Plan of attack: How to play Chimera Golf Club near Las Vegas

By Bill Bowman, Contributor

HENDERSON, Nev. -- It's quite simple: Players need a plan of attack to score well on golf courses. Chimera Golf Club, a Ted Robinson design near Las Vegas, is no exception.

18 Holes | Public | Par: 72 | 6757 yards
Chimera Golf Club - hole 5
Some guys will reach for the driver on Chimera Golf Club's par-4 fifth hole. Don't.
Chimera Golf Club - hole 5Chimera Golf Club in Henderson - hole 9Chimera GC - hole 11Chimera Golf Club - hole 18

"The golf course has holes that you have to really think about it and holes where you can let 'er rip," said Chad Gunier, Chimera's general manager and director of golf. "But what it all comes down to is course management."

Here's a glance at the best holes to attack and the spots you must avoid to keep from posting big numbers on the scorecard at Chimera Golf Club.

No. 1 -- Par 4, 394 yards from the tips

A wide fairway invites players to hit the driver. No problem. It's the second shot that's key -- uphill and featuring a false front to the green, so don't be short. A good iron shot into this narrow but deep green provides a birdie opportunity.

No. 2 -- Par 5, 563 yards

Again, driver's OK, but believe us, there are holes at Chimera Golf Club where 3-wood or less is a required. Now comes the choice: Go for it or lay up? Well, there exists no simple answer. If you can get home in two, more power to you. But for most mortals, laying up to play a wedge offers the best chance for birdie.

No. 5 -- Par 4, 357 yards

Here you go. It plays less than 320 yards from forward tees, so some guys will reach for the driver. Don't. There's trouble left and right. Finding the fairway is a must. And favor the right off the tee as the green opens up from that side, taking both greenside bunkers out of play.

No. 9 -- Par 4, 404 yards

This is the first of two closing holes on which water comes menacingly into play, along with the amazing 18th hole. To the left, it's wet, so favor the right side off the tee. Driver is OK, but it's only about 250 yards to the water, so you better hit it straight. The golf course recently added a bunker short of the pond to add to the challenge. The second shot must favor the right side of the green as a pond laps close to this smallish green. Par here is a good score. Put down a birdie, and you're picking up a skin from your buddies.

No. 11 -- Par 5, 538 yards

This is a must birdie if you're looking to post that career round. Grab the driver. The second shot heads toward a green guarded to the right by a bunker, but players can certainly roll shots on to the putting surface. Even if you lay up, this ranks as a definite green-light hole when it comes to flag hunting.

No. 12 -- Par 4, 408 yards

Put the driver away. With the fairway running out around the 250-yard mark and a wash area coming into play, you've got to be in the fairway -- even if it leaves a mid- to long-iron into the green. Play it smart, and you'll still receive a birdie chance.

No. 16 -- Par 4, 299 yards

Here comes the ultimate risk-reward hole. Even as short as it is, it will make you think before reaching for a club off the tee. Many will want to grab the driver and give it a go. If you're hitting it well, go for it. If there's any doubt, play it safe, with nothing but trouble -- bunkers everywhere -- around the green and along the right side.

No. 17 -- Par 5, 526 yards

Again, another great birdie chance. Give it a rip with the driver, but favor the bunker-free left side. It's an elevated green, so take that into consideration as short shots will funnel back into the fairway.

No. 18 -- Par 4, 440 yards

This is one of the most impressive and toughest golf holes in Las Vegas. You've got to be long off the tee, but long shots also bring a certain downhill lie into the equation. Whether it's a long- or mid-iron -- or in the case of big hitters, a short-iron -- you've got to worry about a green guarded on three sides by water. A bunker long will catch errant shots that stay dry. This is one golf hole that will truly test your courage. Remember, you can lay up, hit a wedge close and one-putt for par. This finale can make or break your round.

"Holes nine and 18 are two of the best closing holes in the Valley," Gunier said. "They both have great views of the Las Vegas Strip, and they both are very challenging."

(EDITOR'S NOTE: This course was formerly known as Tuscany Golf Club.)

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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