Las Vegas post Labor Day hues: White golf balls on perfect green grass

By Mike Bailey, Senior Staff Writer

LAS VEGAS -- Football, cooler temperatures and fresh grass -- what's not to like about golf in Las Vegas after Labor Day?

Rio Secco GC - 13th hole
Fall is prime time at Las Vegas' top golf courses, including Rio Secco G.C., home of the Wendy's 3-Tour Challenge.
Rio Secco GC - 13th holeRhodes Ranch Golf Club - No. 18Siena Golf Club - No. 18Bali Hai Golf Club - No. 18

After an arduous summer, when tee times are best served in the morning, it's prime time in Las Vegas, at the sports book and on the golf course. But it doesn't mean golf in Las Vegas isn't affordable. While rates are typically higher in the spring and the fall than they are in the summer, green fees have been trending downward somewhat.

Eric Dutt, vice president of golf operations for Harrah's Entertainment of Las Vegas, said the local golf landscape is simply adjusting to the market, which has been affected by a down economy. Golf courses in Las Vegas are working together to bring golfers into the area, and many have lowered their green fees from a year ago.

Harrah's golf courses are among the facilities that have lowered green fees. Rio Secco Golf Club, for example, used to command $285 in prime time. Now the home of the Wendy's 3-Tour Challenge can be experienced anywhere from $100 to $225 depending on the day of the week and season, Dutt said. Similarly, Harrah's exclusive Cascata Golf Club, once $500, can be played from $250 to $400.

"That's still a top 50 course on Golf Digest's list," Dutt said of the Rees Jones-designed Cascata, which has a waterfall that goes through the clubhouse. "We have not changed our maintenance practices or our customer service models because I dropped the price. We just want to see more bodies out there."

This fall, playing golf at Revere Golf Club has become a little more affordable as well, said Dennis Piekarski, director of sales and marketing for the 36-hole facility. The rack rate for Revere's Lexington Course has been reduced from $199 to $155. The Concord Course at Revere has been lowered from $169 to $155. Golfers who book online through Revere's website also get free transportation to and from their hotel included in the green fee.

Look for golf packages in Las Vegas

In addition to lower rates, you can find good deals in packages, both in stay and play and bundling courses together.

"If you put together a two- or three-day golf package, you can save upwards of 50 to 60 percent," said Josh Hill, director of marketing for Walters Golf.

Walters Golf owns and operates three high profile courses in Las Vegas: Bali Hai Golf Club, Desert Pines Golf Club and Royal Links Golf Club.

"There is tremendous value in combining multiple days to play," Hill said.

Besides Rio Secco and Cascata, Harrah's also manages modestly priced Las Vegas National Golf Club, which means Harrah's can offer packages to fit almost any budget.

"We can build a package, especially with nine hotels in town, ranging from the Imperial Palace to Caesar's," Dutt said.

Cooling off Las Vegas

Fall is arguable the best time to come to Las Vegas. Football season has started, which means in addition to table games, poker and slots, the action really heats up at the sports books as well. Plus, temperatures start to fall, and many courses offer on-course GPS systems that also update golfers with sports scores.

"We're getting into the best weather of the year," said Tate Stull, director of golf and general manager at Rhodes Ranch Golf Club. "We shouldn't see 100 degrees past mid-September. We have high hopes anyway. And now it's in the low 70s, at least, for the first couple of hours."

Labor Day also signals down time for many golf courses in Southern Nevada. From the middle of August to the middle of September, many courses, such as Rhodes Ranch, shut down for a week or so to overseed. It's those conditions, from fall to next spring, that make most courses really pop.

Most facilities reopen by the second week in September, and by October, clubs such as the TPC Las Vegas and Chimera Golf Club are all in prime condition.

Some courses, such as Bali Hai, Silverstone Golf Club and Siena Golf Club, close briefly or not at all in the fall. That's because they already have ryegrass fairways and bentgrass greens, which don't need to be overseeded. This year, for example, the Lee Schmidt and Brian Curley-design Siena Golf Club shut down for just four days, reopening on Sept. 2.

"We're a little ahead of the curve when it comes to conditioning because we already have ryegrass down," said Tony Lenzie, general manager of Siena G.C. "We call it 'interseeding.' We just kind of fill in areas that may or may not have been beaten up by the summer heat. By the middle of September, we're in really good shape and can take them off the cart path."

Siena's sister course, the Arroyo Course at Red Rock Country Club, is in a similar situation. The 6,883-yard Arnold Palmer layout has ryegrass roughs and bentgrass greens. That leaves only tees and fairways to overseed.

Siena and Arroyo also use dynamic pricing, meaning depending on the tee sheets, golfers can find some good last-minute deals. There's also a discounted price for playing both courses.

"You get a 20-percent discount if you can play both of them within a five-day period," Lenzie said.

Mike BaileyMike Bailey, Senior Staff Writer

Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in the Houston area. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America, 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 20 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 @Accidentlgolfer.


 
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