Professionalism Reigns Over TPC at The Canyons
LAS VEGAS, NV-- As the summer wears on, if any of you golfers are like me, you may find yourselves getting frustrated or tired with the same public golf course routine. You get to the course only to find that play is slow that day, and your tee time is pushed back. You spend the entire round waiting on each shot, while looking over your shoulder hoping that the group behind you shows the same courtesy as you have shown for those in front of you.
Maybe you've played this particular course so many times that you stop paying attention to detail and as a result, your game suffers. Its time for a change all-star break if you will.
For my break, I made use of vacation time finding a new course and new experience in nearby Las Vegas, Nevada. While on a family reunion, I spent a few hours playing what wound up being perhaps the most pleasant round of golf of this season.
I ventured to the Tournament Players Club at The Canyons, which by taxicab is only about twenty minutes from the Las Vegas Strip. The term professional does not begin to describe the atmosphere at this premier course.
Pulling up to the bag drop, your clubs are taken by the staff and immediately loaded on your cart as you go in to pay your greens fees. The pro shop is decked out with quality merchandise as well as splendid souvenirs for us tourists.
Along with the pro shop, the clubhouse has a great restaurant and bar that more than satisfied my breakfast needs. Before teeing off, my foursome hit some "complementary" golf balls at the spacious driving range located near the first tee. Further carrying on the professional tone, before teeing off we were briefed by the course ranger on what was in bounds, what was out of bounds, and specific information on the most challenging holes.
Perhaps greater than the professionalism exhibited by the TPC, the cordial and pleasant attitudes of each and every employee that I encountered made this round of golf that much more enjoyable.
It should be noted that the TPC at the Canyons plays host to the Las Vegas Senior Classic each and every season, and accordingly, is quite the challenge for hacks like me. Although I did not find the holes to be particularly long, had we played from the tips, I imagine my score would have increased dramatically, as the back tees were routinely quite a ways from the "amateur" tees.
Furthermore, looking back, I realized that there were fairway bunkers on each and every par four and five on the course, as well as green side bunkers on all but one hole. There is one sizable lake that comes into play on holes ten and eighteen, hugging the tee box on the tenth, and protecting the green on the eighteenth. Other than the above listed hazards, the entire course is set in a desert environment that is rocky and unpredictable outside the fairways.
If you are fortunate enough to escape the grasps of a resident snake, don't be surprised if, like me, you wind up chipping or breaking a club in a futile attempt to play out of the desert. You'd be better off declaring the ball unplayable and taking your drop.
My favorite holes on the course were two and eighteen. Starting with hole two, this deceiving par three starts from an elevated tee and finishes about one hundred and fifty yards later on a very tight and guarded green. While significantly lower than the tee box, the green is still elevated to the degree that if you don't land on it, your ball will wind up in a desert ravine that is virtually unplayable.
This hole is not only scenic and challenging, but it also serves as a precursor for what lies ahead on the ensuing sixteen holes.
While the next fifteen holes of the TPC are superb, my second favorite hole on the course was the eighteenth. This four hundred and twenty-yard par four offers little room for error as the fairway is peppered with bunkers, a lake, and four sand traps that guard the green.
I remember consciously aiming at the very right edge of the green in an attempt to stay clear of the water. Much like the second hole (and most all of the other holes on the course) eighteen is a worthy challenge, but it is also beautiful and scenic.
For those of you players who have read some of my other articles, you may notice a trend when I say that the TPC at the Canyons was near flawless. Perhaps my course selection is exemplary though, as each course that I play is routinely better than the one before it. The fairways at the TPC were like carpet.
The rough was consistent, and the sand was thick but soft. The only setback that I found at the TPC was the recently aerated and seeded greens. When calling to make my tee time, the staff forewarned me of this fact, and upon playing the course, it wound up being the ONLY "shortcoming".
Keeping in mind that course maintenance is a must, though, I was not the least bit disappointed in the less than ideal greens. After all, the course needs to be seeded at some point.
In summary, for those of you who have the chance to play the TPC at the Canyons, I would urge you to call and make a tee time right away. The TPC accepts tee times up to a month in advance, so get on the list now.
There is likely little room for tee times made within a week, so get in gear. Furthermore, when making that tee time, I would highly, highly suggest playing very early in the morning. Being a college student, and lazy by nature, it was no picnic getting up at six.
Just the same, I can only imagine how unbearable the heat would have gotten had we been on the course much past noon. Even with the heat, though, the TPC at the Canyons is undoubtedly a worthwhile experience.
I might suggest that the course could be slightly overbearing for beginner players, but on the same note, if you can keep a good attitude, no matter what your skill level, the TPC at the Canyons would be a worthy opponent for anyone.
May 1, 2002