Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort's three Pete Dye courses come back to life, post flood

By Bill Bowman, Contributor

Aug. 25, 2013. It's a date that will never be forgotten at Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort.

Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort – Sun Mountain - 2nd
Paiute's Sun Mountain Course will still be player friendly when it reopens.
Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort – Sun Mountain - 2ndLas Vegas Paiute Golf Resort – Snow Mountain – 18thLas Vegas Paiute Golf Resort – Wolf Course – hole 10

Rain-induced flooding sent hundreds of thousands of gallons of water rushing over, around and through all three golf courses (Snow Mountain Course, Sun Mountain Course and Wolf Course), wreaking havoc on the resort. Silt and rock were everywhere. Turf was under water. Natural vegetation around the course was destroyed. Equipment was severely damaged.

After the water finally receded, millions of dollars in damage -- including operating costs, loss of income and construction costs -- impacted three of the best golf courses in Las Vegas.

After three weeks of hard work, all three courses are coming back to life. The end result: The Snow Mountain Course, the original, reopened on Oct. 1 to rave reviews. The Sun Mountain Course is set to reopen on Nov. 1. The Wolf Course is slated to reopen Jan. 1 and possibly sooner.

"Our main focus was to not only get the courses ready to open, but to make sure that when we do open them, they are up to the quality conditions that we are known for," said Chad Gunier, general manager at Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort. "We have an amazing staff that put in a lot of hours to get these courses into shape."

How much manpower? Well, in addition to the 55 employees on the maintenance crew, more than 70 other personnel were brought in to help get the courses back to their original layouts.

"We maintained the original layouts of the courses because we wanted to keep the integrity of the Pete Dye designs intact," Gunier said.

So, 21 acres of sod were brought in (five acres on Snow Mountain, five acres on Wolf and 11 acres on Sun Mountain), tons of sand was replaced and pumping stations were repaired.

"It's important for us to make sure the beauty of the area comes back," Gunier said. "We have natural wildlife areas that were impacted, but only about 5 to 10 percent. But we really want to bring those areas back not only for the wildlife, but for the golfers. We've got three great courses in a natural, beautiful setting."

And one of the best things: None of the 54 greens was impacted, leaving players with the lush, true-rolling greens they've come to love.

Gunier said when Snow Mountain reopened "it was in phenomenal shape. The players we've had come out are just amazed."

With the Snow Mountain Course reopening, there was still a calendar of problems to overcome, including the loss of more than 15,000 rounds in September and October.

"We had to move as many players who had tee times as we could to just the one course," Gunier said. "And then we had to accommodate a lot of our groups elsewhere. It all went pretty smoothly."

The three courses, located in northwest Las Vegas, all share a common bond -- tranquility.

Snow Mountain, the original course, stretches to 7,164 yards and is known for its great par 3s. And that includes the fourth, a 180-yarder that is all carry over water. Three bunkers around the green catch their share of errant tee shots and add to the challenge.

Sun Mountain, the middle design, is also known to be very player-friendly. At 7,112 yards, it is the shortest of the three but also has its share of challenges, including the 404-yard, par-4 finishing hole. With water down the entire left side and bunkers on the right, finding the fairway is a must. A large bunker guarding the right side of the green adds to the test.

And then there's the Wolf. At 7,604 yards, it's the longest course in the state. With rolling fairways and elevation changes, it's a wonderful test of golf. Throw in the 182-yard, par-3 15th hole -- complete with an island green -- and you have a golf experience you won't soon forget.

Next up to open is the Sun Mountain.

"We're ahead of schedule," Gunier said of the Nov. 1 deadline. "Twelve of the 18 holes on the Sun were impacted with a majority of the damage done around the lake on the fifth hole."

Overall, Gunier said players will be impressed with the comeback the resort has made.

"The big thing was we wanted to make sure we opened up with quality conditions our customers expect," Gunier said. "And we did just that."

Gunier predicts better -- and brighter -- days are ahead at the Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort.

"Throughout the entire process our loyal golfers and supporters have been very supportive," he said.

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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