The Tom Fazio-designed course originally built by Steve Wynn in 1989 is a legend in the golf world beyond its permanent position on numerous world’s best course lists. The over $60 million project terraformed from 350 acres of desert was once accessible only to personal guests of Steve Wynn or VIP guests of the Mirage Hotel & Casino, making it one of the most exclusive tee times in the world. Today things are slightly more accessible, though you’ll still need to be a guest at an MGM Resorts International and be willing to pay $500 in greens fees — and that’s just to play from Monday to Thursday. Included in the fee? A round-trip limo ride. Even more, despite the bold entry method, those who’ve played Shadow Creek praise the course for its subtle elegance and natural realism.
Wynn Golf Club
Another brainchild of Tom Fazio and Steve Wynn stands out more for its outstanding service and convenience than its playability. As the only course attached to a resort on the Strip, squeezing a round into a busy schedule doesn’t get any easier. You also don’t have to be a hotel guest to play. Green fees are steep for the area, but they include quality Foot Joy shoes and Callaway clubs if you’ve come unprepared. Like Shadow Creek, the 7,042-yard par 70 course modeled after the rolling hills of South Carolina can easily fool golfers into forgetting they’re swinging in the middle of Vegas, which might be the biggest magic trick ever pulled on the Strip.
This Rees Jones designed wonder located roughly 30 miles past the Strip in nearby Boulder City routinely competes for top golf course honors in the region, and in the rest of world, for good reason. Rather than hide the beauty of the natural desert landscape, this mountainside par 72 course mixes stunning views of the dry valley below, with man-made flourishes like a 418-foot waterfall that transitions into a river flowing through the opulent clubhouse. Combined with expertly trained Tour-class caddies and deceptive slopes, it’s also a challenge that few golfers ever forget.
TPC Las Vegas
Like all TPC (Tournament Players Clubs) courses, TPC Las Vegas is owned by the PGA Tour and has played host to several pro tournaments in its history. Today, you’ll find the public course nestled inside the master-planned community of Summerlin bustling with golfers of all skill sets looking to measure their game against PGA-level quality. The back nine’s views of the Red Rock Canyon in particular shouldn’t be missed, and if you enjoy playing with your better half, it’s worth noting that this course is one of the few in the area that allows men and women to play from a blend of blue and white tees.
Coyote Springs Golf Club
An hour away from Las Vegas, Coyote Springs Golf Club rewards those who make the drive with the world’s largest practice facilities — including a free driving range. Perfect for that quick tune-up before taking the challenging course’s undulating greens and clinging rough. Frequent deals on greens fees make it possible to play for well under $100. There’s also free replay specials if you want to make a day of it. Tip: for those of you itching to get back into town consider going early to avoid peak tee time traffic.
Just be prepared to wait; nine holes can routinely run around the 5-hour mark at peak playing times.
Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort
The Paiute Nation in the Las Vegas region decided to make their name through golf over casinos and the move has served them well. All three courses are designed by the legendary Pete Dye, whose portfolio holds more top-rated courses than anyone else. The 7,604-yard Wolf Course is easily the most difficult, both of the trio and in the area at large. Still, with rates topping out at $180 in peak season, it’s also one of the best golf values you’ll find in the Vegas area, bar none.
Royal Links Golf Club
Few courses embody the “anything is possible” entertainment experience Vegas is known for quite like the Royal Links. All of its 18 holes are designed as homages to famous counterparts scattered across courses that host the British Open, including the St. Andrews “Road Hole” and the “Postage Stamp” from Royal Troon. And the features don’t stop there. You’ll find everything from a nod to the old world in the form a replica castle club house to the option of hiring charming female caddies — known as Parmates — to ensure a round never feels too stodgy.
Bear’s Best Las Vegas
As with The Royal Links, the appeal of Bear’s Best is that it combines famous holes Jack Nicklaus designed from around the Southwest — including options from Castle Pines, PGA West, Cabo Del Sol — and other private country clubs into one playable course for all skill levels. Take advantage of the full GPS system and video walkthroughs for each hole hosted by The Bear himself to hone your attack. Once you’re done, make sure to check out the bevy of Nicklaus memorabilia and history back in the pro shop.