The ultimate guide to Las Vegas golf

April 28th, 2010

Golf in Las Vegas is plentiful. Before, golf wasn’t really a big reason to come to Las Vegas. Most of the people coming to Las Vegas were there hoping to make a big roulette winning of just wanted to play video poker. As nowadays gamblers can play online roulette from home, more and more people are coming to the Sin City for other attractions, such as golf. At last count, there were more than 60 golf courses within an hour of Las Vegas.

These are the very best golf courses in the United States. In 1967, there were only fourteen golf courses. In 1984, they built Spanish Trail and that was the first golf course that had been built here in 19 years. That opened the floodgates. After that they opened one after another. Here are some of the most popular golf courses.

The Wynn

3131 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
888-320-7122
www.wynnlasvegas.com
Courses: 1 (18 holes)
Rates: $500
Comment: It’s very exclusive. It’s like Shadow Creek used to be. I believe you have to be staying at the Wynn to play there. It’s expensive, but it’s very reminiscent of Shadow Creek. As I understand it, it’s as good as or better than Shadow Creek. It’s got to be great. Plus it’s a Fazio course, which is as good as it gets.

Cascata

One Cascata Drive
Boulder City, NV 89005
702-294-2000
www.caesars.com/Cascata
Courses: 1 (18 holes)
Rates: $300–$500
Comment: Cascata is spectacular. It winds right through the mountains and it’s hard to believe that they built a golf course there. They have a river that goes right through the clubhouse. It’s just amazing. Each hole practically sits by itself. You can hardly see any other hole except the one you’re playing. You’re hitting it down these canyons and around and they’ve got waterfalls. When you finish, you drive your cart in underneath the clubhouse and they take good care of you.

Rio Secco

2851 Grand Hills Drive
Henderson, NV 89052
888-TO-SECCO
www.harrahs.com/our_casinos/rlv/rio_secco/
Courses: 1 (18 holes) Rates: $100-$150
Comment: Rio Secco is also home of the Butch Harman School. It’s a demanding little golf course that goes in and out of these little arroyos. It’s a beautiful layout that overlooks the city. At certain holes you can see right through the city. One of the hardest holes up there is number five. It’s a demanding little dog leg left with a tough tee shot and then you’ve got an elevated green. The Rio Secco has a beautiful little clubhouse. It’s very well decorated and has a nice meeting room and a second bar sitting in the dining area.

The Falls at Lake Las Vegas

600 Lake Las Vegas Pkwy.
Henderson, NV 89011
877-698-4653
www.lakelasvegas.com/golf_falls.asp Courses: 1 (18 Holes)
Rates: $160-$275
Comment: The Falls is a spectacular venue. You play an uphill par five up in the far corner of the golf course. The hole that you see in all the magazines is a sharp dog leg right. From the tee, you’re looking over the entire city from east to west. The clubhouse was voted best golf shop in the chapter. They have all the amenities. They have a beautiful brand new driving range and the area is so beautiful because it’s right on Lake Las Vegas. It’s absolutely gorgeous.

Reflection Bay at Lake Las Vegas

1600 Lake Las Vegas Pkwy.
Henderson, NV 89011
877-698-4653
www.lakelasvegas.com/golf_reflection.asp
Courses: 1 (18 Holes)
Rates: $160-$275
Comment: Reflection Bay goes right around the Hyatt Regency Hotel. They have five or six holes right on the lake. They go right along the lake and they have a spectacular par three, which carries on the water to almost an island green, about three-quarters water. They’ve got everything: a beautiful clubhouse, a golf shop that is second to none, and with all the staff you never have to touch your golf clubs.

