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Best golf holes in Las Vegas

bali hai 18
                                 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).
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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, contributor