Monday, June 15, 2009


Last summer I played golf in Las Vegas at two very nice courses. I played a British Open style course called Royal Links as well as a course called Desert Pines. Both courses were unique, fun, and fairly challenging. They are run by Walters Golf Company which also runs the Bali Hali course in Vegas.

I will start with Royal Links. It was very cool to play a links style course that has renditions of many famous golf holes, such as “The Road Hole” and “Hell Bunker” from the old course at St. Andrews and “The Postage Stamp” from Royal Troon. Other courses included are Carnoustie, Turnberry, Royal Liverpool, Prestwick, Royal Lytham, Muirfield and Royal Birkdale. For a complete hole by hole tour, click here.

It was definitely challenging at first getting used to playing a different style golf course than usual. Wayward tees shots can end up in grass 2 feet high making it extremely difficult finding the ball, much less hitting a good shot out of it. Some of the tee shots are completely blind and dealing with pot bunkers are no fun. A shot into a fairway pot bunker will force you to hit the ball out sideways.

They now even have a new service involving these girls. They did not have this feature when I played and I’m guessing this would be a little distracting when trying to focus on golf. This certainly does not follow the traditions of St. Andrews and other old school courses but I guess it's par for the course in Vegas.

Desert Pines was designed by Pete Dye and this course provides a North Carolina golf experience featuring thousands of pine trees lining the fairways and white sand bunkers throughout. Water comes into play on 9 out of the 18 holes and the large undulating greens provide a good challenge.

Although playing these courses was great, I will give you the most important piece of advice about playing golf in Vegas in the middle of the day in summer. Don’t do it! We decided to play in the mid afternoon to take advantage of the lowest prices, however, it was not the smartest decision for overall health.

It was ridiculously hot, especially on the desert course, especially if you hit your ball right or left of the fairways, where a huge desert sand area will be waiting for you. I remember drinking about 4 gatorades, 8 waters, and dumping countless waters on my head to no avail. By the end I was about to pass out. So, although you may be up all night partying the previous night, you should try to play really early in the morning or late in the day when the weather is a little cooler. You will be glad you made this decision.

If you need a break from the casinos and parties the next time you're in Vegas, check out these golf courses. They both provide unique golfing experiences and are in excellent condition. Both courses are within a 20 minute drive from the strip and are fairly priced. I highly recommend playing both of these courses.