Report From Las Vegas: Three Rounds, Topgolf and One Unforgettable Meal

Wolf Creek Golf Club in Mesquite Nevada (Image: Wolf Creek Golf Club)

Essential day trip: Wolf Creek Golf Club in Mesquite. (Image: Wolf Creek Golf Club)

Every visit to fabulous Las Vegas offers new discoveries. This time it was a close-up look at the Topgolf phenomenon and an introduction to the wildly acclaimed Asian fusion cuisine of Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa.

Las Vegas offers temptations that would make Caligula blush.

But Sin City is many things, not least an outstanding golf destination. On a recent visit, I played three exceptional courses, whacked balls at recently opened Topgolf Las Vegas—and between rounds dined like a sated emperor in dining rooms that included, most memorably, Nobu Restaurant in Caesars Palace.

Our group’s first tee off was at Cascata, a Rees Jones-designed beauty about 30 miles from The Strip. Clearly, no expense was spared in the construction of a posh desert oasis where steep canyon walls frame fairways accented by man-made water features, including a 418-foot waterfall that splashes down a massive cliff just beyond the driving range. There’s even a river coursing through the lower level of the gorgeous clubhouse.

Hard to say which course we liked better, Cascata or our next stop, the Sun Mountain Course at Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort. One of a trio of Pete Dye-designed layouts about 22 miles from The Strip, Sun Mountain features seven water holes, Dye’s trademark railroad-tie bunkers, and a routing filled with risk-and-reward shot options. I’d love to return and play the property’s other courses, Snow Mountain and Wolf. Three Dye designs in one location is a lure impossible for any serious golfer to resist.

Our final tee off took us even further from our home base at Nobu Hotel Caesars Palace, a luxuriously tranquil Asian-influenced hotel-within-a-hotel that opened in the old Centurion Tower at Caesars Palace in 2013.

Topgolf Las Vegas (Image: Topgolf)

Topgolf is one of the hottest new attractions in Las Vegas. (Image: Topgolf)

Located on the outskirts of Mesquite, 90 miles north of The Strip, Wolf Creek Golf Club surely numbers among the world’s most spectacular courses. The Dennis Ryder design twists like a demented rattlesnake through a jaw-dropping landscape of hills, canyons and ravines. Almost every tee box is perched like an eagle’s nest on a cliff-top or jutting precipice. And yet, provided the golfer plays the proper tees, this is a remarkably fair test of golf. No wonder Wolf Creek makes virtually every list of the top 100 courses in the United States.

While it’s true that Las Vegas offers a dozen or more excellent courses within an easy cab ride of The Strip (see our feature story Golf Around the Clock in Las Vegas), Cascata and Sun Mountain are both well worth the quick treks out of town—and Wolf Creek belongs on every golfer’s bucket list.

A new must-see attraction for golfers, Topgolf Las Vegas, opened last May in the heart of downtown. The largest in a growing national chain of deluxe driving ranges, Topgolf features four levels of hitting bays, hundreds of HDTVs, a stage for live concerts, swimming pools and private VIP rooms, and even a Callaway golf fitting centre. Golfers score points by hitting targets on the range. It’s all wonderfully entertaining. Indeed, my visit to Topgolf made me wonder if I was looking at the future of golf. Regional Topgolf champions recently competed in Las Vegas for a grand prize of $50,000.

Pricing at Topgolf starts at $30 per hour for a group of up to six people, a bargain as Las Vegas entertainments go. But this is a city that almost demands at least one big splurge every visit. Ours was at Nobu Restaurant in Caesars Palace, part of a wildly acclaimed fine dining chain featuring the Asian fusion cuisine of Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa. Specialties include black cod miso (Robert De Niro’s favourite), rock shrimp tempura, and yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno and squid pasta. In all my travels, I’ve rarely—if ever—dined better.

 

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