Plan of attack: How to play Rhodes Ranch Golf Club

By Bill Bowman, Contributor

LAS VEGAS -- Rhodes Ranch Golf Club looks simple on the surface. But there's so much more to it.

18 Holes | Public | Par: 72 | 6909 yards
Rhodes Ranch G.C. in Las Vegas - hole 18
Before you play Rhodes Ranch Golf Club, take General Manager Tate Stull's advice on how to attack the course.
Rhodes Ranch G.C. in Las Vegas - hole 18Rhodes Ranch Golf Club - hole 3

Like water, water and more water.

In fact, water enters play on seven holes at the 6,909-yard golf course -- holes that can make or break your round of golf at the Ted Robinson design.

So grab the golf clubs and get ready to test your game and your nerves. Do you have what it takes to handle one of Robinson's best designs? Only time -- and a few extra golf balls -- will tell.

Be careful

We'll start with the places players need to take an extra few seconds to assess the challenges. Water comes into play on three of the four par 3s, tests that Robinson believes rank among his finest creations.

Right from the start these diabolical holes taunt players with picture-postcard looks. The third hole, a staggering 227 yards from the tips, is stunning with brilliant, white-sand bunkers, a deep blue pond on the right side of the green, a stream feeding the pond, a waterfall feeding the stream and mature palm trees to complement the view.

Then comes the tough part: You've got to hit the tee shot.

"The third hole is a great looking golf hole, and it can be tough," said Tate Stull, general manager at Rhodes Ranch. "But there is bailout room to the left. There's no forgiveness to the right with a bunker and the pond, so left is the place to miss. It's the same with No. 14 and No. 16. There are water carries on those two holes, so take an extra club and aim for the center of the green."

In fact, Stull said, the best advice for most holes is simple: Aim for the middle of the green.

"If players hit the center of the green, they will be in good shape," he said. "There's nothing too crazy about the green. They are pretty fair with no false fronts or huge undulations."

Risk-reward at Rhodes Ranch Golf Club

Opportunity exists to get aggressive at Rhodes Ranch. That's the good news. The bad news? Players still must deal with the water. And a lot of it. A pair of par 4s, the eighth and 11th holes, give big hitters the chance to drive the green.

But both shots involve water carries. In other words, don't be short. But if players can find the greens, an eagle putt is certainly possible.

As with the par 3s, the misses here must be left, or you'll post a big number.

"Both of these are great challenges," Stull said, "and will really test players who do go for it."

Is it worth the challenge? That's between you and your ego. But in most instances, laying up is the prudent play. With a wedge in your hands for the second shot, birdie is still possible; it's more difficult to make birdie on a par 4 from the water.

Where to be aggressive at Rhodes Ranch

You've been waiting for the chance to grip it and rip it, and it arrives at the fifth and 15th holes, reachable par 5s with no water. So grab the big stick and unleash your best drives.

"These are both green-light holes," Stull said. "You can rip it off the tee and have a 3-or 5-wood in -- or even a hybrid. You'll have a great chance to score here."

That sets the stage for No. 18, a par 4 of 441 yards from the tips. Let it fly, because the water here is short and right of the green, making a stunner of this finishing hole.

"You really want to get your tee shot as far down the fairway as possible," Stull said. "If you can get it into the 120- to 150-yard range, you've got a much better chance to hit the center of the green, which should be your target."

Overall, the center of the greens need to be your friend at Rhodes Ranch. The golf course is Robinson at his finest, offering great views and even better shot-making challenges.

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.

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