Las Vegas and North Carolina offer fun in the fall sun


reflection bay
Reflection Bay is the first public resort golf course in Nevada personally designed by Jack Nicklaus, and the host course to the nationally televised Wendys Three-Tour Challenge benefiting the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.

With the economy struggling, finding a great place to stay and play can be a challenge. Here are a couple destinations to consider.
Lake Las Vegas, Nev.
Just 17 miles and mind sets away from the glitter and glitz of the Las Vegas Strip, Lake Las Vegas is a prime example of what modern technology can create. Rising out of the desert like Atlantis out of the sea, this once dusty, rocky, bleak terrain has been transformed into an oasis of lush plantings and vibrant resort living.
Twenty years ago Lake Las Vegas was merely a bold new idea. Just two decades later, at MonteLago Village Resort at Lake Las Vegas, gondolas glide across a 320-acre lake. Golfers tee it up at Reflection Bay, a Jack Nicklaus design, and The Falls Golf Club by Tom Weiskopf, where the most challenging hazard of all may just be the distracting scenery of mountains and desert.
Come here December 22-23, for the LPGA Wendy's Challenge or come on your own and experience the modern miracles that have been wrought out of a once arid land.
Bring extra ammo when you play Reflection Bay: five holes run along the lake and No. 8, a par 3, requires a 200-yard carry over water from the tips.
The Falls Golf Club features plenty of elevation changes from lakeside to stunning mountainous terrain and 360 degree views. With five tees, both courses work well for low to high handicappers. After golf take a stroll through the Tuscan-inspired MonteLago Village, kayak on the lake, enjoy a Stars on the Lake concert or try your luck at Casino MonteLago open 24/7.
With green fees running $215-$275, the best way to go is to stay at the Lake Las Vegas resort and book a golf package. For example at MonteLago Village a studio room accommodating two people with one round of golf person is priced from $362. Also check golf packages at The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Las Vegas, Loews Lake Las Vegas Resort and Lake Las Vegas Vacation Villas.
Value added: The entire place is full of energy, with enjoyable casinos, free entertainment, helicopter tours, spas, gourmet restaurants, and a full service marina. Side trips can be arranged to Grand Canyon and The Valley of Fire. Fly into Las Vegas, one of the most inexpensive gateways in the world.
Fayetteville, N.C.
Every golfer on the planet has heard of Pinehurst, but for a great golf experience at less than half the price of a round at Pinehurst #2, the Fayetteville area in central North Carolina, may just be one of the best deals in the country. Fayetteville has eight fine golf courses where green fees with a cart are about $35.
Stay overnight in one of the many chain hotels, most offering golf packages or stay in the romantic historic hotel on Hay Street which the streets are brick-paved, the cafes serve a mean cappuccino at tables set outside on the sidewalks under the trees. Or you can dine in one of the casual brew pubs or by candlelight in the antique houses-turned-restaurants. The movie theaters, art galleries, military museum and boutiques also provide off-course interest.
Its warm enough to play golf year-round yet off-season rates kick in about this time of year adding up to some great deals.
No-slouch tracks by designers like Davis Love III, Dan Maples, Ellis Maples, Stewart Gooden, and Willard Byrd challenge golfers to earn their stripes. Tee it up at Anderson Creek Golf Club, Bayonet at Puppy Creek Golf Club, Cypress Lakes Golf Course, Keith Hills County Clubs Creek and River Courses and Kings Grant Country Club.
Named North Carolinas Best New Course in 2001, Davis Love IIIs Anderson Creek rolls over the Sandhills, with fairways cutting through longleaf pines and wetlands. Greens with generous roll-off areas and undulations evoke classic Donald Ross architecture. Bayonet Golf Club at Puppy Creek, a Willard Byrd design appeals to golfers of all skill levels with five tee boxes.
Youll find no blind shots to greens at Cypress Lakes while Keith Hills Country Club, designed by Ellis Maples, serves as the home venue for Campbell University and numerous amateur events. Keith Hills features large, bent grass greens and rolling, plush fairways as it winds through a golfing community set on the Cape Fear River.
Golf packages start at $210 per person for three rounds of golf and two night accommodations.
Value added: A must-see is the Airborne & Special Operations Museum (ASOM) which relates the history of these exceptional troops through superb scenery, equipment, mannequins, audio-visual presentations and photography.

Katharine DysonKatharine Dyson is an award-winning freelance travel, lifestyle, golf and guidebook author based in the northeast.

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