Practice makes perfect: Vegas' best practice facilities
LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Slots, shows, world-class golf courses and restaurants - so much to do in Vegas, so little time. No matter which way you stack the cards in Sin City, a visit to the driving range or practice green will usually take a back seat to more hedonistic pursuits.
But for diehard travel golfers and locals who are dedicated to improving their games in between honing their blackjack skills, Las Vegas golf courses offer some of the best practice facilities in the desert Southwest. In keeping with the town's 24/7 mantra, there are plenty of lighted practice ranges that cater to casino workers and other late shift service industry employees.
So grab a driving station with a view, some sunscreen, and enjoy.
The Top Tier
Boulder Creek Golf Club: There's really nothing "muni" about Clark County's newest municipal golf course. The $18 million, 27-hole facility opened in January sporting a double-sided driving range, the longest lighted par 3 course in the state, a state-of-the-art learning center, behemoth putting and chipping greens, and mach fairway and greenside bunkers. Boulder Creek is solid 30 minute drive south of the Strip, but worth the deviation. Mark Rathert designed the course, which switches effortlessly between desert, oasis and arroyo styled holes.
Angel Park Golf Club: If you can't enjoy your practice time at Angel Park, you just don't enjoy practicing. First, there's Seventh Heaven -- a putting course routed through bunkers, swales and rock outcroppings with holes ranging from 50 to 180 feet. Then there's the Cloud Nine lighted par 3 course that houses replicas of some of the world's most famous one-shotters. There's also a lighted practice range with plenty of driving stations and a new outdoor patio where you can kick back and reflect on what you've learned.
Primm Valley Golf Club: Don't let the world's tallest roller coaster or the Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas deter you. This 36-hole Tom Fazio designed golf mecca on the Nevada/California state line is one of Sin City's best upscale golf facilities. Primm Valley has an on-site teaching academy with six PGA certified instructors to help break down and rebuild any swing. The practice range features bunker-guarded distance greens, giving players something to shoot for while warming up. A chipping area, bunker practice area and practice putting green are also on site.
Rio Secco Golf Club: The house teaching professional is none other than Butch Harmon. The star pupil is, or was, none other that Eldrick "Tiger" Woods. Nuff said. Rio Secco is home to one of one of the highest rated golf tracks in town - a Rees Jones gem that bobs and weaves through 240 acres of plateaus and canyons. Harmon's renowned golf school is located on site, including a high-tech learning center, practice range, greens and bunkers. The course and golf school are open to the public, but guests of Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino get preferential treatment.
TPC at the Canyons: Tournament Players Clubs are typically a sure bet for outstanding practice facilities, and the TPC at the Canyons is no exception. The course hosted the PGA Tour's 2001 Invensys Classic at Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Senior Classic in the late 1990's and it has the practice range, greens and bunkers becoming of a professional tour stop.
Las Vegas Golf Club: The LVGC is the granddaddy of Las Vegas golf, having opened for play in 1945. The legendary Monte Money holds the course record, 58, which is still the lowest score ever fired at a Vegas area par 72 track. The course is home to the Nike Golf learning center and a lighted driving range, all in proximity to downtown Las Vegas and the Strip.
Las Vegas Paiute Resort: The proverbially penal Pete Dye designed all three layouts at Las Vegas Paiute Resort, so banging a bucket of balls before teeing off should be a requirement. The Wolf Course - the newest of the three - also happens to be the longest course in the state, at just over 7,600 yards. Fortunately, there are few better places in Vegas to hit the rockpile. The practice range is one of the widest in the state, and the view from the driving stations to the surrounding mountain ranges is jaw-dropping. Paiute Resort also features a true rolling practice putting green and a separate pitching and chipping green.
January 23, 2003