Club's Mountain nine. (Not to be confused with the 627-yarder on the Desert nine or the 631-yarder on the Valley nine.) Stepping up to the back tees, the green seems a mere rumor, as far-fetched as anything in the National Enquirer.
"You don't even think about going for it in two from the back tees," McCullough said.
Of course, you do think about it. Like you think about chucking your job and becoming a Tibetan monk. Or think about renting Little Man on DVD. You just don't actually do it.
Unless you're John Daly after a really good day at Hooters.
Mountain's No. 3 isn't just a 650-yard hole. It's a 650-yard hole that doglegs sharply around a lake to a near-peninsula green. It's the longest hole in Nevada, if that kind of thing means anything to you - and it probably will after you scrawl the number on your scorecard.
"If you're going to get a snowman, you might as well get it on a 700-yard hole," golfer Theo Jones said.
Silverstone Golf Club is full of holes that provide decent tales. Desert's ninth got much more dramatic when the new management decided to flood one of its two ponds, creating a more massive and daunting water look.
All three nines have memorable closers. Mountain ends with a nice little 616-yard par 5 where the new red desert really pops out. It makes for quite a scene - the kind of thing that might make Silverstone Golf Club a name yet.
Silverstone Golf Club: The verdict
New general manager Adam Owens, late of Bear's Best Golf Club, is clearly doing everything he can to lift Silverstone to a higher place in Las Vegas golf. It's not there yet, but this work-in-progress is already worth a second look.
The three nines make Silverstone Golf Club a good choice for group play, and a very personable staff goes out of its way to keep golfers happy. Lose or leave something behind at Silverstone and you'll be getting it back.
You'll also be settling your bets. One of the great quirky features about Silverstone is its 28th hole, a little par 3 with a purpose.
"Whatever course you're at, you always have people coming into the clubhouse after the round asking to play one more hole to settle a bet," McCullough said. "Most places you can't accommodate them. Here, we can."
Of course when people hear about the 28th hole, everyone wants to play it. A golf game's never been decided in regulation at Silverstone Golf Club (wink, wink).
Not that anyone's going to give you much trouble here. Silverstone is determined to please.
May 18, 2007