Standing pat will get you left behind in Las Vegas

By Shane Sharp, Contributor

LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- If there is one rule of thumb in Las Vegas when it comes to building a golf facility, it's never, ever succumb to mediocrity. So when a Boulder City committee headed by Brian Nix announced it was setting out to build the country's finest municipal golf course and the world's largest driving range, the locals looked up from their slot machines just long enough to nod their approval.

Three years (warp speed anywhere outside of Clark County) and $18 million later, the Boulder Creek Golf Club opened the doors to its 27-hole Mark Rathert designed golf course, nine-hole lighted par-3 course, and double-ended driving range. The entire 400-acre facility is owned by Boulder City and is open to the public as of early January. The course and practice range were built on land donated to the city by the Federal government during the construction of the Hoover Dam.

Rathert sought the advice of several touring professionals in laying out the course, including local-boy-made-good Chris Riley. Riley served as a consultant to Rathert during the design process and has agreed to represent the course on the PGA Tour. He will play with a Boulder Creek emblem on his golf bag.

Each nine features "oasis" holes carpeted with wall-to-wall grass, "arroyo" holes that make use of the natural washes that run through the property, and desert holes that require precision shotmaking. All par 4s and 5s have 100-yard wide player friendly fairways turfed with Tif Sport Bermuda and bentgrass greens. Boulder Creek fills the demand for an affordable golf in a county that has been overrun with upscale resort courses over the past five years.

Greens fees with cart will be $45 for residents and $65 - $80 for non-residents, depending upon time of day and year. The lighted par-3 course and the practice range will stay open until midnight, offering the area's casino workers a place to fine tune their games after work.

Las Vegas Paiute Resort eyes resort hotel

Paiute Resort officials have held preliminary discussions to set a ground-breaking date for a new multi-million dollar resort hotel. Paiute Resort is currently home to three award-winning Pete Dye designed courses, and plans call for a fourth Dye course that will showcase 18 of the master architect's favorite holes. The Wolf Course was the most recent 18-hole layout to open, and is currently the longest course in Nevada, at 7,600 yards.

Walters Golf's Bali Hai reaps rewards, Desert Pines to install new greens

GolfWeek recently recognized Bali Hai Golf Club as one of the Top 40 Resort Courses in the U.S., and the Bail Hai pro shop recently was named to the GolfWorld Business Top 100. The South Pacific themed course near Mandalay Bay houses seven acres of water features, 2,500 palm trees and more than 100,000 tropical plants. The popular clubhouse is home to Cili's Restaurant and Bar, which overlooks the 16th green.

Desert Pines, a Pinehurst themed course also owned and operated by Walters Golf, will be closed until March 1 while all 18 greens are rebuilt and regrassed. The course closed on Dec. 14 to address an agricultural phenomenon affecting its greens. A turf grass fungus caused the thinning of the bentgrass, resulting in putting surfaces that Walters Golf deemed unacceptable. The original plan was to resod and reseed the problem spots and to reopen Jan. 23, but Walters Golf has opted for wholesale changes.

"Billy Walters felt that in order to give our customers the best product possible, a piecemeal approach was not the best way to go," said Michael Levine of Walters Golf. "Walters Golf has set a high standard in golf course conditioning and Desert Pines will meet those standards."

Levine also said that El Grande Hombre -- a new course from Walters Golf that will be the longest in the state once completed -- is currently in the permitting stages and no date has been set for ground breaking or opening. The course will be located south of Las Vegas in the Spring Valley area.

Ritz Carlton to open at Lake Las Vegas, Fazio Course in permitting

The Ritz Carlton at Lake Las Vegas will open Feb. 11, due to construction delays and the grand opening is tentatively set for May. The upscale hotel originally was slated to open in mid-January to accommodate Super Bowl demand. The 350-room hotel is the centerpiece of the Mediterranean-themed MonteLago Village. The Ritz will house a 30,000-square foot spa, three restaurants and 25,000-square feet of meeting and banquet facilities.

"The Ritz is one of the final feathers in our cap," said Lake Las Vegas Resort's director of group sales, Dan Romstead. "Along with the MonteLago Village, it will provide a unique experience you won't find anywhere else in Las Vegas."

Romstead also said that permits are in place for construction of the resort's new Tom Fazio designed course, which is tentatively slated to open in the spring of 2005. Fazio has routed three different sets of finishing holes for the course due to a myriad of engineering concerns. The new course will carry either a resort or semi-private classification and will be available for play by guests of the Ritz Carlton or Hyatt Regency. Player/designer Greg Norman recently scoped out a potential layout above the new Falls Course, but Romstead said that the Fazio course is priority one.

"I would say that Norman's course is in the five-year plan," he said. "But for now we want to figure out the final holes of the Fazio course and get the practice range in place at the Falls Course."

Shane SharpShane Sharp, Contributor

Shane Sharp is vice president of Buffalo Communications, a golf and lifestyle media agency. He was a writer, senior writer and managing editor of from 1997 to 2003.

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment