Saddled with a golf-addicted spouse? Las Vegas could be your vacation full house

By Chris Baldwin, Contributor

LAKE LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Your spouse is a golf nut and you're not. In fact, you couldn't tell the difference between a 9-iron and a waffle iron and you have no desire to find out, which makes planning nearly every vacation a potential battleground.

The Falls golf course
The dramatic drops of The Falls can help lure your golf-obsessed spouse to Las Vegas.
The Falls golf courseThe Las Vegas StripThe Gucci Store in Las Vegas

Your golfing better half is pushing for some place where he or she can play interesting courses designed by big name architects. The kind of courses that will give them plenty of stories to brag to the buddies and co-workers about back home. Only, you know from experience, that this can mean a string of boring days stuck in a hotel room or an outlet mall for you, the golf widow or golf widower.

Who can ever forget those two weeks in Myrtle Beach your golf-obsessed partner talked you into? No matter how much one tries.

The time to make your pitch is definitely now. You need a destination that's going to wow your Golf Channel-fixated spouse, while providing you with even more fun opportunities. It's time to think Las Vegas.

Don't just start gushing about the new casino, the spas that could pass for palaces or the nonstop excitement though. And don't even think of mentioning those "What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas" TV commercials.

This is a sell that must be made diplomatically. Push the Vegas sizzle angle too hard and your spouse will become convinced that his or her golf love is not being taken seriously. Instead, start leaving brochures or Internet story printouts around your house featuring Las Vegas golf courses like Jack Nicklaus' crowd-pleasing Bear's Best Golf Club, Bali Hai Golf Club on the Strip, Tom Weiskopf's dramatically showy The Falls, Tom Fazio's hidden desert hideaway Primm Valley Golf Club and Pete Dye's Herculean punishing Wolf Course at Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort.

Once a spouse who's version of a racy dream involves a hole-in-one starts reading about Las Vegas golf and how it's evolved in the last decade, you won't have to push anything.

"I call it letting nature take its course," said Cindy Reilson of Houston, who long convinced her golf-committed husband that Las Vegas was their perfect regular dual satisfying vacation spot. "Let them tell you how great it is and that you need to go. Of course, you secretly help them along in deciding it's great by dropping little clues. But make sure they think it's their idea.

"What wife doesn't know how to do that?"

The scene

Kicking back on the patio of Falls Golf Club, feet up and golf bags at their side, Randy Shuck and Ty Tvedten look like the picture of contentment. They'd just finished a round of Weiskopf's dizzying climbs, steep plunges and dazzling views. The sun's shinning bright. It's not too hot, not too cold. It's the end of a week-long run of high-end Vegas golf.

What could be better?

The two Tampa buddies wear the smug smile of guys certain that they've pulled one over on their unsuspecting wives.

"Our wives love it when we come to Vegas to golf," Tvedeton said.

"Yeah, this is one golf trip where they don't give us any hassle at all," Shuck said.

Where are their wives now?

"Back at the hotel, in the casino or shopping," Tvedeton said.

Tvedeton and Shuck's smiles slowly dissolved.

"Credit cards," Shuck said simply. "They're can do a lot more damage in five hours in Vegas than we can in five hours out here on the golf course."

"You know, considering what you could spend in one hour gambling, this is probably the cheapest place we can be in town," Tvedeton said, not so excitedly.

Who outsmarted whom?

What's in it for you?

Las Vegas may be the leisure consumer capital of the world. Feel free to let your golf-fixated partner take the car or the rental. One of the great things about Las Vegas as a place for the non-golfing spouse to go is that everything that you could possibly want to relax can be found on one street. It's a huge street, the sprawling Strip, but it's still hard to beat the pure convenience.

It's also much more than mere gambling.

Rodeo Drive holds nothing on the Las Vegas of today. In fact, there's no way Beverly Hills can compete with Sin City in high-end shops in terms of numbers and accessibility. One of the great things about Vegas' shopping scene is you're not going to get much attitude when you walk into a Gucci, a Prada or a Dior shop here. There's little prejudging your purchasing power in Las Vegas.

It's Vegas, no one knows who might have gotten rich (or at least flush with unexpected disposable income) overnight.

Even celebrity popular boutiques such as Burberry, Mikimoto and Jimmy Choo (which can all found at the Venetian) seem to understand this.

Then again, you can hate shopping, despise the excess, and still enjoy Vegas while your other half golfs. Once the province of hokey desert-only acts, the Carrot Tops and George Wallaces of the modern world, the Sin City entertainment scene's taken on more of a sophisticated air (though if you really want Carrot Top, you can still get your Carrot Top).

Wynn Las Vegas has brought "Avenue Q," one of the most ingenious adult puppet shows you're ever going to see, from Broadway to The Strip (watch out for the Porn Monster puppet). Celine Dion is such an event at Caesars Palace that the casino built a special theater just for her and fans come from around the world and dress up in their Sunday morning and Saturday night best to see the show. Cirque de Soleil - the cutting edge mix of acrobatics and theatrics - has so many productions in Las Vegas, it's hard to keep track of them all.

If you really want to step away, to escape from all the hustle, Sin City might surprisingly be your answer as well. Spas are the new status symbols for the top end hotels here, from the glitzy behemoths on The Strip to more secluded, subdued getaways like Lake Las Vegas' Hyatt Regency to Summerlin's JW Marriott Resort.

Often one member of a couple is at the spa while the other's on the golf course.

Just not necessarily the one you expect.

"We're seeing more men go to the spa while their wives golf," Hyatt Sales Manager Eileen Crawford said.

It's Las Vegas, the choices are all yours. Once you get your golf-loving spouse to realize this is where they need to be.

Chris BaldwinChris Baldwin, Contributor

Chris Baldwin keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation.


 
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