Like the Vegas Strip 10 miles down the road, Wildhorse Golf Club arose from a stretch of desert wasteland, and along the way, developed a vibrant and extravagant history. The 18-hole course opened for play in 1959 before original developer Hank Greenspun sold the property—then called Paradise Valley—to famed aviator and uncanny Leonardo Dicaprio impersonator Howard Hughes 9 years later, forever steeping the turf in the sprinklers of stardom. The course would undergo numerous name changes over the years, and even hosted the PGA’s Sierra Invitational in the ‘70s, until finally settling down as Wildhorse Golf Club in 1994.
Today, the course is home to lush fairways that appear as oases to the surrounding desert sand, punctuated by eight glimmering water hazards. The ninth hole presents a prime example of the course’s delicate balancing act, luring golfers along a fairway that narrows into an isthmus just ahead of the green, bookended by two large lakes. The ninth and the fourth hole occupy spots on the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Fantasy 18, composed of the best 18 holes in the Las Vegas area that aren’t slots.
In October of 2011, Wildhorse was also designated an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, a distinction earned for environmental excellence and a commitment to conservation of natural resources.
Course at a Glance:
Surrounding sandstone peaks create a distant wall that echoes the piercing sound of practice balls being hit above Siena Golf Academy’s all-grass driving range. Over the intermittent percussion of clubfaces striking their target, golfers will likely hear the instructional musings of instructor Tony Emma, who uses Siena Golf Academy’s range, practice green, short-game area, and championship-length course as the venue for lessons that cover all aspects of golf for players of all abilities. A PGA Class A member for 16 years, Tony strives to improve players’ ball-striking skills by studying video playback of each swing, which reveals any flaws in the golfer's motions as well as whether subjects have a future in the film industry. Players can tinker with their technique in private lessons held at the practice facilities or use a divot tool to pick Tony’s mind about course strategy and club selection during on-course playing lessons. In addition, the academy hosts small-group women’s-only clinics and short-game lessons.
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.
The Revere Golf Club celebrates the legacy of the Revolutionary War hero with two 18-hole championship golf courses that extend for more than 7,000 yards apiece through the desert canyons of the Las Vegas valley. Players drink in the scenery as they take on the Lexington course, opened in 1999 on the same date Paul Revere made his famous ride, or the Concord course, opened in 2002 on the same date Paul Revere discovered text messaging. Each layout was carved into the rugged terrain by Casper Nash & Associates, the prolific design team of Greg Nash and 51-time PGA tour winner Billy Casper.
Once visitors have holed out on either 18th green, they can take to the 23,000-square-foot clubhouse. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows span the entire north side of the facility, allowing for magnificent views of the course and the Las Vegas strip from Buckman’s Grille. Diners enjoy breakfast and lunch options amid Revolution-era ambiance, complete with lanterns that shine overhead and signal whether to order surf or turf.
Lexington Course at a Glance:
Concord Course at a Glance:
Majestic views of the Eastern Sierra Nevada and local rolling foothills greet tee-tackers from the get-go at the scenic Eagle Valley, where their winding spread of two 18-hole courses present various challenges for all skill sets. Their 50 Mile Club pass affords linksters a bevy of benefits including a round of golf with a cart on their picturesque West Course or East Course, ideal places to reenact the east vs. west golf battles seen on MTV in the 1990s. An additional bonanza of four drink tokens, four driving range tokens, advanced tee times, and discounts on lessons, future rounds, merchandise, are all available, as are discounts at the range (see full description and pricing here and daily golf rates here.
The First Tee, an international youth non-profit organization, helps to promote life-enhancing values and healthful choices among youth by introducing them to the game of golf and its inherent values. Since 1997, The First Tee has delivered its golf and life-skills curriculum to more than six million young people at more than 700 locations, including golf courses, elementary schools, and military installations, in 200 different communities across the United States
The swing scientists at Nicklaus Academy at DragonRidge hone in on fostering club mastery, helping golfers of all levels sharpen their game in a climate-controlled coaching studio. Students focus their 45-minute lesson on one of three aspects of their game. The full-swing lesson employs high-speed video capture and analysis in the Jack Nicklaus coaching studio to correct flaws in stroke and dissect the most celebrated sports bloopers. Clients can also choose to galvanize their greens game with a putting lesson, complete with computer-generated stroke capture and analysis in the TOMI putting lab, or smarten their short-shot approach with in-depth instruction in the Nicklaus Academy Short Game Training Area.
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