If you don't think Las Vegas golf courses have great water holes, you're all wet

By Bill Bowman, Contributor

LAS VEGAS -- Okay, we get it -- we're in a desert here in Las Vegas. And there are plenty of desert golf courses here to showcase that fact as they take advantage of the landscape with ribbons of fairways slicing through the desert terrain.

Bali Hai Golf Club - hole 16
A pond circles most of the green on Bali Hai's scenic 16th hole.
Bali Hai Golf Club - hole 16Wynn Golf Club - hole 18Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort - Wolf Course - 15thPrimm Valley Golf Club - Lakes Course - 2ndRio Secco Golf Club - hole 7Chimera Golf Club - 18th hole

But, we're here to whet (or wet) your appetite with one writer's top Las Vegas golf holes that incorporate water beautifully and dramatically.

Grab your clubs -- and in some cases your scuba gear -- and let's head to the tee.

No. 16 at Bali Hai Golf Club

Bali Hai's 16th hole is almost an island green. At 141 yards from the tips, it's certainly not a long hole. But throw in the pond that circles most of the green and add in the gallery of diners at Cili that may be watching you play -- and the excitement meter goes through the roof.

No. 15 on Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort's Wolf Course

The 15th hole on Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort's Wolf Course is an island green. And from the tips it stretches to 182 yards. Two small bunkers guard the front and back, but standing on the tee, even the green seems small.

No. 18 at Wynn Golf Club

Wynn Golf Club's 18th hole is stunning with a waterfall standing guard behind the green and a pond on the left. It's as tough as it is beautiful. There are also bunkers around the green adding to the challenge.

No. 2 on Primm Valley Golf Club's Lakes Course

The huge pond on the second hole of Primm Valley Golf Club's Lakes Course brings water into play on the drive, with the second shot -- and if players lay up -- on the third shot. With a myriad of bunkers also coming into play, par here is a good score. Put a birdie on your scorecard and you'll take money from your buddies.

No. 7 at Rio Secco Golf Club

Rio Secco's seventh hole, from the tips, has it all. Length: It's a healthy 208 yards. Water: A huge pond that laps from the tee all the way up to the front of the green. Green: Undulating and rolling from back to front (toward the water). Fortunately, there is bailout area to the right.

No. 3 on Silverstone Golf Club's Mountain Course

The third hole on the Mountain Course at Silverstone Golf Club is one to remember. First, it's one of the longest holes anywhere, a par 5 reaching a knee-knocking 653 yards. And second, there's a large pond that cuts in front of the green and borders it on the left. Second shots must be played to perfection to set up a good angle for approach shots.

No. 18 at Chimera Golf Club

The 18th at Chimera Golf Club is a stellar closing hole. Reaching 440 yards from the tips, the second shot will most likely come from a downhill lie to a green that is almost completely surrounded by a pond. Give it your best shot -- you're going to need it. One hint: If you're short off the tee, don't be afraid to lay up and hit a wedge and try to one-putt for par. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Chimera G.C. was formerly known as Tuscany Golf Club.)

No. 18 at Bear's Best Golf Club

The 18th hole at Bear's Best is not only long (463 yards from the tips) but it's also got a menacing pond that follows golfers up the entire right side of the hole. Tee shots must stay left, although a bunker does add a buffer between the fairway and the pond. Depending on the drive, the middle of the green is a great target with the second shot because the edge of the right side of the green drops off into the pond.

No. 3 at Rhodes Ranch Golf Club

The third hole at Rhodes Ranch Golf Club is a favorite among golfers and photographers so grab your camera as well as your clubs as you head to this beauty. The 227-yard hole (from the tips) is gorgeous -- until you realize it's a long way to the hole with many obstacles in your way. A pond on the right side is fed by a stream that cuts through the fairway as players near the green. A bunker short and three more behind the green get a lot of attention from those who choose to bail out and avoid getting wet.

No. 17 at Shadow Creek Golf Club

Shadow Creek Golf Club's 17th hole is stunning -- and terrorizing. At 164 yards, the distance is no problem. It's the deep-blue pond that fronts the green that can cause players to rethink their club choice. And then there's the green. It could be classified as postage stamp size, but that would be wrong -- it's smaller. Add in huge trees around the sides and behind the green and a couple of bunkers and you've got a picture-postcard hole. Make par or birdie here and you've made your round.

For many of these water holes, survival is the name of the game. But play them smartly and the only water you'll have to worry about will be the bottles in your cart's cooler.

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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