Bali Hai

Golf Club
5160 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89119
888-427-6678
www.balihaigolfclub.com
Courses: 1 (18 holes)
Rates: $125-$325
Comment: Bali High is probably one of the finest resort golf courses in the world. Number one, it’s right on the strip. On a lot of the holes, you’re looking up towards the Mandalay Bay Hotel. They created the golf course in a South Pacific style. They have lagoons and waterfalls and the clubhouse is spectacular. It’s all done in south seas décor and tiki hut fashion. It’s extremely upscale and the service is unparalleled. When you sign up in the golf shop, you are escorted to your personal caddie and cart at your starting time. When you’re on the course, you’ve got club hosts, which are checking up on you to make sure everything is okay. Their golf shop is also nationally recognized.

Revere Golf Club

2600 Hampton Road
Henderson, NV 89052
877-2Revere
www.reveregolf.com
Courses: 2 (36 holes)
Rates: Lexington: $130-$240, Concord: $115-$200
Comment: It’s all done after colonial times. The golf shop kind of runs that theme out. The golf course is very player friendly and a few holes carry ravines. It just sits up on the side of the hill in the southeast part of the valley, so you’re looking back over the whole valley in a lot of the venues. It’s a very playable golf course, an enjoyable golf course to play.

Badlands Golf Club

9119 Alta Drive
Las Vegas, NV 89145
800-470-4622
www.badlandsgc.com
Courses: 3 (27 holes) Rates: $50-$70
Comment: Badlands is a shorter target golf course. By that I mean you have a lot of holes you need to lay up on. On the first eighteen that they designed (Johnny Miller designed it) there are a lot of lay-up holes by virtue of the fact that there is not much land. By that I mean there are washes that go through there, so you have to work around that. There are definitely a lot of lay-up shots where you can’t really let it go with the driver. They built a third nine which is probably the best of three.

Paiute

10325 Nu-Wav Kaiv Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89124
866-284-2833
www.lvpaiutegolf.com
Courses: 3 (54 holes)
Rates: Sun $85-$165, Snow $85-$185, Wolf $105-$215
Comment: Paiute has three eighteen-hole golf courses (Snow, Sun, and Wolf). They’re all done by Pete Dye and they’re spectacular. You can tell they were designed by Pete Dye, there’s no question about that. It’s hard to believe, but they have a lot of water features out there. A lot of lakes, which is interesting in the desert. It’s about twenty miles out of town, so it’s a really peaceful setting. There is nothing between the mountains and that golf course, so it is very desolate and peaceful. All three golf courses are very well done. The amenities here, because they get so much play from out of town people, are great. They have a huge golf shop.

Tournament Players Club at Summerlin

1700 Village Center Circle
Las Vegas, NV 89134
702-256-0111
www.tpcsummerlin.com
Courses: 1 (18 holes)
Rates: Inquire within
Comment: That’s where they hold the Las Vegas Invitational. It’s a really good tour course. By that I mean they have all kinds of shops. The course plays pretty fast and has the Bermuda fairways, which play pretty quick. They just redid the greens and they’re very fast. It’s an extremely well done championship layout. You can shoot low number, but you can’t make any mistakes. There are holes there that require attention. You can’t just let it fly.

Dragonridge Country Club

552 South Stephanie Street
Henderson, NV 89012
877-855-1505
www.dragonridgegolf.com
Courses: 1 (18 holes)
Rates: Inquire within
Comment: Dragonridge is way up in the corner by Anthem. It has a lot of elevation to work with. So you get a lot of shots you hit down into a fairway. You’re going up over hills, so it’s a very challenging golf course. It’s well done. It’s got some different kinds of shots that you’re going to have to play. It’s relatively new for the area and they’re just now getting their membership filled out.

Wolf Creek Golf Club

403 Paradise Pkwy. Mesquite, NV 89027
866-252-4653
www.golfwolfcreek.com
Courses: 1 (18 holes)
Rates: $85-$180
Comment: The second tee there is 100 steps up from the number one green. So you’re hitting down at this fairway and you’re up there so high it’s almost hard to take a swing, you feel like you’re going to fall off. They’ve got three or four holes like that. You hit way down into a valley and it’s unbelievable. You’ve got waterfalls going up through the mountain side and it’s incredible. It’s an attraction to get you to go to Mesquite, which sits about 80 miles from Las Vegas.

