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
Kim cruises to first win, final Open invite at Deere
Following the best week of his professional career, Michael Kim is both a winner on the PGA Tour and the 156th and final player to earn a tee time next week at The Open.
Kim entered the final round of the John Deere Classic with a five-shot lead, and the former Cal standout removed any lingering doubt about the tournament's outcome with birdies on each of his first three holes. He cruised from there, shooting a bogey-free 66 to finish the week at 27 under and win by eight shots over Francesco Molinari, Joel Dahmen, Sam Ryder and Bronson Burgoon.
It equals the tournament scoring record and ties for the largest margin of victory on Tour this season, matching Dustin Johnson's eight-shot romp at Kapalua in January and Molinari's margin two weeks ago at the Quicken Loans National.
"Just super thankful," Kim said. "It's been a tough first half of the year. But to be able to finish it out in style like this means a lot."
Kim, 25, received the Haskins Award as the nation's top collegiate player back in 2013, but his ascent to the professional ranks has been slow. He had only one top-10 finish in 83 starts on Tour entering the week, tying for third at the Safeway Open in October 2016, and had missed the cut each of the last three weeks.
But the pieces all came together at TPC Deere Run, where Kim opened with 63 and held a three-shot lead after 36 holes. His advantage was trimmed to a single shot during a rain-delayed third round, but Kim returned to the course late Saturday and closed with four straight birdies on Nos. 15-18 to build a five-shot cushion and inch closer to his maiden victory.
As the top finisher among the top five not otherwise exempt, Kim earned the final spot at Carnoustie as part of the Open Qualifying Series. It will be his first major championship appearance since earning low amateur honors with a T-17 finish at the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion, and he is also now exempt for the PGA Championship and next year's Masters.
The last player to earn the final Open spot at the Deere and make the cut the following week was Brian Harman, who captured his first career win at TPC Deere Run in 2014 and went on to tie for 26th at Royal Liverpool.
Poulter offers explanation in dispute with marshal
Ian Poulter took to Twitter to offer an explanation after the Englishman was accused of verbally abusing a volunteer during the third round of the Scottish Open.
Poulter hooked his drive on the opening hole at Gullane Golf Club into a bush, where Quintin Jardine was working as a marshal. Poulter went on to find the ball, wedge out and make bogey, but the details of the moments leading up to his second shot differ depending on who you ask.
Jardine wrote a letter to the tournament director that he also turned into a colorfully-titled blog post, accusing Poulter of berating him for not going into the bush "feet first" in search of the ball since Poulter would have received a free drop had his ball been stepped on by an official.
"I stood and waited for the player. It turned out to be Mr. Poulter, who arrived in a shower of expletives and asked me where his ball was," Jardine wrote. "I told him and said that I had not ventured into the bush for fear of standing on it. I wasn't expecting thanks, but I wasn't expecting aggression, either."
Jardine added that Poulter stayed to exchange heated words with the volunteer even after wedging his ball back into the fairway. After shooting a final-round 69 to finish in a tie for 30th, Poulter tweeted his side of the story to his more than 2.3 million followers:
Disappointing. Clearly misunderstood my explanation. pic.twitter.com/YcKHMPf2v7— Ian Poulter (@IanJamesPoulter) July 15, 2018
Poulter, 42, won earlier this year on the PGA Tour at the Houston Open and is exempt into The Open at Carnoustie, where he will make his 17th Open appearance. His record includes a runner-up at Royal Birkdale in 2008 and a T-3 finish at Muirfield in 2013.
Immelman misses Open bid via OWGR tiebreaker
A resurgent performance at the Scottish Open gave Trevor Immelman his first top-10 finish in more than four years, but it left him short of a return to The Open by the slimmest of margins.
The former Masters champ turned back the clock this week at Gullane Golf Club, carding four straight rounds of 68 or better. That run included a 5-under 65 in the final round, which gave him a tie for third and left him five shots behind winner Brandon Stone. It was his first worldwide top-10 since a T-10 finish at the 2014 Farmers Insurance Open.
There were three spots available into The Open for players not otherwise exempt, and for a brief moment it appeared Immelman, 38, might sneak the third and final invite.
But with Stone and runner-up Eddie Pepperell both not qualified, that left the final spot to be decided between Immelman and Sweden's Jens Dantorp who, like Immelman, tied for third at 15 under.
As has been the case with other stops along the Open Qualifying Series, the tiebreaker to determine invites is the players' standing in the Official World Golf Rankings entering the week. Dantorp is currently No. 322 in the world, but with Immelman ranked No. 1380 the Swede got the nod.
This will mark Dantorp's first-ever major championship appearance. Immelman, who hasn't made the cut in a major since the 2013 Masters, was looking to return to The Open for 10th time and first since a missed cut at Royal Lytham six years ago. He will instead work the week at Carnoustie as part of Golf Channel and NBC's coverage of The Open.
Stone (60) wins Scottish Open, invite to Carnoustie
There's never a bad time to shoot a 60, but Brandon Stone certainly picked an opportune moment to do so.
Facing a jammed leaderboard in the final round of the Scottish Open, Stone fired a 10-under 60 to leave a stacked field in his wake and win the biggest tournament of his career. His 20-under 260 total left him four shots clear of Eddie Pepperell and five shots in front of a group that tied for third.
Stone had a mid-range birdie putt on No. 18 that would have given him the first 59 in European Tour history. But even after missing the putt on the left, Stone tapped in to close out a stellar round that included eight birdies, nine pars and an eagle. It's his third career European Tour title but first since the Alfred Dunhill Championship in December 2016.
Stone started the day three shots behind overnight leader Jens Dantorp, but he made an early move with three birdies over his first five holes and five over his first 10. Stone added a birdie on the par-3 12th, then took command with a three-hole run from Nos. 14-16 that included two birdies and an eagle.
The eye-popping score from the 25-year-old South African was even more surprising considering his lack of form entering the week. Stone is currently ranked No. 371 in the world and had missed four of his last seven worldwide cuts without finishing better than T-60.
Stone was not yet qualified for The Open, and as a result of his performance at Gullane Golf Club he will tee it up next week at Carnoustie. Stone headlined a group of three Open qualifiers, as Pepperell and Dantorp (T-3) also earned invites by virtue of their performance this week. The final spot in the Open will go to the top finisher not otherwise qualified from the John Deere Classic.