Old-time golf courses with traditional styles dot the Las Vegas valley
LAS VEGAS -- Tradition and Vegas don't always go hand-in-hand. Especially when mega-resorts try to one-up each other on a seemingly yearly basis. The same isn't always true on the golf courses.
The tried-and-true formats and formulas that have worked for years and years still keep golfers coming back to Las Vegas because of the comfort of the courses, the designs and, best of all, the playability.
Here are 10 Las Vegas golf courses players can count on to give them a golf experience they won't soon forget. There may not be a lot of bells and whistles to distract players from their main goal -- great golf -- but in most people's eyes, they wouldn't have it any other way.
Angel Park Golf Club
Angel Park Golf Club has got it all. Two solid Arnold Palmer designs, the unique Cloud Nine Short Course and the nine-hole, natural-grass putting course gives players all the variety they can handle. Off the tee, the Mountain and Palm courses will challenge golfers with a few tough forced carries.
Arroyo Golf Club at Red Rock
Another Palmer design, Bermuda grass fairways and bentgrass greens showcase a stunning design at Arroyo Golf Club at Red Rock. Add in 68 strategically placed bunkers, and you've got a layout at Arroyo G.C. that will stand the test of time.
Desert Pines Golf Club
Desert Pines Golf Club, a Dye-designed course, isn't Vegas-traditional, but those with Carolina roots (or who have visited) will notice the similarities. Mature pine trees line tight fairways, and brilliant white-sand bunkers offer a stunning contrast to those lush green fairways. Water, a staple at Desert Pines Golf Club, comes into play on half of the holes. The ninth and 18th greens are two of the best finishing holes in Las Vegas, with bunkers and water testing even the best golfers to pull the proper club.
Las Vegas National Golf Club
If Las Vegas National Golf Club is good enough for Tiger Woods, it should be good enough for other traditionalists. Woods played the course en route to winning his first PGA Tour event in 1996 at the Las Vegas Invitational.
This Bert Stamps design, opened in 1961, has undergone more name changes than Prince (Stardust C.C., Sahara C.C., Las Vegas Hilton C.C. and others), but what hasn't changed is the straightforward layout, which features perfectly placed bunkers, long par 3s (three of them play more than 200 yards from the tips) and great finishing holes on each nine.
Painted Desert Golf Club
Vegas and desert golf courses are traditional, but Painted Desert Golf Club is a little different in that it also offers golfers wide landing areas and receptive greens. Jay Moorish brings the look and feel of desert golf to life at Painted Desert, but makes it playable for everyone.
Primm Valley Golf Club
Primm Valley Golf Club features two excellent traditional layouts by mastermind Tom Fazio. Located 35 minutes south of Vegas, the Desert and Lakes courses greet golfers with lush green fairways and deep blue lakes (the second hole on each course is both a picturesque and diabolical use of ponds). Both courses feature risk/reward par 5s and customer service that is second to none.
Revere Golf Club
Billy Casper and Greg Nash teamed up to take "traditional" to new heights at Revere Golf Club. The Lexington and Concord courses weave their way beautifully over and through foothills in Henderson. But it's the elevation changes to and from tee boxes and greens that add to the challenge. Throw in dramatic views of the Vegas valley and terrific shot-making tests, and you've got two courses that will keep you coming back for more.
Siena Golf Club
If bunkers are your game, this Schmidt/Curley layout at Siena Golf Club is for you. More than 90 bunkers stand guard on this course that features another tradition that many golfers seek -- multi-tiered greens. Bring your best game -- and a hot putter -- to Siena; it'll challenge even the best players in your group.
TPC Las Vegas
As challenging as they come, but in the grand scheme of things this one's a beauty. Formerly TPC at The Canyons, TPC Las Vegas -- designed by Bobby Weed with consultation from Raymond Floyd -- takes players over, around and sometimes through canyons on a breathtaking roller coaster ride.
With fairways coming devilishly close to deep canyons, be careful when looking for that lost golf ball as it's a long way down -- better to just take that drop and move on.
Chimera Golf Club
One of Vegas' most recent layouts, Chimera Golf Club, Ted Robinson's design, is a traditionalists' dream -- straightforward but demanding. What you see is what you get with a few elevated shots coming into play, especially to the course's best hole, the water-guarded 18th. Take your best shot as your round is coming to a close -- you'll need it.
October 6, 2009