Vegas courses for guys who like courses: Meaty tracks for men

By Shane Sharp, Contributor

LAS VEGAS -- Big, fat stogies, trash talk and money games -- Vegas is such a testosterone soaked golf destination it should be submitted for random drug testing. In the grand scheme of western golf meccas, Hawaii is for honeymooning hackers. Scottsdale, Phoenix and Palm Springs cater to club toting couples.

But Vegas, baby, is for da boyz.

Sin City used to be all about gaming with the guyz. The casinos wanted you on that floor. They needed you on that floor. And don't get us wrong -- they still pine for you like Ben for Jen. But since the mid '90s, the Strip has become increasingly tolerant, if not down right accepting, of the area's myriad of upscale golf offerings.

"There are a handful of courses out here that provide a championship experience and the conditions to match," says Todd Heskett of Las Vegas Golf Travel, a local golf packaging company.

According to Heskett, a glut of guy-groups are requesting the TPC Canyons, The Wolf at Las Vegas Paiute Resort and the Lexington Course at the Revere at Anthem. Heskett and the LVGT staff have TPC rated a "4" (out of 5), the Lexington Course a 4.5 and the Wolf a white-hot 5.

"The Lexington Course is in as good of or better condition than any course in Las Vegas," Heskett says. "It is also a tougher course than people think. Paiute is always popular, year round."

So if you and your crew stand ready to get your man on, try tackling these virile venues.

TPC Canyons (Man-o-meter reading: 8.5) -- Playing where the pros play is always sound policy, and the TPC Canyons in swanky Summerlin is part of the twin bill (along with TPC Summerlin) that hosts the PGA Tour's Las Vegas Invitational. The Bobby Weed design stretches to just over 7,000 yards from the cranks, but plays longer as a par-71. The 131 slope rating belies a course with more teeth, especially on the par 4s.

Reflection Bay, Lake Las Vegas Resort (Man-o-meter reading: 8) -- Reflection Bay is New Jack City -- a playable circuit that bears little resemblance to the Golden Bear's circa 1980s death marches. But with a respectable slope of 138 from the tips, RB is resort course overture with championship golf undertones. The overall experience is totally man, replete with Coppertone co-ed cart girls and a country club esque men's locker room.

Wolf Course Las Vegas Paiute Resort (Man-o-meter reading: 10) -- Hoooowwwl. All man, all the time. The Wolf is the longest course in the state (7,511 yards) and it was designed by Pete Dye. Nuff said. Sure, but this wily hound is worth a few more words. If the hairs on your arms don't stand up when peering out at the 172-yard par-3 eighth (don't go right) check your pulse. And if it's strong finishes ye dig, check out this closing triumvirate: 427, 486, and 496. Did we mention they're all par 4s?

Badlands, Desperado/Diablo nines (Man-o-meter reading: 9.5) -- Contrary to popular belief, not the subject of the 1973 cult classic staring Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek. Rather, rather a product of edgy NBC golf commentator and former play-uh Johnny Miller. The 27-hole facility doles out nine-hole pairings by time of day. A crack of dawn tee time often yields the coveted Desperado/Diablo coupling that produces one of the toughest tests west of the Pecos. Since opening in 1995, B-lands usually gets the nod as Sin City's most grueling golf gauntlet. Spray shots are stray shots on this demanding target layout.

Royal Links (Man-o-meter reading: 9) -- Build an 18-hole golf course inspired by the notorious holes of the British Open? Brilliant! What could be manlier than a surreal sojourn to golf's Holy Land? Royal Links comes courtesy of the Walters Golf empire, replete with faux Scottish clubhouse, bagpipe player and forecaddies. Stand on the tee box of Royal Troon's famous par-3 "Postage Stamp" hole, or behind the green on the 322-yard par-4 12th hole where Tiger Woods hit his tee shots during the 2000 British Open to take the penal fairway bunkers out of play.

Revere at Anthem, Lexington Course (Man-o-meter reading: 7) -- The seemingly forgiving, bowl-shaped fairways at this Greg Nash/Billy Casper are fool's gold. The Lexington Course is a player's track chock-full of elevation changes, blind shots and precarious lies on wavy landing areas. Dead-eye drivers of the golf ball will dig this proverbial shot makers course up and through the arduous finishing stretch of 16,17, and 18.

Shane SharpShane Sharp, Contributor

Shane Sharp is vice president of Buffalo Communications, a golf and lifestyle media agency. He was a writer, senior writer and managing editor of from 1997 to 2003.

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