Siena Golf Club

10575 Siena Monte Avenue
Las Vegas, NV 89135
888-689-6499
www.sienagolfclub.com
Courses: 1 (18 holes)
Rates: $145-$175
Comment: The Siena is a real playable golf course. It’s not exceptionally long and it’s a beautiful venue. The layout is done really well. They have some lake features, beautiful rolling greens, and it’s a fun golf course to play. You don’t have to break your back playing it. It’s a joy.

Bear’s Best

11111 W. Flamingo Road
Las Vegas, NV 89135
866-385-8500
www.bearsbest.com/vegas/
Courses: 1 (18 holes)
Rates: $195-$245, twilght rates available
Comment: Bear’s Best copies the holes that Jack Nicklaus designed for other courses. So you get all these different venues. It’s very attractive to play. They’re set up extremely well for golf. The clubhouse is modest and it’s designed for the player who comes into town. They have all the amenities; the driving range is really nice. Then when you get out on the golf course, you get a chance to look at 18 pretty unique holes.

Tournament Players Club at The Canyon’s

9851 Canyon Run Drive
Las Vegas, NV 89144
702-256-2500
www.tpc.com/daily/the_canyons
Courses: 1 (18 Holes)
Rates: $75-$265
Comment: TPC Canyons, as the name implies, has a canyon that goes right through it. It’s very demanding on your tee shot and it’s also one of the golf courses they use for the Las Vegas Invitational. If the wind blows a little bit up there, you’ve really got all you can handle. It’s a good golf course, nicely designed, and it’s relatively difficult. It’s a golf course that you need to do some thinking on. You can’t just stand up there with your driver. You’ve got to put it in position and go from there.

Monte Carlo

March 23rd, 2010

Monte Carlo Casino

The Monte Carlo Casino

Monaco is a name bringing thoughts of wealth and splendor.

A remnant of the historical past of Europe, it is an independent State, even though it is a tiny city-state inside metropolitan France with no army to defend itself and a population of only 33,000 people. Monte Carlo is the most famous neighborhood in Monaco, and this is where the famous casino is located.

The Casino de Monte-Carlo is a treasure of the Belle Epoque, but also the reference with respect to gambling for all players in Europe. Its building was built in 1863 by Charles Garnier to whom we also owe many monuments in France, including the opera that bears his name in Paris.

Overlooking the Mediterranean, the casino has seen the high society of yesterday and today in a magnificent setting made of sculptures and bas-reliefs, frescoes, marble and gold. It is in the same building that is housed the Opera de Monte-Carlo with its exceptional cultural events.

The Casino de Monte-Carlo has become a reference for games with all sorts of variations: Thirty and forty, Roulette, European Roulette, Chemin de fer, Bank at two tables, Punto Banco, Craps, Poker, American Roulette, Blackjack, and the expression that everyone knows seems to always resonate when thinking of Monte Carlo “Les jeux sont faits”.

It is in such an emblematic place as the casino at Monte Carlo that appeared the first automatic machines and where the jackpot was invented, as well as slot machines flowing stream of their currencies in the laughter of the ladies beautifully dressed and coiffed.

Over the years, the Monte-Carlo Casino has hosted new and exclusive games while creating other fairs and festivals places like Cafe de Paris, the Sun Casino or Casino summer. Obviously, in this mythical place open to persons of at least 18 years, you should be well dressed without shorts but with a jacket and cocktail dress for ladies.

Who knows you may see James Bond there if you are in luck.

Panama: green and blue paradise

September 27th, 2009
Pearl Islands

Pearl Islands

Panama is not the most traveled destination. But for the ones who like to pick unusual spots, this is a fantastic choice.

Here I am not talking about taking a cruise ship that navigates along the Panama canal, where the stop at Panama City is just one port along the way. Yes this can be a nice way to discover Central America, no doubt about it, but the country of Panama deserves a vacation only in Panama.

