What comes to mind when you think of Las Vegas? The colorful blinking lights and happily chiming bells of the slot machines. A crowd laughing and cheering around a craps table. Suave millionaires in tuxedos at a baccarat table. Extravaganzas of music, song, and dance with the world’s most popular entertainers. The lights, laughing, and music spilling out the doors of the casinos onto the Strip, the four miles of Las Vegas Boulevard that are the thrilling spine of a town that never sleeps.
Now, what if I told you that when I think of Las Vegas, I envision long stretches of perfectly manicured, emerald green grass. Noble mountains ascending into the clouds. Water cascading from mountains, flowing down rivers, sparkling in streams, placid in lakes. The exotic beauty and seductive fragrances of lavish tropical flowers. Breathing in pure air. Basking in tranquility.
I speak, of course, of the magnificent golf courses in and around Las Vegas. Fifty-two golf courses, all of them works of art, all of them challenging, each a unique golfing experience. We’ve selected Las Vegas’s 8 best clubs to familiarize you with the selection that awaits you.
1. Royal Links Golf Club
Royal Links honors golfing history. Each hole at Royal Links is a replica of a hole on the 14 venerable courses that are played in the British Open, including St. Andrews, the home of golf since the 15th century. From the traditional caddies, you’ll learn the history of the game and how it was played in the past. They also know every twist and turn, blade of grass, granule of sand on Royal Links as they guide you through the course.
When you’ve finished your foray into the august and bygone days of golf, retire to the castle (clubhouse) for a meal fit for a king (or queen) or lift a pint at the authentic British pub.
- 5995 East Vegas Valley Drive, Las Vegas, Nevada 89142
- (702) 765-0484
2. Bear’s Best Las Vegas
Experience the “best of Jack Nicklaus” as well as the best of Las Vegas. Jack replicated his favorite holes from the many courses he has designed throughout California, New Mexico, Montana, Arizona, Colorado, and Mexico, each hole distinctive yet set into a united whole, like an array of gems set into a brilliant necklace. While the course poses a challenge for even the most experienced player, it also welcomes golfers of all levels with four sets of tees at each hole.
An extra added attraction is a video in your cart with Jack introducing you to the next hole, providing an aerial view of it, and giving you lessons pertaining to that hole.
- 11111 West Flamingo Road, Las Vegas, Nevada 89135
- (702) 804-8500
3. Shadow Creek
No list of the 10 best courses in Las Vegas would be complete without Shadow Creek. It is a testimony to innovative design in which the classic is merged with modern ingenuity. It has a sophisticated elegance as well as a “back to nature” ruggedness. Each hole has a character all its own, and each will leave you breathless at first sight with the majestic mountains overlooking gushing waterfalls, rippling streams, and gardens that could be Eden.
Shadow Creek is, however, for players at the highest level who want to be challenged. It is also only open to guests of MGM Resorts International.
- 3 Shadow Creek Drive, North Las Vegas, Nevada 89081
- (866) 260-0069
Cascata is Italian for “cascading water.” It’s signature feature is a 418-foot waterfall that cascades into a river that rushes through the clubhouse and ends in a quiet stream.
The course was built into 440 acres of rocks and valleys and ancient dried river beds. Each hole is surrounded by the astounding shapes of natural rock that have been weathered for tens of thousands of years. Add the 3,600-foot Red Mountain to the vista and it is nothing short of spectacular. Putting greens are adorned with topical flowers and plants. Most holes have elevated tees from where you look out at meticulously manicured fairways.
The carts are plush; the caddies Tour-class. A Tuscan-style clubhouse provides a touch of Old World ambiance and a staff with Old World charm.
- Cascata Drive, Boulder City, Nevada 89005
- (702) 294-2005
5. Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort
This has to be golfer’s heaven—three of Las Vegas’s best courses at one location. Three superb, distinctive courses in the grandeur of the southern Nevada desert at the base of the Spring Mountains. It is the ultimate golf destination, each course championship caliber.
- 10325 Nu Wav Kaiv Boulevard, Las Vegas, Nevada 89124
- (800) 711-2833
Wolf is the most difficult course of the three, and it is the longest, not only of the three, but in all of Las Vegas. The rises and falls of the fairways, plus its intermittent slopes, are a challenge for any golfer. There are also multiple blind tee shots and the very fast greens.
The views from the course that lies in the shadow of the Spring and Sheep mountain ranges are awe-inspiring.
Snow Mountain is a “kinder, gentler” course than Wolf. That doesn’t mean it’s easy. It has more water hazards than the other two and enough dogleg holes and blind landing areas to pique the interest of golfers at any level.
The surroundings dazzle from all directions, from the monumental mountains to a unrivaled view of Las Vegas.
Sun Mountain brings a touch of drama to your golf outing. The naturally rolling terrain and a heart-stopping view of the Sheep Mountain range provide a scenic dimension to the course, as does the natural desert off to the side and the yucca and Joshua trees meeting you at every turn.
Sun Mountain is the original Paiute course, and it has the reputation of being easier than its two “younger brothers.” See what you think after traversing the course with a double dogleg or two, pot bunkers, and lakes that are just where you don’t want them to be.
6. Wynn Las Vegas
This is the only course that is attached to a casino. You need only take a few steps from the lobby of Wynn Las Vegas to get your round started. (You do not need to be a guest of the hotel).
The rolling hills of the course look like they were hijacked from South Carolina! You’ll forget you’re in the desert and, even more, that a casino is just around the next corner. The land was the site of the legendary Desert Inn Golf Club, now transformed into a lush oasis with inventive landscaping and water features. Wait for the eighteenth hole with its typical Steve Wynn extravagance, a $2 million waterfall.
- 3131 S Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, Nevada 89109
- (702) 770-7000
7. Bali Hai Golf Club
Bali Hai is a South Pacific paradise located right on the Strip. The championship course comprises seven acres of water, close to 3,000 palm trees, and more than 100,000 tropical plants and flowers with contrasting pure white Augusta sand and black volcanic outcroppings in the transition zones.
The par 3s are as challenging as any in Las Vegas, and the eighteenth hole is one of the finest par 4s in Las Vegas. It provides a memorable end to a totally satisfying round of golf.
- 5160 South Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, Nevada 89119
- (888) 427-6678
8. TPC Las Vegas
TPC may be at the end of our 7 best clubs in Las Vegas list, but you can bet it’s not on the bottom rung of anything. “TPC” stands for “Tournament Players Club.” But while it’s designed for the pros, you don’t have to be PGA-caliber to experience PGA Tour standards. TPC is open to anyone willing to accept the challenge of its uniquely designed fairways, and the greens may be the fastest in Las Vegas.
Don’t let yourself be distracted by the spectacular views of Red Rock Canyon and the Vegas skyline.
- 9851 Canyon Run Drive, Las Vegas, Nevada 89144
- (702) 256-2500
Las Vegas has become a golfing destination. The quality of playability of its courses are outstanding. However, the courses, certainly our 8 Best, tend to have high greens fees. Think of it like this: You can be inside a windowless, sometimes stifling environment, with sensory overload, losing thousands of dollars. Or you can be outside in the fresh air with the scent of nature all around you, in a place of such tranquility that you can hear the silence for a few hundred dollars.