King Putt takes the rigors of an outdoor ground game and translates them into an indoor, glow-in-the-dark experience perfect for any age and weather. The northwest course encourages birdies and eagles amidst a jungle environment of jolly, golf-enthused animals. The southeast locale near Henderson provides an Egyptian backdrop, with Anubis heads and black-lit sarcophagi gracing each stroke.
Since 1967, the Southern Nevada Golf Association has served as the best source for deeply discounted greens fees and golf deals for public and private courses throughout the region. A licensed representative of the United States Golf Association, the SNGA carries out a number of official duties, including administering the USGA Handicap System, organizing tournaments, and arbitrating golf-related disputes, such as whether or not grass hulas qualify as appropriate club attire. The not-for-profit organization counts more than 50 courses and approximately 10,000 individuals among its membership ranks, and continuously strives to expand its reach while protecting the game’s integrity and traditions.
When newly minted golf director Orrin Vincent assembled a team of sharp course management minds in 1972, he couldn’t have expected the reach he and his brain trust would one day possess. The enterprise formed that day at a course on the banks of Lake Tahoe now spans the nation, encompassing 41 courses scattered across 15 states, from Florida to Washington. In keeping with the standard set forth 40 years ago, the organization is made up of experts with experience across all aspects of golf course management—from construction and maintenance to design and soundproofing tee boxes. Their signature flare for perfectionism amid naturally dramatic settings can be witnessed at each course in the OB Sports directory, including the Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed Monarch Beach Golf Links in California, the 36-hole Gamble Ranch in Washington, and the Arnold Palmer-designed Angel Park Golf Club in Las Vegas.
An official PGA Tour event, the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open sets a field of 132 tour pros against the rugged desert terrain of TPC Summerlin, with all proceeds benefitting Shriners Hospitals for Children. The four-day, 72-hole tournament tees off around 7 a.m. on Thursday, as pros chip and putt through arroyos, canyons, and lush bentgrass greens in pursuit of a $4.4 million purse rumored to contain a pack of much needed tic tacs. Some of golf's best players are invited to play in this storied event, which was first won by Fuzzy Zoeller in 1983, served as the stage for Tiger Woods's first professional PGA Tour victory in 1996, and witnessed PGA tour history last year when Jonathan Byrd aced a hole-in-one from 204 yards. Jonathan Byrd, along with Charley Hoffman, Martin Laird, Nick Watney, and other top PGA tour stars are scheduled to appear. Viewers can clap out encouraging incantations while following their favorite player or claim a prime spot off the 18th hole to watch pros emerge from the course's rich flora to drop approach shots on a green wrapped by a lake, bunkers, and the pressure to finally win the approval of indifferent godparents.
Golf Summerlin operates a triumvirate of courses that roam the desert tundra just east of Red Rock Canyon and showcase the fairway-carving vision of renowned course architects Billy Casper and Greg Nash. All three courses—Palm Valley, Highland Falls, and Eagle Crest—present their own brand of tee-to-green challenges as golfers aim for fairways framed by sandstone-hued peaks.
Palm Valley Golf Course spans 6,849 yards of undulating fairways and bent grass greens. Relatively generous fairways entice aggressive tee shots throughout the course, but particularly ill-struck drives are likely to find the shadows of encroaching pine trees or the grizzly sands of 68 bunkers peppered throughout the course. Nine ponds also populate the course, occasionally forcing golfers into tricky course-management decisions and granting golf balls a chance to pursue their lifelong dream of becoming dinner for fat fish.
Highland Falls Golf Course measures a modest 6,512 yards, yet manages to present a gauntlet of treacherous greenery. Throughout the course, golfers may notice that their drives carry a few extra yards, a product of the dry, thin air—the course perches at an elevation of 3,000 feet—and golf balls galvanized by the electric lure of the Las Vegas Strip, visible from certain vantages across the layout. Careful club selection and a keen eye for distance are critical throughout the round, as dramatic elevation changes complicate basic readings of yardage and legions of sand traps await to ensnare misplayed shots.
The shortest of the three courses, Eagle Crest Golf Course cozies up to the amber mountainside with an 18-hole, 4,067-yard executive layout. The par 60 layout features 12 par-threes—where golfers can zero in with pin-high iron shots—and six par-fours, where players can unleash aggression with flush drives. Rounds conclude at the straightaway, 370-yard, par 4 18th hole, where the fairway plummets 40 feet into a large, bunker-fortified green that lets you punch it if it flinches in anticipation of a craterous ball mark.
Surrounded by the rising crags of the Red Rock Canyon, pupils at the PGA Tour Academy at TPC Las Vegas study the subtle art-science of the golf swing with the help of the school's estimable golf gurus. During each private, one-hour lesson, players club dimpled spheres under the keen eyes of the academy's resident golf aces, who augment their swing-diagnostic powers with advanced, slow-motion V1 video playback. The V1 technology plays pupils' swings from multiple angles alongside similar videos of some of the world's greatest golfers, providing a basis for comparison, a model for golfing aspirations, and a pretext for criticizing Camilo Villegas's knickers.