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.

(Last updated December 2022.)

If the hit movie The Hangover 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:

Of course, almost nobody goes to Las Vegas just for the golf. From Cirque de Soleil’s acclaimed Beatles tribute show at the Mirage to the magical wizardry of David Copperfield at the MGM Grand, the entertainment possibilities are almost endless.

Among the hottest late-night clubs for those determined to party till dawn are LAX at the Luxor and Tao at the Venetian. But only the 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 recreation of Royal Troon’s famous par-three Postage Stamp, which at 123 yards is the shortest hole in the Open rotation.

Shadow Creek Golf Course Las Vegas

Tom Fazio conjured Shadow Creek as if by magic from the barren desert floor. (Image: Shadow Creek)

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? Wynn Golf Club, set in the shadow of the Wynn Las Vegas hotel right on the Strip, reopened in October 2019 following an extensive makeover by Tom Fazio—who designed the original course in 2005—and his son Logan. The redo included the introduction of eight entirely new holes and a substantial reworking of the rest. The course’s signature eighteenth hole, framed by a 35-foot-tall waterfall, has been transformed from a par four into a heroic par three requiring a long and precise tee shot to avoid the lagoon to the left of the green.

Another option for high-rollers is Shadow Creek Golf Course. Built in the city’s northern suburbs at a reported cost of $60 million, the Tom Fazio-designed beauty is a miracle of modern golf course design. Streams, lakes, waterfalls, rock outcroppings, rolling hillsides, exotic birds and 21,000 transplanted trees appeared as if by magic at a course that launched to rave reviews in 1989. The only hitch is that tee times are restricted to guests of the 15 Las Vegas properties operated by the course’s owner, MGM Resorts International.

Green fees at Shadow Creek range from $750 to $1,000—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.