Bali Hai Golf Club sixth on Golf Digest's ranking of public golf courses

By Mike Bailey, Senior Staff Writer

LAS VEGAS - You could literally carry your golf clubs there from the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, the golf course is almost always in perfect condition and there's nothing like it in the continental U.S. What's not to like about Bali Hai Golf Club? Apparently, not much.

Bali Hai Golf Club - No.18
Golf Digest readers rate Bali Hai among the very best public golf courses in the U.S.
Bali Hai Golf Club - No.18Bali Hai Golf Club -  ClubhouseRoyal Links Golf Club - 10th GreenDesert Pines Golf Club - No. 15

At least that's what the survey results say in the latest Golf Digest public golf rankings. Bali Hai, which is the only championship-caliber golf course on the Las Vegas Strip, was recently named the sixth best public golf course in the magazine's 2009 Readers' Choice Rankings.

Bali Hai comes in right behind Tobacco Road Golf Club in Sanford, N.C. Grand National Golf Course on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Opelika, Ala., topped the list.

With its signature island green par 3, Bali Hai is one of five Las Vegas golf courses on the list. It is also one of three courses owned and operated by Walters Golf to make the top 50. Royal Links Golf Club, another Walters Golf property, came in at No. 13, and Desert Pines Golf Club is ranked 50th.

TPC Las Vegas came in at No. 27. Bear's Best Golf Course, a compilation of the best holes from Jack Nicklaus' courses around the world, finished 47th on the list.

Bali Hai Golf Club: "There's just something about it"

The ranking didn't surprise Michael Wachtman, assistant general manager at Bali Hai. With the golf course's convenient location, near-perfect course conditions and tropical atmosphere, just about everyone who plays it leaves impressed, he said.

"People love the South Pacific theme," Wachtman said. "There's just something about it, the 4,400 palm trees, the white sand and the running water throughout the course. People come in, and they just rave about it."

In the survey, people were asked to rate each course on a 10-point scale, with 10 being the best, on 14 aspects of their golf experience. Bali Hai, with an overall rating of 87.19, scored nine or better in four different categories, including clubhouse facilities, course conditions, dining and off-course activities. The club's tropical-themed clubhouse features a five-star restaurant and fully stocked golf shop that's been ranked among the top 100 public shops in America all seven years of the club's existence. In addition, forecaddies are also available and recommended at Bali Hai for the complete experience.

Royal Links, Desert Pines ride high too

Royal Links is a collection of 18 holes inspired by the history of the British Open. It didn't have any scores over nine, but it did approach the high eights with its castle-themed clubhouse and Stymie's Pub as well as its course conditions, quality of course, pro shop, speed of play and dining. The facility also features an extensive caddie program, which is recommended, especially for first-time players.

Desert Pines, which received new bentgrass greens last summer, received its two highest marks in course conditions and service. The club also did well in the off-course activities - no doubt because its location - as well as the overall quality of the course. The course is just 10 minutes from the Strip. All three Walters Golf properties were also rated favorably in the pace of play category.

Click here to see the complete list.

Mike BaileyMike Bailey, Senior Staff Writer

Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in Houston. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America with an occasional trip to Europe and beyond, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 25 years in the golf industry. Before accepting his current position in 2008, he was on staff at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeBaileyGA and Instagram at @MikeStefanBailey.

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