Weekend in Vegas: How to Spend Your 72 Hours

By Shane Sharp, Contributor

LAS VEGAS, NV - Everyone who visits Vegas has their schtick. For some it's the mundane pull, cha, cha, cha, clang of the slots. For others it's fast-paced games of chance like craps and roulette. For every red-blooded American male sports fan, however, the recipe for an entertaining, if not lucrative afternoon in Sin City is simple: sports books and video poker, baby.

It doesn't necessarily have to be this way.

Find a good sports book at one of the major casinos, grab a video poker station in front of the collection of big screen televisions and a complimentary hot tadi and you're in business. And don't feel guilty about feeding the bookies your hard-earned cash and the poker machine your spare change - everyone's doing it. After all, you probably just laid down 200 large for a round of golf at Reflection Bay or some other high dollar resort course, so what's a couple hundred more bucks?

Breaking it Down

Local gambling experts (if you are ever hit with this title, immediately check into rehab) say that college football is the way to go. Too much parity in the NFL, too much laying down and playing dead in the NBA, and too much thinking involved to bet the World Series, they say. Here are a few sure things, courtesy of LasVegasGolf.com.

Auburn vs. Florida: Florida has over 1200 golf courses. Alabama has the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. Florida has the World Golf Village. Alabama has the world's second largest collection of NASCAR fans. Florida is home to Tiger Woods, Mark O'Meara and lots of boy bands. Alabama has "Sweet Home Alabama." Auburn's a nice college town. Gainesville's not. Advantage: Push.

Notre Dame vs. Air Force: Indiana is the former home of Bob Knight. Colorado Springs isn't. You can play golf seven months out of the year in South Bend. You can play golf 6 months and 29 days out of the year in Colorado Springs. Indiana has Fuzzy and Larry Legend. Colorado has spoiled movie stars in Aspen. Advantage: Irish.

North Carolina vs. Virginia: North Carolina has Pinehurst, mountain golf courses, coastal golf courses, and generally speaking, just a boatload of golf courses. Virginia has Williamsburg and some nice mountain resorts. North Carolina has Davis Love III. Virginia has Curtis Strange, but he went to college at Wake Forest ... in North Carolina. North Carolina hasn't beat Virginia in Charlottesville in something like 20 years. Virginia is the surprise team of the ACC. North Carolina is still surprised Mack Brown left for Texas. Advantage: Cavaliers.

South Carolina vs. LSU: South Carolina has Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head and Charleston. Louisiana has 'Nawlens (are there any golf courses in 'Nawlens? Who cares!) Columbia is a great place to put the top down on the convertible. New Orleans is a great place for women to take off their tops. The Tiger's starting quarterback is out with an injury, but New Orleans is still a great place for women to ... Advantage: LSU.

The Vegas Golf Elevator

On the way up

Las Vegas Paiute Resort has three courses and some of the most jaw-dropping scenery in the valley ... Reflection Bay just added a new 18-hole desert resort course designed by Tom Weiskopf, an excellent complement to the existing Florida-esque layout from the Golden Bear ... Speaking of the Golden Bear, "Bear's Best" is a commemorative collection of Nicklaus' greatest golf holes - a Jack Nicklaus tribute to Jack Nicklaus, if you will ... Wolf Creek at Paradise Canyon in Mesquite, designed by layman Dennis Rider, is hands down one of the top five courses in Nevada. Rider served ass and environmental consultant to Arnold Palmer in designing the neighboring Palms and the Oasis Golf Clubs. According to locals, Rider designed the course using mental imagery. Dununununu, be the ball, Danny.

On the way down

Uh, not the price of golf in Vegas. If you want to knock it around Reflection Bay, Paiute Resort, Rio Secco, The Revere at Anthem, TPC Badlands or Canyons, you'll easily be shelling out between $150 to $250 a round this time of year ... Are we the only ones who don't care for "themed" golf courses? The Revere is based on a Revolutionary War motif, with each hole "cleverly" appointed with names like "Midnight Ride and "King's Chapel." Bali Hai Golf Club, just off the Strip, is an excellent track. But the South Pacific theme is a bit hard to buy into as planes from nearby McCarran International Airport zoom overhead.

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 TravelGolf.com from 1997 to 2003.

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