Golf Around the Clock in Las Vegas

Royal Links Golf Club Las Vegas (Image: Royal Links Golf Club)

Royal Links Golf Club pays homage to the holes of the British Open. (Image: Royal Links Golf Club)

In a city that never sleeps, world-class golf is as much a part of the scene as chorus girls, roulette wheels and morning-after regrets.

If the Hangover movies have taught us anything, it’s that dangerously unbridled craziness is bound to happen at some point during a Las Vegas vacation.

That’s why a round or two of golf is such an essential part of your itinerary. Nothing clears a head like a brisk 18 holes in the Nevada desert after a night of misadventures best forgotten.

With more than 50 courses, Sin City offers one of North America’s most exciting golf scenes. There are extravagant big-ticket courses favoured by business moguls and movie stars, as well as superb layouts geared to every budget.

Las Vegas downtown (Image: Las Vegas Tourism)

The Las Vegas Strip in all its glory. (Image: Vegas.com)

Of course, almost nobody goes to Las Vegas just for the golf. From wholesome fare such as Cirque de Soleil’s acclaimed Beatles tribute show at the Mirage to an eye-popping pin-up themed revue starring 2011 Playboy Playmate of the Year Claire Sinclair at the Stratosphere Hotel, the entertainment possibilities are almost endless.

Among the hottest late-night clubs for those determined to party till dawn are LAX at the Luxor, The Bank at the Bellagio and Tao at the Venetian. But only the uninitiated and unhip even think of making their entrance before midnight.

Night owls biding their time might want to stop by the Cloud Nine Short Course at Angel Park Golf Club and play par-3 golf on floodlit fairways. But come the dawn, Angel Park is best known as the home of two excellent full-length 18-hole layouts, the Palm and Mountain courses, both designed by Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay.

Part of the beauty of golf in Las Vegas is that several top courses are just a short cab ride from the Strip, eliminating the need for a rental car. Next door to the Mandalay Resort and Casino is Bali Hai Golf Club, a gorgeous Schmidt-Curley design offering views of the towering casinos from tees and greens. As the name suggests, the theme is Polynesian. Tropical trappings include blue lagoons, volcanic rocks, 4,000 palm trees and 100,000 exotic plants. With typical Vegas overkill, the builders set statues of an alligator and a gorilla by one of the ponds.

Golf purists might prefer Desert Pines Golf Club, also in the heart of the city. This Carolina sand hills-style design by the great Pete Dye is lined with more than 4,000 pines.

Another must-play course right in town is Bear’s Best Las Vegas, featuring 18 reproductions of holes selected by Jack Nicklaus from the more than 270 courses he has designed around the world. The downhill par-three seventh copied from the Golden Bear’s Old Works Golf Course in Montana (complete with black-sand bunkers) is especially memorable.

Tribute courses like Bear’s Best are a natural fit in a town where giant-sized knockoffs of the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty loom over the throngs of fun-seekers wandering the Strip day and night.

At Royal Links Golf Club homage is paid to the greatest holes found at the hallowed links that have hosted British Opens. A highlight is the remarkable recreation of Royal Troon’s famous par-three Postage Stamp, which at 123 yards is the shortest hole in the Open rotation.

Wynn Golf Club Las Vegas (Image: Wynn Golf Club)

Wynn Golf Club is a spectacular—and pricey—Tom Fazio design. (Image: Wynn Golf Club)

Other outstanding courses in or near Las Vegas include Paiute Golf ResortTPC Las Vegas, and Las Vegas National Golf Club, famous as the site of Tiger Woods’ first PGA Tour victory in 1996.

Feel like splurging on a round you’ll never forget? Then book a tee time at fabulous Wynn Golf Club. The creation of hotel magnate Steve Wynn and superstar golf architect Tom Fazio, this public course in downtown Las Vegas has fairways as smooth as velvet and offers all the trappings of the most posh of private clubs.

The Wynn’s green fee is a whopping $500—but, hey, you can make that back with a single roll of the dice later at the casino.

The Best Free Show in Las Vegas

Bellagio Resort is justly famous for its fountains that erupt in a magnificent choreographed water ballet across man-made Bellagio Lake. A total of 1,214 spritzers shoot water up to 460 feet in the air every half-hour between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., and every 15 minutes from then until midnight.

 

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