Las Vegas golf unlimited: High rollers can open the checkbook or unleash the gold card for a great weekend

By Bill Bowman, Contributor

LAS VEGAS -- It's the kind of weekend we all dream about -- a Las Vegas golf outing with an unlimited budget.

Cascata golf course - hole 7
Eighteen magnificent challenges await golfers as Cascata.
Cascata golf course - hole 7Caesar's Palace in Las VegasPURE nightclub - Caesars Palace in Las VegasMaverick Helicopters - Las VegasBali Hai G.C. in Las Vegas - 11th

That kind of a weekend can conjure up all types of fun and games, both on and off the golf course.

The finest? We've got it here in Vegas. Sit back, check out the itinerary and let's get this party started.

First-class Vegas: Arrival

No arrival is complete without a waiting limo. With your budget limitless, might we suggest having Exotic Limos ( at your service for the weekend? One of its top-of-the-line limos is an H2 Hummer complete with three LCD flatscreen TVs, wet bars (plural) and two moon roofs. It holds up to 20. After all, who knows what kind of parties you may run into? Leave the driving to them, and you and your friends can just enjoy the scenery - in and out of the limo.

So when you touch down at the airport and see the sign that says "SMITH PARTY," just smile and know the weekend has just begun.

First-class Vegas: Checking in

Whether it's the north or south end of the Strip, luxury is the name of the game.

While you can't go wrong just about anywhere on the Strip, your budget (or lack of it) dictates high-class accommodations. Here are two where you can't go wrong. (Of course, there are more, but space limitations force us to make choices):

The Bellagio: With more than 3,900 rooms and suites, there's plenty of room for everyone. But we're high rollers this weekend. We'll check out the villas. Pick the two-bedroom, five-bath (6,500 square foot) villa or the three-bedroom, seven-bath (8,000 square feet) villa for you and your guests, and your home base is set. Each one features an in-suite workout room, dry sauna, private hair salon, private terrace, pool, etc. You get the picture.

Caesars Palace: It's the penthouse here. (We could check out the Fantasy Suites, but this is a golf weekend - although a record-breaking round at one of Las Vegas' top golf courses is quite a fantasy). These spectacular rooms have it all: piano, sculptures, fountains and - most impressive - a billiards table. Each penthouse has up to four bedrooms, so you and the guys can spread out.

Now that we're comfortable, let's eat.

First-class Vegas: Dining

Whatever your taste -- and we mean "whatever" -- it's here.

Steak? Try Prime Steakhouse in the Bellagio or Delmonico Steakhouse at The Venetian, or Smith & Wollensky's opposite The Monte Carlo, and you can't go wrong.

Sushi? Too many to count. French cuisine? Oui, Oui. Japanese? Korean? Don't fret. If it exists, it's here.

And it will be cooked by chefs with names like Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck, Kerry Simon and many more.

Bon appetit!

First-class Vegas: Nightlife

Okay, it wouldn't be a trip to Vegas without checking out some of the famed nightlife. After all, if it's good enough for Hollywood's "A list," it's certainly good enough for you.

From Tao (at the Venetian), to Tryst (at Wynn), to the PURE nightclub (at Caesars) and many others, you'll find thousands and thousands of square feet of pulse-pounding excitement that will run until dawn (or just about time for your tee time -- so be careful).

A few tips: Get a VIP package, and book early. But with an unlimited budget, this is your first priority for the evening. Otherwise, you're standing in line for hours, which is worse than waiting five minutes between shots. We all know how well that goes over.

Dress well. This is not an option at most nightspots.

Tip well. Also not an option, especially in Vegas and especially if you want good service. Remember, these places are usually 10 or so deep at the bar, so you might wait 30 minutes between drinks.

Have a great time. Also not an option. After all, this is Vegas.

First-class Vegas: Getting to the golf course

Good morning. We hope you slept well (if at all with that trip to the club). Now it's time to head to the golf course. We've done everything else in style this weekend, so why stop now? We won't. Anyone can hop in a limo and head to the golf course. But what if it's an outlying course? Spending 45 minutes in a limo just doesn't cut it this weekend. Time is of the essence.

We've got the answer: One call to Maverick Helicopters (, and we'll have a copter waiting to take us to the course. From the Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort to Wolf Creek in Mesquite and others in between, Maverick can get you and your buddies (make sure to send your clubs separate) to the first tee quickly.

Beating the traffic never felt so good. Just watch the guys in the parking lot shake their heads with envy as you deplane and head to the clubhouse.

First-class Vegas: Golf

We've saved the best for last.

Here's the reason you're coming to Glitzville - great golf. Whether it's on the famed Vegas Strip (Bali Hai Golf Club or Wynn Golf Club) or off the beaten path (Cascata or Shadow Creek Golf Club), there's no shortage of top-of-the-line courses.

With Bali Hai and Wynn G.C., you get two golf courses just steps from your plush hotel suite. You also get service that's second to none. Cascata and Shadow Creek offer the same world-class service but in secluded spots that take you away from the hustle and bustle that is Vegas. Here, it's just you and the golf course.

Bali Hai Golf Club: Lee Schmidt and Brian Curley's design on the Strip's south end has three of the finest finishing holes anywhere -- a short par 3 with an island green and two PGA Tour-length par 4s. The 18th features a deep blue pond with a white-sand beach guarding the green.

Wynn: Luxury with a capital "L" awaits with 18 holes situated on the north end of the famed Strip right in the back yard of the Wynn resort. The 18th here is also stunning with a gigantic waterfall to finish off the round with a tough-as-nails hole.

Cascata: Located 20 minutes southeast of Vegas is a Rees Jones spectacular. The name Cascata means waterfall and one runs down and through the clubhouse (really). On the course, 18 magnificent challenges await with an equal number of great challenges on par 3s, par 4s and par 5s. Again, this one has an 18th hole that is as memorable as they come.

Shadow Creek: This is Tom Fazio at his finest. Hidden in the Northeast section of Vegas are 18 perfectly designed holes. From start to finish, players are treated like they are the only ones on the course that day (and they just might be - although you might run into someone like Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods in the locker room).

There you have it, choices for a wild, golf-and-fun-filled weekend.

Are there more choices? Absolutely. But remember, don't overdo it. After all, there's always next weekend.


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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