Shadow Creek Bedazzles in Las Vegas

Shadow Creek Golf Course Las Vegas

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

Join the ranks of George Clooney, Michael Jordan and other high rollers at Shadow Creek Golf Course, the ultra-exclusive Tom Fazio design in Las Vegas where a peak-time green fee now costs US$1,000.

(Last updated June 2021.)

Like the Tropicana’s gorgeous showgirls or Frank Sinatra’s old Rat Pack, Shadow Creek Golf Course exudes a razzle-dazzle Las Vegas vibe.

Built by flamboyant casino magnate Steve Wynn at a reported cost of US$60 million in Sin City’s northern suburbs, the Tom Fazio-designed beauty has played host to both the PGA Tour’s CJ Cup @ Shadow Creek and the heavily publicized 2018 match-play challenge between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.

Fazio reclaimed more than three million cubic yards of earth from the desert floor in building a course hailed as a miracle of modern golf course design when it debuted in 1989. Streams, lakes, waterfalls, rock outcroppings, rolling hillsides, exotic birds and 21,000 transplanted trees appeared as if by magic.

A highlight is the 409-yard par-four ninth hole, where the typically immaculate fairway runs to a green guarded by thick woodland on one side and a lake on the other. And like all superior courses, this one ends with a wallop. The tee box of the 527-yard 18th is set high on a ridge ideally placed for viewing a spectacular hole interrupted by three waterfalls. Sure, you can go for the green in two on this par five, but getting there requires a long precision shot over water. Better to lay-up.

Shadow Creek is absolutely gorgeous. But be prepared to pay dearly for the bragging rights of having played it. In the summer of 2021, Shadow Creek will raise its green fee from US$600 to a whopping US$1,000 during its peak season (March to May; plus October and November) and US$750 during off-peak. That’s by far the world’s most expensive green fee.

Adding to the sense of posh exclusivity are lockers bearing the names George Bush, Michael Jordan, John Elway and Wilt Chamberlain. The guest list has also included George Clooney, Matt Damon, Michael Douglas, Reggie Jackson and Joe Pesci.

Tee times are restricted to guests of the Las Vegas properties operated by the course’s owner, MGM Resorts International. An MGM limousine will transport you from your hotel to the course, where your personal caddy will guide you through your round.

And don’t imagine for a moment you’ll be able to sweet talk your way onto Shadow Creek. Even presidents and prime ministers who commit the sin of staying anywhere other than at an MGM property are firmly turned away.