Silverstone could become Las Vegas golfing diamond
LAS VEGAS -- There is an unpolished gem with some rough edges on the Las Vegas golfing scene, if you are willing to go out of your way to find it.
Silverstone Golf Club, located in extreme northwest Las Vegas isn't as well known as many of the many high-profile courses around town, but if you are looking for a playable course that's open year-round, you have 27 holes to choose from.
Finding the Robert Cupp design is half the battle. Silverstone is now just a little more than three years old and the course sits amid a myriad of housing construction. There are very few signs leading you to the clubhouse, so if you don't know where you are going, it's easy to get lost. The master planned golf community is moving forward at a rapid pace, but it's still several years away from completion.
Once you find your way to the clubhouse, you will find a first-class staff ready to get you on your way. The range and cart staging areas are fairly close to the parking lot and bag drop and it's very easy to get around. Inside you will find an elegant clubhouse, although it can seem a little stuffy as all pro shop staff are required to wear shirts and ties.
Silverstone offers some of the best practice facilities you will find in Las Vegas. There's a full-length, grass driving range, large putting green and chipping green.
There are three nines to choose from named the Mountain, the Desert and the Valley. The names don't reflect any particular traits offered by the tracks, however, each nine has its own little quirks and separate identity.
Each plays to par of 36 with two par 5s and two par 3s on each nine. There are four sets of tees. The Mountain is the longest of the three, but much of the length is hidden in three holes (Nos. 3, 7, and 9). The first is a dogleg right that can be driven if you can get it over the pot bunker about 40 yards short and right of the green.
The third is the longest par 5 in Nevada at 653 yards from the tips, but there is no need to feel intimidated; it plays downhill and downwind most of the time. For the vast majority, it's a three-shot hole and the third shot is the scary one. A pond fronts and guards the left side of a long but narrow green.
The strength of Silverstone lies in all the courses' par-5 holes. Both the Valley and Desert nines start par 5s that are as different as night and day. The Valley offers the average player something they don't normally see, a chance to reach a par 5 in two with a middle or long iron. The card says 535 yards, but it's almost a 90-degree dogleg right and that chops the distance down dramatically.
If there is a weakness, it's in some of Silverstone's par 4s. With the exception of perhaps one on each nine, there is little trouble lurking on these holes. From the black teens, many measure less than 400 yards and though they require precise wedge play, players may not get much of a chance to exercise all their golfing skills.
Still, Silverstone offers a solid test and you need to have your A game, especially on the greens, which are in terrific shape year round. The superintendent has done a magnificent job with its ryegrass fairways and bent greens.
Unique for this part of the country, Silverstone doesn't have to shut down for overseeding in the fall. That means if you have a trip planned in September or October, this place is still open while many others around Las Vegas are closed.
One other unique note about the course, it's actually 28 holes. Say you finish nine, 18 or 27 and there are still some bets to resolve, the developers came up with an interesting solution. Forget calling it a tie or going to a scorecard, there's a 100-yard par-3 near the clubhouse that allows players to settle their scores with their golf clubs.
Silverstone isn't the flashiest golf club in Las Vegas, but it's finding a niche that needs filling in this town. It's a quality, upscale golf course that offers fine service in a nice setting at a decent price. While other courses may have loftier reputations, Silverstone is on its way to becoming a diamond in its own right. If you can find you way through the rough of Las Vegas to the northwest, you'll find a gem. All it needs is a little time and some polishing.
Silverstone isn't typical Las Vegas golf. There are no themes, no gimmicks and it's not a flashy place. You are in a desert and that's what Silverstone offers, 27 holes of good desert golf. The course conditions are some of the best in the Las Vegas valley and the resort fits the area well. Silverstone is a still a work in progress, though. There is a lot of construction going on around the course. Also, there is much work left to finish as far as amenities, completing landscaping and making the resort easier to find.
You can pay much more at other courses around Las Vegas. If bells and whistles are what you want from a Las Vegas golf outing, then Silverstone isn't the place for you. If you want to focus on golf, good service, and don't mind driving a few extra minutes, take a trip to Silverstone. It's a golf club in good shape, it can get better and should in the future.
It's the only 28 hole golf course in Las Vegas. Three nine hole layouts, plus what Silverstone calls a "Decider" hole to settle any outstanding bets.
August 10, 2004