People associate Las Vegas with many things: casinos, flashing lights, and fancy hotels. One could even add stereotypical wild alcohol-induced impromptu marriages to the list. Due to the desert landscape, however, the “Sin City” golf scene does not always come to mind when the mind wanders about this world-famous party central. Truth be told…the best golf courses in Las Vegas rival some of the best golf courses in the world!
We’re here to prove that Las Vegas has a great golf scene, showcasing courses brimming with life in the otherwise barren and rather lifeless natural landscape. So call up your mates and read through this blog because your next golf trip could include an equally exciting (and maybe costly) nightlife.
1. Shadow Creek Golf Course
Since the landscape of Nevada is relatively (if not completely) flat, it’s not hard to imagine that building golf courses in Las Vegas can be costly.
Shadow Creek is a prime example of how much monetary investment is required to produce the perfect golfing experience, with roughly $47 million poured into its inception. Luckily for Shadow Creek and its frequenters, this immense sum certainly paid off.
Designed by Tom Fazio, the Shadow Creek Golf Course is a must-play in Las Vegas. Although a little bit on the expensive side (clocking in at roughly $600 full coverage), it is one of few courses on its level that is available to the public.
Enjoy playing on the same greens that some of the world’s favorites sank their most memorable puts.
2. Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort (Snow Mountain)
Out of all the courses that the prestigious Paiute Golf Resort in Las Vegas offers, Snow Mountain is consistently nominated as golfers’ favorite course.
With four tee options, golfers of all levels can enjoy the Snow Mountain course. Designed by Pete Dye, the course has stunning water features, challenging dog legs, and everything else you may expect from a top-tier golf course.
Las Vegas Paiute is home to two other great courses, the Sun Mountain Course and the Wolf Course (the longest golf course in Nevada at 7,604 yards from pro tees). All three of these courses exhibit breathtaking surroundings and provide their players with hours of fun, but if you want the best value for your money (and time), we recommend trying Snow Mountain first.
3. Bali Hai Golf Club
Bali Hai, named after the mythical island featured in the musical South Pacific, has an equally magical golf course.
The course was designed by architect Ted Robinson and opened in 1991. The course is known for its tropical theme, featuring palm trees, waterfalls, and other tropical plants throughout the course.
The club offers a driving range and a practice green for those looking to hone their golf skills. The clubhouse is home to the standard pro shop, restaurant, and bar.
Streams from the waterfalls form part of the course to create immersive water hazards, sure to impress landscaping enthusiasts and nature lovers.
4. TPC Las Vegas
TPC Vegas is a public course that allows players to get a taste of what professionals get to play during the tour.
What’s impressive about the course is the pristine condition of the fairways and greens despite the harsh desert-like climate. However, the course is difficult, and one must know that a bad slice will certainly result in a lost ball as a pure, arid, vast desert surrounds the course.
TPC Vegas, formerly known as the TPC Canyons-Public, is not to be confused with TPC Summerlin – both of which often go by the name of TPC Las Vegas. This distinction is important since the TPC Summerlin hosts a PGA Tour stop and is generally not open to the public.
Holders of MasterCard World and World Elite cards, however, do have the opportunity to play on the PGA course for an exclusive few days.
5. The Chimera Golf Club
One of the shorter courses on the list, measuring 6,757 yards, the Chimera golf course offers players a more forgiving play style. The ease of play can also be attributed to the few trees during play.
From the driving range, you can see Mt. Charleston, the Las Vegas strip, and the famed downtown area due to its central location, allowing players a sense of city golf infused with desert scenes.
The online golfing community often overlooks chimera, yet it provides a great game of golf for a very reasonable price.
Some may remember it by its previous name, ‘Tuscany,’ and others may recall that it was designed by the late Ted Robinson Jr. Whatever brought you here, though, should urge you to try it out – if the course doesn’t satisfy you, perhaps the 19th hole will.
6. The Bear’s Best Las Vegas
The name itself should already be enough to catch the eye of golf enthusiasts, but for those who do not yet know: The Bear’s Best course in Las Vegas was designed by no other than the Bear himself, Jack Nicklaus.
One of the key features of this course is the variety and authenticity of every hole. Some holes would certainly rank among the best that Nicklaus has ever produced.
