Brandon Tucker spent a few days in Las Vegas this September on the hunt for mid-week bargains, and he found plenty of them (like Angel Park, pictured right). Here's his trip report:
LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- For bargain-seekers, there is nothing quite like a mid-week trip to Las Vegas. When my brother and I flew into Vegas a few days early to play some golf before a family wedding, reverse sticker shock ensued: $23 per day for a Nissan Altima and $45 per night at a three-star hotel. Not only that, you can practically name your price for casino table limits.
These Vegas deals stretch to green fees too, especially in September. Simply put, if your group is willing to sacrifice the fact it might be a little tougher to find a hot party than on the weekend, you'd be silly not to come up with a couple extra vacation days and bask in weekday bargains, where visitors can feel like they're getting the 'local rate.'
Seeking out midweek bargains in Vegas on the golf course
Playing Las Vegas golf in mid-September has its pros and cons. While temperatures have cooled off enough to be comfortable throughout the day, the majority of area facilities over-seed this time of year. Consequently, a few courses we'd hoped to play were closed. If you see a real bargain tee time online, there may be a catch. Over-seeding requires 7-14 days, and the week or two afterwards, playing conditions are sub-prime. Thankfully, every shop we called to inquire about their status was brutally honest about what to expect.
For example, when researching tee times the night before we wanted to tee it up, a $25, 11 a.m. rate at the Primm Valley Desert Course (normally $99 at the very least) caught our eye. I've never heard of a Tom Fazio-designed course ever costing what amounts to merely a cart fee. Suspicious, I called up the pro shop, and they told me that conditions were quite dry because they planned to close the course down two days later to over-seed. The shop did tell me the greens were rolling very well, which made us consider pulling the trigger, but we eventually opted for a course a little closer to our hotel and booked a $45 morning time at Angel Park Golf Club's Mountain Course.
The Mountain had over-seeded a week earlier, which meant our round was cart path-only, fairways had their rough patches and the greens were on the slow side. But seeing as though it was the first round of the trip and the round was about half the cost of anything else we could find that morning, we didn't mind. The facility itself is one of Vegas' most complete, with 36 holes, plus a lighted Cloud Nine par 3, a putting course and a great 19th hole. I'll certainly be back.
For the next round, we ponied up $50 for an afternoon tee time at Silverstone Golf Club, a 27-hole semi-private facility in a residential community to the north of Las Vegas. A Bob Cupp design, the course is a little longer and wider than Angel Park, which meant you could hit a few more drivers off the tee and hit a few less shots out of desert rock.
Prime time at Royal Links Golf Club
Cart path-only is a common casualty of fall golf in the desert, but not everywhere. For our third and final round of the week, we stepped it up and played a top area experience, Royal Links Golf Club. While it's a premium green fee ($179-199), it's worth every penny. Rather than desert golf, you're playing lush fairways and smooth, fast greens. Instead of looking for errant drives in desert rock and shrub, the rough is tall and thick, which actually turns out to be a refreshing alternative once you've been in Vegas long enough.
While I've played enough golf in Scotland to not be overly enthralled by replica holes of the British Open, the main draw for me at Royal Links are the wide playing corridors with wall-to-wall grass to go along with high-roller service and conditions. Royal Links stopped over-seeding last fall to both promote a links-style game year round as well as healthier bermuda turf for all seasons, so the course was in perfect shape from tee-to-green, while service and amenities were pretty flawless, too.
The best part of our midweek trip to Vegas? We caught a couple hot shoes on the tables at the Silverton Casino and the week nearly paid for itself (we've been on the wrong side of the cards in Vegas before, so please excuse the gloating this time around).