Golfing Vegas, Baby

I took up the game of golf for one primary reason: I love the appearance of golf courses, with their rolling green hills and lush oases of water and trees, and I wanted to be able to spend time on them.

I’m not a particularly good golfer, but I’m not particularly self-conscious about it. As a result of not taking myself too seriously and motivated by new experiences (not to mention being willing to pick my ball up if I’m slowing the play of better golfers with or behind me), I’ve managed to experience some amazing courses in my few years of golfing. The Wynn Resort on the Las Vegas Strip offers one such experience.

Welcome to luxury at the Wynn.

Wynn: The Ultimate
In Luxury Golf

The Wynn golf course was designed by famous golf course architect Tom Fazio and developer extraordinaire Steve Wynn and built in 2005. It’s a 7,000-yard (6,464 from the forward tees), par-70 course that’s open year-round. And it is breathtaking.

Some 800,000 cubic yards of dirt were moved to create rolling fairways and elevated greens, not to mention the inevitable sidehill lies. There are also over 7,000 trees on the course and some of the greenest fairways you could ever want to play. The greens average 6,000 square feet. It’s truly an engineering marvel and an oasis in the desert.

Needless to say, it’s a challenging course as well as a beautiful one. Water hazards/ water features come into play on two-thirds of the holes, and there are 68 bunkers in all. The par 3 holes are really fun, and quite varied. Infamous No. 9 is quite long for a par 3 at 238 yards; the shortest hole is 153. All are park-like and beautiful. The 18th hole has plenty of water hazards and an impressive waterfall, visible from the luxurious clubhouse.

Lush, rolling fairways and plenty of water features.

And then there are the caddies. For a duffer like me who isn’t accustomed to caddies, having someone explain the course and assist with club selection and reading the greens is the height of golfing luxury. But I understand that even for highly experienced golfers, the Wynn caddies are becoming legendary. Many are PGA members, and all are highly knowledgeable about the course and golf in general. And did I mention the caddies come at no extra charge? Of course, a greens fee of $500 a round should come with a few extras.

Other extras offered at no charge include cleaning of your shoes before and after the round, minor equipment repair, cold beverages in your cart, and loaner clubs and/or shoes should you need them.

None of this comes as a surprise if you have stayed at the Wynn. I highly recommend this amazing resort’s lodging (over 2,716 rooms), dining, and entertainment experience.

Other Vegas Golf Options
If golfing at the Wynn is a little too rich for your blood, there are other courses in the area, each with its own theme in keeping with the over-the-top Las Vegas experience.

The Bali Hai is also on the strip (depending upon your definition) and also offers 7,000 yards of play. True to its name, it has a South Pacific feel with blue lagoons, palm trees, and rock formations. Even the clubhouse is island-inspired.

The Royal Links has copied its 18 holes from holes on 11 of the various British Open courses, allowing you to play facsimiles of famous courses such as St. Andrews and Royal Liverpool. This is your chance to play the holes your heroes have played. Naturally, the clubhouse looks like a castle.

The 18th-hole waterfall viewed through a cart.

Finally, Desert Pines mimics golf in the Carolinas, with lush fairways, thousands of trees, and abundant water hazards. A short drive from the Strip, this course also offers a 20,000-square-foot practice center with automated ball delivery and five target greens.

You can go to http://www.waltersgolf.com and book a round at one of these courses for as little as $109. I can’t vouch personally for any of these three courses, but they look like a better way to acquire “Vegas Elbow” than yanking on the handle of a slot machine. I’m looking forward to trying them.

Sally O’Neal is a columnist for sportsmansguide.com, where she has chronicled her adventures on and off the links, in and out of the woods, and above and below the sea weekly since 2000.

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