In a nutshell, Panama is great because you will find great weather, great food, a mixed culture with a unique historical background, a very high density of plants and animals, in particular birds,  a friendly population, many beaches &  islands, and more.

Let’s start with the main attraction, the canal. This is unique human construction which almost failed and took the lives of thousands of workers to be completed. The French started it but could not finish, due to a series of disasters including an epidemic of malaria. The Americans took over where the French left it and managed to join the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

Note that it is necessary for the ships to cross three sets of  locks, as the Canal ascends to the artificial Gatun Lake before descending to the other side. This  is a marvel of civil engineering. Following the Canal either in a ship or by helicopter is a great experience.

Panama is mostly covered with equatorial rain forest, and it is the habitat of the largest variety of birds on earth. It also has the largest variety of trees on earth. So this is such a rich environment for nature lovers, wherever you are in the country.

Even in Panama City, if you have  a chance to walk by the Presidential Palace, it is the home of a number of bird cranes, both local and foreign. In Panama you will see all kinds of birds, in all shapes and color. Even if you are not a “bird watcher”, these birds are so beautiful when you find them.

Another attraction is Panama City itself. This is the place in Central America where you will get the best food, so do not miss it. They have a mix of European cuisines with the local touch resulting in some delicious recipes and amazing chefs.

Finally there are islands and beaches and many are fantastic. But I am going to reveal you one of the more extraordinary island resort in Panama and in the World: Hacienda del Mar.

This is a truly amazing island. Square miles aftere square miles of rain forest. Not inhabited, except for the staff and guests of the only resort of the island. As this island belongs to a billionaire, this is not likely to change.

The resort is in the Pearl Islands a few dozen miles from the entrance of the Panama Canal. It used to be an American military base and this is why this private island has miles of roads in perfect condition. But nothing else is left of the American military presence, except for a few abandoned bunkers overseeing the gorgeous panorama with smaller islands in the distance.

Try this exclusive resort. When we were there, we were the only guests, and this was the vacation of a lifetime.

Hong Kong, dear Hong Kong

July 30th, 2009
Hong KongHong Kong

If you want to travel somewhere and if you want to visit a City, Hong Kong is one of the best choices you could ever make.

Hong Kong is unlike most Cities. Very few other cities come to mind when seeking an extraordinary place with a wide variety within it, and Rio de Janeiros could be compared to Hong Kong in this respect, but there are very few other candidates.

On Hong Kong Island, there are sand beaches, hicking trails among the luxuriant tropical forest around the “Peak”, skyscapers coming out along the cliffs, large preserved unbuilt areas, breathtaking views from the highest points, unlimited supply of the richest Chinese food in the World, the highest proportion of Roll Royces per inhabitants on earth, etc.

Unlike most big metropolis like Tokyo for instance, the land is not 100% invaded by concrete, and the natural beauty of this tropical paradise is preserved on about half of the entire surface of the Island.  So it is possible to start walking from “Central”, which is one of the business districts, and to find yourself alone in the forest in less than 15 minutes.

If you like the city aspect itself, there are choices for all tastes: luxurious shops Asian and Western, immense shopping malls on ten floors offering every known brand, local tiny shops where you can find Chinese medicine, various potteries and art pieces.

Hong Kong itself is made of Hong Kong Island which is the second largest island (after the wild Lantau Island), plus numerous smaller islands, and Kowloon & the New Territories. The most beautiful side is all these islands. You can take various boats and ferries and visit them, eat local sea food and enjoy a moment of peace in a slower paced environment. It does not feel like a big town at all over there.

Another advantage of going to Hong Kong is that it is probably the best hub to visit South-East Asia. Neighboring countries such as Thailand, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia,…, are all only a few hours away by plane, and will welcome you with open arms.

Hello world!

June 1st, 2009

Welcome to my blog.

This blog will be about two of my passions, traveling and gambling. So come back and enjoy the reading.