Country club living: It's all about style in Las Vegas

By Bill Bowman, Contributor

LAS VEGAS -- Face it, golf and Las Vegas go hand-in-hand. But for some, this combination goes beyond just playing the game. They crave turning it into a lifestyle. And Vegas has plenty of country club options to fit just about any lifestyle.

Red Rock Country Club
Red Rock Country Club caters to those who demand the best in golf and other amenities.
Red Rock Country ClubTPC Las Vegas - clubhouse

Spanish Trail Country Club, Red Rock Country Club, Anthem Country Club and TPC Las Vegas are just a handful of the spots on this private club scene that cater to those who demand the best in golf and other amenities. From pools to spas to tennis courts to world-class restaurants, it's all right at your fingertips at these clubs. Sit back, relax and take a little trip through just a few of the options available.

Pick your price range to get started. Country club living starts with an initiation fee. In Vegas, that range is usually between $15,000 and $50,000 at most courses. Golfers pay the initiation fee and then pay monthly dues for unlimited golf.

At Spanish Trail Country Club, a 640-acre gated community that opened in 1983, members have 27 holes of Robert Trent Jones Jr. splendor to choose from. The Lakes, Canyon and Sunrise nines combine tree-lined fairways, a plethora of white-sand bunkers, more than a dozen crystal-blue lakes and velvet-soft greens to entice players of any caliber.

A number of membership options start around $15,000 (some are higher, some are lower) including golf resident, golf non-resident, junior golf, social resident (non-golfing) and others.

Jesse Thorpe, general manager at Spanish Trail, says there's one simple rule that has helped drive the success of the club: "We're here to take care of people."

Thorpe adds that a big difference between Spanish Trail and other clubs is member involvement. "We're the only private not-for-profit member-owned course in town and that means our members have an integral say in what the club does," he says.

Sue May has been a member at Spanish Trail since 1985.

"It was the only game in town when I got here," she says. "Spanish Trail was brand new and I wanted to live on a golf course. ... Not across the street, on the golf course. It's probably the best bargain in town because we have three nines so you can come in and be assured of playing within 30 minutes. And the people really treat you well. It's personalized treatment and let's face it, everyone wants to feel important."

At Anthem Country Club, the 18-hole Hale Irwin/Keith Foster design also has membership options. From $49,500 for Anthem residents and $52,000 for members outside the community, there's an option to fit just about any lifestyle such as a young executive golf membership for those ages 23-29 for $15,000 that provides full golf access. The membership for Anthem, which opened for play in 1999, will close at 490 golfers. Social memberships are also available here.

The course itself is quite a drawing card. Stretching to 7,267 yards from the tips, it's a quick drive from the Las Vegas Strip or McCarran International Airport, adding to the convenience. Lakes, waterfalls, desert terrain and challenging elevation changes add to the excitement. Five sets of tees make it player-friendly. The views from many of the tee boxes and greens are breathtaking.

Warren Best has been a member at Anthem for a year and a half and figures he has the ideal spot. "I love the community and the course has a great layout," he says. "From the championship tees it's a real test and it's absolutely playable for everybody. The fairways are wide and the greens are large, but you still have to play well to score."

And the workers at the club? "They really cater to the members and do a fantastic job. If you're looking to play great golf and have a good time, this is the place."

In the northwest part of Vegas is Red Rock Country Club which opened in 1999. It's now home to 36 holes of Arnold Palmer-designed excellence. The Mountain Course has been designated as the private 18-hole layout at the club. But the new Arroyo Course is open to public play, which gives everyone a chance to find out what Red Rock is all about.

Memberships, with deposits in the $40,000 range, include golf, executive, sports and social options. A quick 15-minute ride from the airport brings guests to the base of Red Rock Canyon (hence the name) and a course players won't soon forget.

An elegantly appointed clubhouse features some of the best dining options in the city and the views of the surrounding Red Rock area as well as the city below are breathtaking.

Gary Amaral, a Red Rock member for three years, is not only impressed with the golf course, he's impressed with the area. "I honestly feel the facilities here are second to none," says Amaral. "The membership and the staff are wonderful and above and beyond everything else, it's a great place to play golf."

At TPC Las Vegas, the course will take players on a green-blanketed tour through some of the finest housing in Vegas. Stunning views add to the Fuzzy Zoeller/Bobby Weed 18-hole design that first opened to play in 1992. TPC Las Vegas sports nearly 450 members and with amenities such as a stylish clubhouse, swimming pool, tennis courts and much more, membership here is a great way of life. Membership deposits range from $40,000 for a personal golf membership down to a $7,500 deposit for a junior golf membership.

The course itself is a masterpiece with several risk/reward opportunities. The par-4 15th may be the best of these holes. The 315-yard hole is driveable, but a false front and bunkers guarding the left and right sides of the green make it a risky shot.

"It truly is the people that make TPC Las Vegas great," says Don Barnhart, a member of this club. "Our crew is constantly looking for ways to improve. Improve. And improve, some more."

Golf and Vegas: It doesn't get much better than this. Until you add a country club lifestyle.

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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