Finish strong with these tough closing holes in Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS -- Your round is going well. Amazingly well. In fact, you've never played better. But now you're staring at one of the toughest finishing holes in Las Vegas.
If it's the finishing hole at one of these six Las Vegas golf courses, you know you've got your hands full. But we're here to tell you that you shouldn't fear them because if you play your cards -- and shots -- right, you can finish off that record round in style.
The par-4 18th hole at Bali Hai, designed by Schmidt/Curley, features extreme length -- 486 yards.
One of the toughest parts of this hole is avoiding a strategically placed bunker off the tee at around 250 yards (from the tips). Staying right is the key to success here. The second shot will most likely be a long-iron (or hybrid) and certainly favors a fade as a lake and a beach-like bunker guard the front of the green.
There is a bailout area left if players want to play it safe and try to get up and down for a par. This is one hole that could hold its own on the PGA Tour.
The 18th at Bear's Best is a Jack Nicklaus masterpiece, replicated from PGA West's Resort Course in La Quinta.
It's got length (463 yards from the tips). It's got bunkers and water running along the entire right side of the fairway of this dogleg right hole. And it's got a green that seems to be perched atop the pond. And it's a par 4. Good luck.
But with a little smart play (a drive that favors the left side of the fairway and an approach to the middle or left of the green), players will have a chance to close this round with a par or hole a long birdie putt.
Don't be greedy. Just look over the edge of the pond at those who were. You'll see the results.
Length, once again, is the toughest foe on the Desert Hawk's finishing hole (No. 9).
The length of this par 4 is daunting enough at 480 yards, but throw in a huge pond and bunker off the tee and the challenge ramps up a notch. (Oh, if you want to carry the pond, better bring the big stick, because it's around 275 yards to reach dry land). Staying left on this dog-leg right will leave a long second shot to a false-front green with a stream cutting in front and a large bunker on the right.
There's not much room for bailout here so players need pin-point accuracy to finish off that round with a par (or perhaps a birdie).
This Rees Jones design's finishing hole is a lengthy par 5 (559 yards), and it also has a mountain of a challenge -- as in there's a mountain off to your left so there's no taking a shortcut up and over.
There's a stream that runs the left side of the hole and around the base of the mountain. Then it cuts through the fairway and runs into a pond that fronts the green. There's a bunker back-left of the green.
This one's a true three-shot hole (except for the biggest of hitters), but playing it smart and laying up with the second shot to get a good angle at the pin will leave players with a wedge -- and visions of greatness -- in their hands.
The Lakes Course at Primm Valley gets most of the publicity, but the 18th hole on the Desert Course is one to remember (or forget if you play it badly).
This Tom Fazio-designed hole -- a par 5 reaching just 517 yards off the tees -- gives players the chance to get home in two. A wide fairway lets players rip it off the tee. But then comes the decision: Do I go for it in two? Don't forget, this is your round to remember, so choose wisely.
Four huge (and deep) bunkers guard this green in front. Hit it in these, and getting up and down is no guarantee. But there is a nice bailout area to the right that can set up a nice wedge into this undulating green. Be sure to be on the proper level with your shot to give yourself the best putt. Otherwise, it can be a roller coaster ride.
The 18th hole on the Concord Course (designed by Billy Casper and Greg Nash) is a 551-yard par 5. It's vital to find the fairway off the tee as bunkers left and right squeeze down the fairway in the landing area.
The second shot is the key. Again, do I go for it or lay up? The answer is simple: Lay up. Going for it requires a pin-point shot as the narrow green is fronted by a deep desert wash, and nine bunkers guard the back of the green.
Lay up to wedge yardage, and take dead aim at the pin to give yourself a chance to finish this great round in style.
May 28, 2013