Best golf holes in Las Vegas
No. 18 at Bali Hai offers impressive views of the Strip. (Bali Hai)
LAS VEGAS – World-class golf architects have left their gorgeous marks all over Las Vegas, with stunning and beautiful golf layouts. But which individual golf holes truly stand out? Here's one look at some of the top holes, numbers 1-18. We've selected one of the best opening holes, one of the best No. 2 designs, one of the best third holes and so on. (Note: Each course was limited to no more than one hole).
No. 1: Bear's Best Las Vegas
An opening golf hole has to be special. It's got to get your engine revving and your juices flowing. That's why the first hole at Bear's Best Las Vegas is our No. 1 pick. At 413 yards, it's a good distance and with a deep-blue pond to the left and bunkers guarding an elevated green. This is a tremendous test for an opener.
No. 2: TPC Las Vegas
The second hole at TPC Las Vegas is a par 3 playing 196 yards from the tips. The shot is to an island green (with desert below the green rather than water) that even gave the pros trouble when the PGA Tour used to play here as part of their annual Sin City stop.
No. 3: Rhodes Ranch
Rhodes Ranch Golf Club gets the nod here with the Ted Robinson-designed, par-3 third hole a monster at 227 yards. Strategically placed water and bunkers are everywhere and it's as beautiful as it is treacherous.
No. 4: Black Mountain
At 380 yards the fourth hole on the Desert nine at Black Mountain Golf & Country Club isn't long, but a severe dogleg left with waste areas right and left, as well as large bunkers around the green make this a tough test.
No. 5: Tuscany Golf Club
The par-4 fifth hole at Tuscany Golf Club plays just 357 yards from the tips, but perfectly placed bunkers cut down the landing area in the fairway and more bunkers guard a tricky green. This is a hole that plays short, but also tough.
No. 6: Wynn Golf Club
The par-3 sixth at Wynn Golf Club is a 163-yard beauty. Brilliant foliage, a deep-blue pond fronting the green and impressive views of the Las Vegas Strip make for a stunning and challenging golf shot.
No. 7: Badlands Golf Club
The seventh hole on Badlands Golf Club's Desperado nine is intriguing and challenging. At 374 yards, the par 4 is short, but desert left adds to the challenge as does the wash that cuts dramatically in front of the green.
No. 8: Rio Secco Golf Club
The eighth hole at Rees Jones' Rio Secco Golf Club is a par 5 at 566 yards with desert outcroppings everywhere. Big hitters can go for it in two, but crossing the desert and finding the green with that second shot is no easy task.
No. 9: Siena Golf Club
At just 420 yards the ninth hole at Siena Golf Club isn't the longest ninth in Vegas, or the toughest, but it's a test to thread a tee shot between the bunker right and the huge pond on the left. Then there's the massive, tricky green to add to the degree of difficulty.
No. 10: Royal Links Golf Club
This is a great way to start the back nine, tackling the Road Hole from St. Andrews at Royal Links Golf Club, a par 4 that combines length and beauty. Complete with scoreboard, famed old wall and deep bunker in front of the green, this one's special. Royal Links lets players take on a piece of golf history without traveling across the pond.
No. 11: Revere Golf Club
'Longfellow' at Revere Golf Club's Lexington course gets the nod here. At 625 yards from the tips, this par 5 is a monster (hence the name) and it also requires a target-golf approach. Too far or too wide can bring the desert into play. This is a great risk/reward hole.
No. 12: Desert Pines Golf Club
The 12th hole at Desert Pines Golf Club, nicknamed 'The Narrows,' offers quite a challenge from the tee. Those world famous Dye railroad-tie bunkers are evident as you approach the green on this 425-yard par 4.
No. 13: The Legacy Golf Club
No. 13 at The Legacy Golf Club is one of the true risk/reward golf holes. At 292 yards from the blue tees, this par 4 is driveable, but a huge bunker short and desert wash to the left are significant risks. Eagle is possible – but is the gamble worth the risk?
No. 14: Cascata
Cascata is beautiful from start to finish, but nowhere is there more brilliance than on the 14th hole, a 434-yard, par 4. A stream cuts along the left side of the tee box and slices in front of the tee boxes to fill a lake that guards the front of the green. Beauty and challenge all rolled into one masterpiece of a golf hole.
No. 15: Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort
Our 15th hole is an easy choice – and it's anything but an easy hole. Pete Dye's 15th at Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort's Wolf Course is 182 yards of sheer terror. An island green is always a tough shot. Add in a little breeze and you've got your hands full.
No. 16: Primm Valley Golf Club
The 16th hole on the Lakes course at Primm Valley Golf Club is a great par 4 reaching 403 yards with water and bunkers providing stunning backdrops. You'll have to be at your best because the tee box is just steps away from the clubhouse. You'll have an audience, so hit it well.
No. 17: Shadow Creek
No tops-in-Vegas list is complete without a hole from famed Shadow Creek and we're partial to the 17th, a par 3 that plays just 163 yards from the tips. But the small green is surrounded by water, rocks and dense foliage. A great looking hole that's also a great test of golf.
No. 18: Bali Hai Golf Club
The closer at Bali Hai Golf Club is a dramatic and long par 4, coming in at just under 500 yards. It's intimidating, long and stunning, especially if you play it just before sunset as the Las Vegas Strip comes to life with bright lights. A great way to close the round is with a hole that really impresses players from tee to green, and this one does it in spades.
– by Bill Bowman, TravelGolf.com contributor
What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm
Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:
Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft
Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft
Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts
Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts
Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red
Ball: TaylorMade TP5x
Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff
Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.
While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.
Watching Andrew Landry and Jon Rahm in playoff. Walking off tee talking to each other. Are you kidding me ? Talking at all. ?— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.
0 words— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
The issue is I don’t want to make you a bit relaxed or comfortable. High pressure, good.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
Did you watch the end of the NFL games yesterday ? Enough said.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
I didn’t say you couldn’t be friends and competitive. But in a playoff, 1 tiny mistake and you lose, and that devastated me. Friends before and after, competitors during play.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
Did you win ? It’s all about surviving the competition to test yourself.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.
Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over
The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.
As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.
Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.
And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.
And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.
McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.
The Ryder Cup topped his list.
Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.
When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.
“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”
McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.
Or similar assertions from TV analysts.
“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”
European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.
And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.
The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.
Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.
And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.
Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.
The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.
The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.
More bulletin board material, too.
Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.
Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions
Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.
The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.
It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.
The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.
“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”
Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.