Now's the time to book a Las Vegas golf vacation

By Mike Bailey, Senior Staff Writer

Economically speaking - to loosely quote Charles Dickens - this may be the worst of times. However, it may be the best of times to take a Las Vegas golf vacation.

Bellagio Fountain at Night
Luxurious hotels like the Bellagio are making attractive offers to visitors.
Bellagio Fountain at NightSiena Golf Club - Hole 16Royal Links Golf Club - FairwaysFreemont Street - Downtown Las Vegas

Feeling the economic crunch just like the rest of the world, Las Vegas hotels, casinos, hotels and entertainment venues are offering incentives to make sure guests keep pouring into southern Nevada. Whether you're looking for a place to stay, a place to eat, a show to see or any other attraction, you can find a few bargains in Las Vegas these days.

Even getting to Las Vegas nowadays is fairly economical. Airfares from most major cities in early 2009 are running about $200 or less. And with gas prices less than half of what they were six months ago, driving from nearby states isn't a bad option either.

The incentives and discounts being offered by resorts are as good as they've been for quite some time, according to John DeMarco, managing director of

"In many cases, resorts at all pricing levels have slashed their rates in an effort to attract guests to their properties," DeMarco said. "Even 'high end' properties such as the Bellagio, Venetian and Mandalay Bay have offered amazing room deals to entice guests."

Indeed, the luxurious Bellagio, for example, as of press time had an online promotion for a free third night after staying two nights, or rates on some nights as low as $129. There's also a Caesar's Palace special for as little as $125 a night, including a $25 dining credit. Or if you wanted to go off the Las Vegas Strip, you could stay at one of the Station Casino properties for $15 off the regular rate by booking online.

Save on Las Vegas green fees too

Many of these resorts are also offering packages with golf. And depending on the days you want to go, you might be able to strike some pretty good deals.

There's also plenty of incentive to plan ahead. For example, if you book online ahead of time, you can play courses like Arroyo at Red Rock or Siena Golf Club in Summerlin for as little as $99, or the Badlands Golf Club for $50. Silverstone Golf Club, a 27-hole Bob Cupp design about 20 minutes from the Strip, is offering online rates as low as $70.

You can also find packages that bundle courses such as the Lexington and Concord golf courses at the Revere at Anthem together with courses like Silverstone Golf Club and Painted Desert for special rates.

Or if you book tee times at Walters Golf properties - such as the tropical-themed Bali Hai Golf Club located on the Strip, the British Open tribute of Royal Links or Desert Pines Golf Club - 45 days or more in advance and pay at the time of booking, you can get an additional 30 percent off the quoted rate.

Las Vegas nightlife

After golf, of course, it's time to hit the tables or take in a show or two. Lately, some shows have been offering two-for-one admission or discounted tickets. Hotels also are packaging some shows with dinners. For example, all six Cirque du Soleil shows, including the new Criss Angel Belief show at the Luxor, are offering packages that include dinners at one of the respective hotel's restaurants.

There is also plenty to do for little or no charge if you are looking to save a little money. In addition to attractions such as the downtown Las Vegas Freemont Street Experience, the Bellagio Fountains show and the Sirens of Treasure Island pirate show, the volcano attraction in front of the Mirage just reopened. The Mirage partnered with Wet Design, which was behind the Bellagio Fountains, for the new show, which features fire shooters and a tribal-themed background beat by Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart.

And despite the economic downturn, don't expect the shows to run dry, said Alicia Malone, spokesperson for the Las Vegas Visitors and Convention Authority. Divas Bette Midler and Cher, for example, replaced Celine Dion at Caesar's Palace, the Broadway production of Disney's "The Lion King" comes to Mandalay Bay in May, and ventriloquist Terry Fator, of "America's Got Talent" fame, opens a long-term engagement at the Mirage in March.

"We're continuing to bring in more shows and attractions and will continue to develop the destination even during these economic times," Malone said.

Mike BaileyMike Bailey, Senior Staff Writer

Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in Houston. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America with an occasional trip to Europe and beyond, 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 25 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 @MikeBaileyGA and Instagram at @MikeStefanBailey.

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