Las Vegas' Summerlin community the place for golfers with a taste for the wild side
LAS VEGAS - If you savor all-night parties, gambling, spectacular shows and life in the fast lane, then there's no substitute for staying on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip. If you're thinking about golf courses and relaxation - with maybe a sprinkle of wildness - then the community of Summerlin might be the winning hand on your next trip to Vegas.
Named for Howard Hughes' grandmother, Jean Amelia Summerlin, this Las Vegas community of less than 40 square miles isn't even 20 years old, but it has some of the best golf in the region as well as world-class accommodations and casinos. The reclusive billionaire bought the property some 50 years ago for next to nothing. It remained idle for decades, but in the past few years, development has been fast and furious. Located just 20 minutes from the Strip, the area is quickly gaining a reputation for its golf, fine dining and great accommodations, said Tony Lenzie, director of golf at Siena Golf Club in Summerlin.
"We tell people that all the time," Lenzie said. "If you come to a place like Summerlin, you've got everything close by."
Siena, a player-friendly Lee Schmidt-Brian Curley design, is one of a handful of top-notch golf courses open to the public in Summerlin. Siena and its sister course, Arroyo at Red Rock Country Club, as well as the TPC Las Vegas also have ties to Summerlin resorts and hotels, many of which offer stay-and-play packages.
Arroyo at Red Rock and Siena, for example, have an official agreement with the new Red Rock Casino Resort Spa, which is just a few minutes from both golf courses. Opened in 2006 by Station Casinos, Red Rock Casino Resort Spa cost more than $1 billion, making it the most expensive resort ever built off the Strip. It has a three-acre pool, large European spa, an expansive movie theater and one of the most spectacular bowling centers in the world. The resort was created to reflect the splendor of Red Rock Canyon, the state park that is in easy view from the resort.
Golf is just one of the many amenities offered by Red Rock Casino Resort Spa, and guests of the hotel can book their tee times through the concierge there. Green fees are simply billed through the hotel. "It's one-stop shopping," Lenzie said.
Meanwhile the JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort and Spa has an official partnership with the TPC Las Vegas, although most of the hotels work with all the courses in the area. The JW Marriott provides complimentary shuttle service to the TPC Las Vegas, which is just five minutes from the resort.
"The JW Marriott is our official hotel partner, but you can also book packages through the PGA Tour Experience with Red Rock Resort as well," said Brad Church, director of marketing for TPC Las Vegas, formerly known as The TPC Canyons. "Red Rock [Resort] is just 10 minutes away."
Church said there are stay-and-play packages that not only include golf at this excellent Bobby Weed-Ray Floyd design, but can also include a lesson package for anyone looking to get away and improve their game. The TPC Las Vegas features the TOUR Academy, headed up by Director of Instruction Sean Lanyi. Like many top golf schools, the Academy uses the latest in video analysis equipment, but the lesson doesn't end in Las Vegas. The school records each lesson complete with instructor's comments, and can e-mail it to its clients after their stay.
Like the Red Rock Resort, the JW Marriott is also a young property that boasts a litany of amenities. Its 50 acres of lushly landscaped grounds include a resort pool with waterfalls and whirlpools, oversized guest rooms, 11 restaurants and lounges as well as the 40,000-square-foot Aquae Sulis Spa & Salon. Guests can also go hiking, biking and climbing at nearby Red Rock Canyon.
Meanwhile, Arroyo at Red Rock and Siena are both Jamison properties. The connection between the Arnold Palmer-designed Arroyo at Red Rock Country Club and Red Rock Resort is natural because of the names, said Siena's Lenzie, but he encourages resort guests to play both courses. Often, when it's difficult to get a tee time at Arroyo, Siena will have plenty available. Both courses have undergone significant improvements over the past couple of years.
Late summer is also a great time to realize package savings. When it's hot, room rates are usually less expensive, and green fees, especially in the afternoon, can be deeply discounted. "There can be some great deals this time of year," said TPC Las Vegas' Church.
July 29, 2008