Plan of attack: How to play Las Vegas' Siena Golf Club
LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- On the tee boxes at Siena Golf Club, the feeling is one of tranquility -- lush green rolling fairways, deep blue ponds and brilliant white bunkers.
That's the good news.
The bad news is that this Schmidt-Curley design is riddled with challenges at every turn. Playing to 6,843 yards from the tips, it's not an overly long golf course, but the tests are plenty.
"What really protects Siena and makes it a challenge are the bunkers," said Thom Blinkinsop, the Regional General Manager at Siena Golf Club. "They are strategically placed. There are 97 white-sand bunkers, and they are very deep."
Here are a few tips on the best way to get around Siena Golf Club.
Siena Golf Club's front nine: An odd challenge
Starting with the third hole, a 562-yard monster of a par 5, the odd-numbered holes on the front nine need to be played smartly to avoid putting big numbers on your scorecard.
The third hole is reachable by two by big hitters, but avoiding bunkers on each side of the fairway off the tee is vital if you want any chance at eagle or birdie. Hit it in one of the bunkers and you could be looking at a big number. Also, the green, like the hole, is huge. Being on the proper level is a must as a three-putt is a definite possibility.
The fifth hole, a 159-yard par 3, has water on three sides and deep bunkers. Don't get too aggressive here. Take aim at the middle of the green and take your chances with the putter. The par-3, 194-yard seventh hole is an outstanding test with its length, a variety of trees and deep bunkers providing the main challenges.
That sets the stage for the ninth hole.
This 420-yard par 4 has a pond that runs the entire left side of the hole. Bunkers on the right side make the landing area just a little narrower and that much tougher to hit. Driver? Maybe not. Just get it in play and give yourself a chance to get home with a birdie putt.
It's not just the odd-numbered holes that are difficult on the front nine, however.
"The front is definitely the tougher nine, especially the second hole," Blinkinsop said. "There's a deep bunker that's about 240 to 260 yards off the tee (depending on which tee players use) and it's got a very deep face. Hit it in there and you're going to have to lay up. … There are a lot of places you just have to hit it out of the bunker and take your penalty."
Survive these holes and you'll find yourself in good shape for the holes where you can attack the flag.
Siena Golf Club's back nine: Time to be aggressive
On the back nine, there are numerous chances to score well.
The 11th (a 340-yard par 4) and the 12th (506-yard par 5) are shorter holes, and proper tee shots and approaches will give players good birdie looks. And the final three holes -- a pair of par 4s and a short par 3 -- give players the chance to finish with a flourish of birdie putts, but playing it smart off the tee is still the key to success.
Siena Golf Club's 16th hole is a short par 4, playing just 323 yards. If you're playing well, you might even consider giving it a go with driver. One bit of advice -- don't. There's too much trouble around the green. Hit a hybrid or long iron off the tee and give yourself a wedge in.
The par-3 17th hole is just 138 yards from the tips. It's downhill, so an easy wedge is the play. The green slopes from back to front, so the key is to try and be short of the pin to give yourself the best putt at birdie. But don't come up too short and miss the green, as you'll find yourself with a pitch back to the pin or in the right-side bunker, also a bad spot.
That sets the stage for the 18th. With water to the right, the par 4 plays just 400 yards from the tips. A good drive will leave a mid-to-short iron in to a green that is guarded to the right by a pond. It's a great-looking finishing hole that, if you've hit two good shots, should give you a look at a closing birdie -- always a great way to end your round.
And when you're putting, Blinkinsop has one last bit of advice.
"Most visitors don't know this, but we like to say all putts break toward the money (the Las Vegas Strip)," Blinkinsop said.