The course is public and recommended for players of all levels. Although some holes may present great difficulty, none of them will be enough to have you throwing your clubs around.
What’s more is the amenities, practice areas, and breathtaking views offered by the club. What more is there to say?
7. Angel Park Golf Club Mountain Course
Angel Park, as the name suggests, is registered at almost 3000 feet above sea level, providing players with the ultimate views of the surrounding Las Vegas valley.
What’s more is that players here have the choice between two 18-hole courses: the standard Mountain course and the less challenging Palm course.
Designed by the iconic Arnold Palmer, the Mountain Course is our recommendation among the two choices. Be careful, though, since this course is known to have significantly difficult greens, which will be a test of mettle for players’ short game.
8. The Royal Links Golf Club Las Vegas
Certainly an interesting entry to the list. The novelty of the Royal Links golf club is that each of its 18 holes is exactly replicated after courses played during the British Open. This feature makes the game of golf suddenly feel like a sports museum trip, as every hole features little monuments and plaques commemorating the backstory of these iconic holes.
The course prided itself on bringing the true feeling of Scottish golf, where it was incepted, to the city of Las Vegas.
If you recognize holes like Royal Troon’s “Postage Stamp” or the “Road Hole” at St. Andrews, the Royal Links would have been your perfect game of golf in Nevada. Still, unfortunately, the course has been closed since 17 December 2021 as it was sold to a home development company.
9. Rio Secco Golf Club
Another one of the fan’s favorites in Las Vegas is Rio Secco’s golf course. The course, designed by Rees Jones, features elevation changes unmatched in the region.
Built in a dried-up river (from which the club derives its name), the Rio Secco course is surrounded by impressive canyon walls, further accentuating the desert surroundings.
The back nine holes climb to a plateau which finally provides players with awesome views of the Las Vegas Strip and the valley below. Many holes incorporate the little canyons around and within the course to make for a more interesting and challenging play.
Few courses are as immersive and unique as the “Dry River” course – players would do well not to miss this one.
10. Rhodes Ranch Golf Club
A mere 5 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip, you can find Rhodes Ranch Golf Club. Since the course designed by the famed Ted Robinson Sr opened in 1997, it has been widely acclaimed as a top-tier course in the area.
This 4-star course offers all that a true golfer wants and is available for play to the public. Players of all skill levels can equally enjoy this course.
Ted Robinson Sr is especially proud of the par 3 holes he added to the course and claims they are some of the finest he has ever worked on.
Only 6,582 yards in length, the course is defined by these par 3s. Enjoy playing here in an environment defined by tropical scenes featuring palm trees and impressive water hazards.
11. Las Vegas National Golf Club
The National Golf Club in Las Vegas features a course open to the public ever since 1961. Designed by Bert Stamps and loved by generations of locals in the area, the Las Vegas National Golf Course frequently hosts events of all sorts, including PGA tournaments (Las Vegas Invitational and Las Vegas Classic).
The course is defined by its rich history: not only is it one of the oldest courses in the State of Nevada (and the USA as a whole), but Tiger Woods also played it on his journey to win his first PGA Tour – back in 1996.
During this very Las Vegas National, Woods scored a 1-under par (while par is 71). It could be a fun challenge with friends to see who can beat Woods’ 1996 score.
12. Desert Pines Golf Club
Staying true to its name, the Desert Pines Golf Club is one of few golfing establishments in the area that moves away from the city-defining palm trees and instead opts to immerse players in a forest of pine trees (in the middle of a desert, believe it or not!). Whether you agree with allowing invasive tree species in the middle of an arid desert, one cannot deny that the smell of the pines is refreshing.
Designed by Jeff Brauer and opened in 1995, the Desert Pines course is located at an elevation lower than any other in the area. The elevation makes it special because the winds of Las Vegas can often reach up to 20-30 miles an hour – strong enough to ruin a nice day of golf.
The course measures only 6,222 yards; most players should be able to play a quick game of golf around a mere 4 hours long.
Conclusion: Best Las Vegas Golf Courses for Tourists
Whether you are in the area for a business trip, bachelors party, casino royale, or simply passing through, you wouldn’t want to let the opportunity of a unique desert golf experience pass you.
All these courses offer something unique, and you’re sure to find one that suits your and your party’s needs. Just be wary of the strong winds and select your preferred date accordingly, then tee up!