No time for a round? Try these executive, par-3 courses in Vegas

By Murray Anderson, Contributor

LAS VEGAS -- Las Vegas has a plethora of attractions to keep a traveler busy. And for those not wanting to commit four to five hours for a round of golf while in Sin City, there are some quicker options available for the dedicated duffer.

Three executive courses are in the Las Vegas Valley and three lighted par-3 courses are also available to help someone who loves to hit the links, but doesn't like the triple-digit temperatures.

Durango Hills Golf Club in the northwest area of town, Eagle Crest Golf Course in Sun City Summerlin and Desert Willow Golf Club in Henderson are three well kept executive courses that can get golfers off the course in about three hours.

Durango Hills is one of the newest courses in town, opening for play in November. The par-58 course measures out to 3,777 yards and is in excellent playing condition.

With holes ranging anywhere from 124 yards to 400 yards, just about every club in the bag will be needed at Durango Hills.

"This course definitely gives you a good mix of shots," said Nick Spiegel, head professional and general manager of Durango Hills. "There's a lot of sand out here, at least two bunkers around every green, and the greens are very undulated."

Hole Nos. 9 and 10 wrap around a lake at Durango Hills with water on the right for both par-3s. The 175-yard 10th hole is almost completely over water, with only a small bailout area on the left side of the green. The green on No. 10 has a false front and any balls coming up a little short could end up in the drink.

"Let's just say there are a lot of balls in that lake," Spiegel said. "Nos. 9, 10 and 11 is our Amen Corner. If you get through here dry and around par you're doing well."

With 100-degree temperatures the norm, Spiegel said golfers enjoy playing his course in the early morning or after work because they can get their round finished in less than five hours.

A special nine-hole early bird special is offered at Durango Hills that gives the businessman nine holes of golf with a cart and breakfast for $18.

"They like it because they can get in here, play their round, get some breakfast and get to work," Spiegel said. "This type of course offers you the chance to get done quickly."

Green fees for Durango Hills are $25 for residents weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and $40 for visitors. Weekend rates are $30 for residents and $40 for visitors.

Eagle Crest Golf Club

Located in Sun City Summerlin, Eagle Crest Golf Course is a compliment for the area's two championship courses, Highland Falls and Palm Valley.

Billy Casper and Greg Nash designed all three courses.

Eagle Crest is a par-60 course that measures out to 4,067 yards with the longest hole being 403 yards. The shortest hole is 112 yards.

With three par-4s on the front and back sides, the average round at Eagle Crest takes just more than three hours.

Green fees are $30 for residents before 11 a.m., $25 after 11 a.m. and $20 after 1 p.m. For visitors, green fees are $45 before 11 a.m. and $30 after 11 a.m.

Desert Willow Golf Club

Located in Henderson, Desert Willow opened about six years ago and this executive course has earned a reputation of always being in excellent condition.

The par-60 course measures 3,800 yards and has 12 par-3s and six par-4s.

The course has a difficult finishing hole, a par-4 with water protecting the front of the green. Second shots require accuracy to clear the water and hold on the green.

Green fees are $30 Monday through Thursday before noon, $18 from noon to 3 p.m. and $15 after 3 p.m. Fees are $35 before noon Friday through Sunday.

Angel Park Golf Club's Cloud Nine

Angel Park's Cloud Nine not only offers a quick round, but has lights for golfers waiting for the blistering sun to go down before starting their round.

With replicas of some of the most famous par-3 holes in the world, Angel Park serves up "The Postage Stamp" hole from Royal Troon, the "Island Green" from TPC at Sawgrass and the "Valley of Sin" from St. Andrews.

Bob Cupp designed the Cloud Nine with 12 holes available to play during daylight hours and nine holes available under the lights.

"We wanted to offer the public an alternative and also offer our customers a fun alternative to experience some famous golf holes from throughout the world," said Bob Cramer, Angel Park's head golf professional.

The average hole length on the Cloud Nine is about 140 yards.

"This gives people the chance to work on certain aspects of their game," Cramer said. "And since we are open in the evenings people can come here after work and still get to play nine holes of quality golf."

The most talked about hole on the Cloud Nine is the "Island Green" replica from TPC at Sawgrass. An intimidating shot for the PGA players on the real thing, this replica is just as unnerving when standing over the ball on the tee box.

The hole measures out to only 100 yards at Angel Park, but with only a small margin for error, the distance is the least of a golfer's worries. It's all about the direction and getting the little dimpled ball to stop.

The green fee to play Cloud Nine is $25 any time of day.

Callaway Golf Center's Divine Nine

Adding to the number of light bulbs on the famous Las Vegas Strip, the Callaway Golf Center and Giant Golf Academy features a Divine Nine course designed by Cupp.

The course is highlighted by water falls, desert vegetation and undulating greens. The last tee time for the Divine Nine is 9 p.m. each night.

The Giant Golf Academy has 113 stalls with either natural grass or mats and offers golfers a practice putting and chipping green.

Rates for the Divine Nine are $25 for nine holes and $40 for 18 holes during the week and $30 for nine holes and $45 on the weekend.

North Las Vegas Golf Course

A perfect course for junior golfers, this nine-hole course takes only about an hour and a half to complete and every tee box uses a mat.

The course is lighted and the last tee time is taken at 9:30 p.m. The holes range anywhere from 74 yards to 170 yards.

"This time of year we have a lot of action before 10 a.m. and from 5:30 p.m. to closing we are pretty busy," said Henry Sandler, assistant manager.

Green fees are $7.50 during the week and $9 after 5 p.m. On weekends the fees are $9 before 5 p.m. and $10 after 5 p.m.

Murray Anderson, Contributor

Murray Anderson attended Imperial Valley College for two years and then California State University, Fullerton. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in communications in 1992 with an emphasis in journalism. He began his journalism career at the Imperial Valley Press newspaper as a sports writer and later became a full-time news writer, then sports writer and eventually sports editor.

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