Boulder Creek rounds into shape

By Todd Dewey, Contributor

HENDERSON, Nev. - After a slow start in its first year of operation, financially, it appears as if Boulder Creek Golf Club is rounding into shape. The stellar municipal track in Boulder City, located about 25 minutes from the Las Vegas strip, opened its third nine-hole championship golf course, Eldorado, last fall, and the city, which owns the course, took over management of Boulder Creek in mid-March from Triad Management Company.

"Things are going really well. We're definitely on an uphill swing, as far as rounds and revenue, which is good," Boulder Creek head golf pro Andy Schaper said. "It's getting there. We have been up about 30 percent from last year, each month.

"The biggest thing we're trying to (get across), with the political atmosphere, is that things are still going good and it's a great golf course."

Schaper and the rest of the staff at Boulder Creek are now city employees. Boulder City has always owned the course, but just recently started managing it.

"There's really no difference, as far as management of the course and greens fees. The change was mainly made due to the city wanting to save money by managing the golf course," Schaper said. "They felt the management fee paid to Triad would be better handled by the city."

Boulder Creek, a 400-acre facility which cost more than $18 million to build and was designed by Mark Rathert, opened in January of 2003 to rave reviews, with nine-hole courses Desert Hawk and Coyote Run, along with a double-ended practice range that Triad claimed would be the world's largest.

"I'm almost positive it's the largest in Southern Nevada," Schaper said. Initial plans for a lighted par-3 course, along with lights on the range, are on hold for now at Boulder Creek, which features three golf courses, the driving range, three chipping greens, and two practice putting greens.

"A lot of (the plans) depend on the success of the golf course," Schaper said. The first two tracks at Boulder Creek feature wide fairways, with little rough, and six sets of tees to accomodate players of all skill levels, measuring 7,400 yards from the tips.

The Eldorado nine ranges from 2,555 yards to 3,739 yards and the challenging layout rewards long drives off the tee with unobstructed shots from the fairway. Tee shots that go off track may find the deep, natural sand bunkers that dot the course, but they won't find water.

"The unique thing about the (Eldorado) course is there are no water features. Other than that, the other characteristics are similar with the arroyo landscaping on the other courses we have. It definitely has a desert feel," Schaper said. "It is player-friendly, but I'd say the greens have a little more undulation to them, bringing the challenge up to the level of the other two courses.

"We've used Eldorado mostly in the afternoons, where we have our busy time, and so far, people have really liked it and they're excited about it."

All the carts are equipped with GPS systems and the greens fees for visitors range from $70-130, dropping to $50-80 in the summer. Boulder Creek (, 702-294-6534) offers stay and play packages with Sunset Station and Fiesta Henderson.

New clubhouse debuts at DragonRidge

DragonRidge Country Club in Henderson opened in 2000, but just recently opened its 32,000-square-foot clubhouse, with the grand opening slated for May.

Amenities include The Onyx Bar and Grille, the Dragon Grille, a Fine Dining Room, a complete fitness center with an Olympic-size swimming pool and tennis courts, a card room, a masseuse room and more. Outdoor dining is also available and there are plans to build an extension on the clubhouse -- which features marble, granite and wood flooring and decor -- for a banquet facility that will offer the same unobstructed, breathtaking views of the entire Las Vegas valley that the course itself does.

DragonRidge, which was designed by Jay Morrish and David Druzisky, is located 20 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip and is the crown jewel of the MacDonald Highlands luxury custom home community, carved into the base of the McCullough Mountains. The 18-hole championship course, which measures 7,039 yards, recently was voted best local golf course in a Best of Las Vegas poll published in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, and has played host to two TigerJam charity events and the Wendy's 3-Tour Challenge.

The course is stepping up its membership efforts with the opening of the clubhouse, and once it reaches 300 members, DragonRidge will be a private country club. DragonRidge is currently open to the public, though, with greens fees ranging from $150-225 for visitors (

Las Vegas Invitational alive and well

The date of the annual PGA Tour stop in Las Vegas was listed on the PGA Tour's 2004 calendar as "to be determined" for quite some time, but the event was recently saved, thanks in large part to a generous benefactor. Helen K. Morton made a multi-million dollar donation to the Las Vegas Invitational in honor of her deceased husband, Thomas A. Morton, an avid golfer who had played in the tournament as an amateur for several years.

"Las Vegas has always held a special place in our family's heart," she said. "I was in Las Vegas last year for the Las Vegas Invitational and heard that the tournament was in need of financial support, and in my heart, I knew that keeping this tournament in Las Vegas would mean a lot to Thomas, so I decided to make a donation that keeps the tournament in Las Vegas."

The PGA Tour and the Las Vegas Founders recently signed an agreement for the Founders to continue to host and operate the LVI this year, with the event scheduled from Oct. 6-10. The Founders have operated the LVI since its inaugural year of 1983.

Todd Dewey, Contributor

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