When golf and casinos are not enough Las Vegas
From Vegas, the Grand Canyon is three hours by car, or 45 minutes by helicopter.
Beyond the casino floor and after golf, Las Vegas knows how to deliver high R.P.M. entertainment.
The desert that makes for one of the West's top golf destinations is also an outdoor playground for bikes, ATVs, sky-diving and just about anything else you can do with a lot of space and sunshine.
If your golf group is out to splurge after a big night at the tables – or simply avoid the pit altogether – plenty is happening in Vegas after 18 holes.
The only canyon I ever seem to view in Vegas is the empty crevasse in my wallet after a late night on the tables.
The Grand Canyon, on the other hand, is about a four-hour drive from Vegas – or better yet, a 45-minute ride via helicopter. Make the trip and you can see a bird's-eye view of one of the American West's great natural wonders. And no need camping out in the wilderness, you'll be back to your hotel by sunset.
If closer, man-made wonders are more your thing, book a helicopter ride to Hoover Dam, or take in the Las Vegas Strip from above. $100-300
If you prefer live sports action to lounging in a casino sportsbook and staring at big screens, you don't have to wait for the next NBA All-Star weekend. The UNLV basketball team plays just a few minutes away from the Strip at the Thomas & Mack Center. The Runnin' Rebels host such schools as Utah, BYU, TCU and San Diego State during the year. Tickets $10-100
Or, take in the speed – and in all likelihood fights – of live minor league hockey. The Las Vegas Wranglers are a Phoenix Coyotes affiliate in the ECHL and play just west of the Strip at the Orleans Hotel on Tropicana Ave. Tickets: $17-38.
The biggest tickets in town are fight nights. Between boxing and UFC, there's always an upcoming fight being promoted in Las Vegas. To sync up your next Las Vegas golf vacation with a prize fight in the ring, check out VisitLasVegas.com for schedules. UFC comes to MGM Grand on Jan. 1, 2011.
Need for speed
If you want to get behind the wheel of a machine with a little more muscle than your subcompact rental car, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway has opportunities to take a few laps with luxury sports car rides like a Ferrari, Lamborghini or other high-roller luxury sports cars. Or, visit the Richard Petty Driving Experience or enroll in the Mario Andretti's Race Car School and take to the track in an authentic Indy Car. $200-500
Take the plunge or see Las Vegas from above
How's this for a Las Vegas-style golf betting game: Loser jumps first. Sky-diving is one of Vegas' best thrill rides for those whose heart doesn't race at the blackjack table. You can plummet to the Earth faster than your bankroll at a high-stakes poker table at over 100 miles per hour, and no experience is necessary for those willing to do a tandem jump with a licensed instructor. $200-250
There are a lot of other ways to take to the skies without having to jump out. Ultra-light gliders offer a smooth, quiet alternative to helicopter rides.
Red Rock Mountain Biking and ATV tours
The spectacular Red Rock National Preserve makes for a fitting environment for some of the West's finest mountain biking trails. There are numerous tour operators that will fit you with a bike and lead you to the area's best trails, whether in Red Rock, Lake Mead or Boulder City among others.
Dune buggies in remote desert areas such as Nellis Dunes and ATV tours are also immensely popular ways to tackle southern Nevada's desert landscape. $100-200
From drive-in movies to Cirque du Soleil
Cirque du Soleil has become the darling of the Las Vegas Strip with seven different shows to choose from, including water-inspired O (Bellagio), the Beatles tribute Love (Mirage) and martial arts spectacle Ka (MGM Grand).
But if the thought of high-budget shows leaves you wishing for the good ol' days of Vegas, check out a drive-in movie at the West Wind Drive-in, a five-screen drive-in showing double features under the stars on the weekends (4150 W. Carey, North Las Vegas).
Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix
KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.
The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.
Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.
Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.
Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.
Rahm (62) fires career low round
The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:
Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)
What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.
Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.
Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.
Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.
Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.
Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.
Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm
Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder
Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.
Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.
"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."
Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.
Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.
"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."
Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn
There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.
Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.
Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.
Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.
The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.