Known primarily for its abundance of entertainment after dark, Las Vegas may actually be one of the more underrated golf travel destinations in the country. With more than four dozen golf courses just a short drive from the Las Vegas Strip, travelers can easily tee it up daily before they take in a show and hit the casino tables at night.
Professional golf fans will get two consecutive weeks of Vegas golf viewing in October 2021, as the PGA Tour holds the Shriners Children’s Open at TPC Summerlin, designed by Bobby Weed along with 10-time PGA Tour winner Fuzzy Zoeller as a consultant, followed by the CJ Cup (normally held in South Korea, but in Vegas for a second consecutive year) on Tom Fazio’s course at The Summit Club.
Of course, there are the “whales” of Las Vegas golf. The highest of high rollers is Shadow Creek, the 2020 CJ Cup host which bills itself as a public golf course, though the access is extremely difficult to come by. Golfers must stay at an MGM Resorts hotel to play its Tom Fazio design, and only a select few foursomes are available each day, and they come along with a $600 public green fee. Wynn Golf Club is the other big fish, which will run golfers close to $500 with limited tee times available. That being said, if you can afford it, or hit it big at the craps tables, both Shadow Creek and Wynn are certainly must plays.
As for more budget-friendly recommendations, we narrowed down our list to those residing under an hour drive from The Strip.
Cascata (Boulder City)
Recognized annually as one of the top 100 courses you can play in America, Cascata is located just 25 miles southeast from the Las Vegas Strip. A 2000 Rees Jones design, Cascata, meaning “waterfall” in Italian, is appropriately named—a more than 400-foot waterfall meanders its way down the River Mountain range that surrounds the golf course. Wide landing areas off the tee are surrounded by mountain walls including the 3,600-foot Red Mountain peak. And while rocky outcroppings reign high above the course, the lush grounds create a desert oasis feel.
Green fees at Cascata range from $350 to $450 depending on the season. Additionally, golfers looking to improve their game have a great opportunity to do just that, as Cascata’s sister course, Rio Secco Golf Club, is home to the Butch Harmon School of Golf. https://cascatagolf.com/
Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort, Wolf Course (Las Vegas)
Billed as the longest golf course in Nevada, the Wolf Course is one of three Pete Dye designs owned and operated by the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe and is located 25 miles north of the Las Vegas Strip. All three of the resort’s layouts (Wolf, Snow Mountain, and Sun Mountain) are worth the short drive, but the Wolf stands out for its undisturbed desert layout.
At over 7,600 yards from the Tournament tees the course can certainly be demanding, but if you find your fit at one of the five teeing distances, you’re sure to enjoy the Wolf, especially when you arrive at the 15th hole. With the Sheep Range and Spring Mountains in the distance, golfers take aim at a three-tiered island green guarded by pot bunkers long and short of the putting surface. Tee times for non-Clark County residents can be had for as low as $119. https://www.lvpaiutegolf.com/
Coyote Springs (Moapa)
This Jack Nicklaus Signature gem, nestled 50 minutes northeast of The Strip, is simply spectacular. Coyote Springs is completely surrounded by mountain views of the Meadow Valley, Arrow, and Delmar Mountains, and the Sheep Range in close proximity towers close to 9,000 feet above the golf course.
The first of multiple golf courses planned for the small Coyote Springs community, Nicklaus’s layout gives golfers enough room off the tee to find locations ideal to attack Jack’s undulating greens with their approach. Water comes into play quite often, and players have to be careful gambling with their game on holes with names such as “Dueces Wild,” “Double Down,” and “Lucky 13.” The 18th hole, named “All In,” measures 463 yards from the Black tees and you’ll have to avoid water on both your tee shot and approach to a narrow putting surface.
The course also features a massive practice facility with more than 22 acres of space to tighten up your game. After the round be sure to pay homage to “Mitch,” the yellow heeler dog that the course’s bar and grille is named after. Get on for a non-Nevada resident rate between $104 and $179. https://www.coyotesprings.com/
Angel Park (Las Vegas)
Angel Park finds itself among the Vegas heavy hitters because it presents the complete package. The Arnold Palmer-designed Mountain and Palm courses, opened in 1989 and 1990, are part of one of the top golf facilities in Nevada, with neither 18-hole course being overly long and both providing views of Red Rock Canyon and the Las Vegas Strip which sits a mere 12 miles to the southwest.
What makes Angel Park special is its extracurricular golf. After a round on the Mountain or Palm golfers should check out the club’s 9-hole putting course, “Divine Nine.” And as the sun sets, the lights come on at Angel Park illuminating the “Cloud Nine” course. Designed by Bob Cupp, the 12-hole course features versions of the most famous par threes in golf. Depending on the time of day, greens fees on the Mountain and Palm will run between $45–$129, while golfers can play under the lights for less than $20. https://www.angelpark.com/
Reflection Bay (Henderson)
Located in the residential community of Lake Las Vegas, Reflection Bay opened in 1998 as the first private Jack Nicklaus Signature course in Nevada. After closing in mid-2009, Nicklaus returned to tweak the course in 2015 and the club now offers tee times to the public.
When it comes to a golf course being in superb shape, Reflection Bay is difficult to beat. A plush paradise set along the shores of Lake Las Vegas, the course offers generous fairways allowing players to break out the driver—and they’ll need it, as the Black and Gold tee boxes measure out to over 6,800 and 7,200 yards, respectively. The Lake Las Vegas architecture also gives off an Italian feel similar to the shores of Lake Como, reminding golfers that this is “high end” Vegas. Golfers will encounter rock formations and large waste areas, as well as a boatload of palm trees and water hazards. Green fees are reasonable though, as non-residents will pay $145–$195 in October, with some discounted rates available. https://reflectionbaygolf.com/
What is your favorite public golf course near Las Vegas?