A howling success in the Vegas desert: Coyote Springs Golf Club

By Bill Bowman, Contributor

Give Jack Nicklaus credit: He's a visionary who has constructed golf courses in some of the most amazing venues in the world.

18 Holes | Resort | Par: 72 | 7471 yards
Coyote Springs Golf Club - hole 18
Coyote Springs Golf Club's closer can be intimidating with two bunkers and a pond coming into play off the tee.
Coyote Springs Golf Club - hole 18Coyote Springs Golf Club - Hole 5Coyote Springs Golf Club - Hole 10

And Coyote Springs, located an hour north of Las Vegas, is no different. Nicklaus designed Coyote Springs Golf Club, which is the first Signature Golf Course at the facility, and it has been recognized this year as one of the best new public courses in the country by many national publications.

Once you tee it up here, chances are it will vault to the top of your list of must-play Las Vegas golf courses as well.

Joe Steranka, CEO of the PGA of America, is impressed with the site some two years after it was first unveiled.

"The PGA has been thrilled with the golf course and the learning center that have been built there," Steranka said during PGA Championship week. "They are two of the most scenic projects built anywhere in the world. That piece of land is extraordinary."

Nicklaus, working with a blank canvas of unlimited potential, designed a golf course that is the talk of the golf world. Starting from the first tee and working over, around and through untamed land, this Nicklaus layout gives new meaning to rolling fairways. Subtle contours everywhere (okay, some aren't so subtle) leave players with sidehill, uphill or downhill lies on most shots from the fairways. And 11 lakes and yawning bunkers guarding greens make approach shots amazingly challenging.

"Jack shaped every hole out there to fit perfectly into the terrain," Steranka said. "It's like every hole is its own piece of living artwork. That alone makes it an extraordinary playing experience."

Sizemore, the director of golf at Coyote Springs Golf Club, said the main goal for the course and his staff is simple.

"Like everyone else, we want players to come out and enjoy the facility and go back and tell their friends they just have to play it," Sizemore said. "We want to put all of our effort into delivering the best golf experience possible. We're hoping players will go back and say 'Oh, you're going to Vegas? You've got to play Coyote Springs."

Coyote Springs Golf Club: Picking out a favorite hole

Picking a favorite hole is a tough assignment as any of a dozen holes on this 7,471-yard monster could become a favorite, especially if a player puts a birdie or eagle on the card.

But here are three - a par 3, a par 4 and a par 5 - that stand out as you make your way around Coyote Springs Golf Club.

The par 3 is a no-brainer as No. 8 will have you checking your heart rate as you step to the tee. Measuring 233 yards from the tips, a deep-blue lake and a couple of bunkers create pulse-pounding terror. If the hole is back-right (next to the lake), don't be a hero - center of the green is the shot. Take your par (or maybe a 30-foot birdie putt on occasion) and move to the next hole.

As for the stand-out par-4 hole, that would be the closer. As usual, Jack saved the best for last. At 463 yards, the 18th is not a long par 4, but the carry off the tee can be intimidating with two bunkers and a pond coming into play. Hit it straight. The approach shot also must avoid water right along with three bunkers. If you find the putting service, pat yourself on the back and make that birdie putt.

The top par 5 at Coyote Springs Golf Club is a tougher choice, but we lean toward the 585-yard fifth hole. This one is a desert golfer's dream as it is target golf at its finest. Go ahead and rip a driver off the tee. Then comes the tough part - go for it in two or lay up. If you're going to give it a go, bunkers front and back (and a wash short of the green) will catch errant shots. If you make it a three-shot hole, go to the right as the third shot won't have to deal with those pesky bunkers (unless you're way wide with your wedge from 100 yards).

There you have it. Three holes down, 15 to go. And all 15 will challenge you to bring your best. It's the least you can do. After all, Jack gave it his best.

Bill BowmanBill Bowman, Contributor

Bill Bowman is a Las Vegas-based writer who has more than 40 years in the sports-writing business. He's spent the past 16-plus years covering the golf scene in Vegas and has teed it up for magazine profiles with celebrities including comedian Bill Engvall, actor Jeffrey Donovan (USA's Burn Notice), ESPN personality Colin Cowherd, NASCAR's Kurt Busch, Collective Soul's Ed Roland, the Baltimore Ravens' Jonathan Ogden and many others.

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • The Chase Coyote Springs

    casey wrote on: Jan 24, 2010

    I will have to say in all my years playing golf this course was just breath taking. Not only are the views that surround you amazing but the course will leave you speechless. This is an A-plus course and I will be playing it every year I visit VEGAS!!