Road Holes — 08 January 2013 by Jim Street
Top Five: Nevada/Las Vegas

Where’s the best place to play golf on the West Coast? We’ll give you hundreds of choices. continues its annual assessment of the Top Five courses to play within 12 West Coast states and British Columbia. Today, the 25-part series focuses on: Nevada/Las Vegas.


LOCATION: Laughlin

DIRECTIONS FROM MCCARRAN AIRPORT: Take I-15 South to 215 Beltway towards Boulder City. After passing the Railroad Pass Casino on the left, look for Laughlin, Bullhead City, Searchlight exit. Take left at stop sign and drive under the freeway to the course.

PHONE: 702 294-2000

GREEN FEES: Rates vary, check web site:

OPENED: 2000 (Architect: Rees Jones)

LAYOUT: Par 72, 7,137 yards (four tee positions)

LOWDOWN: When it comes to variety of holes, it is difficult to beat Cascata, located about 30 miles from the Las Vegas Strip. The course meanders through the foothills giving the golfer spectacular views of the desert floor to the west. The course is kept in meticulous condition with hardly a weed to be seen on the fairways or greens.

Cascata can be pricey, depending on the time of year, but it is well worth the price. Pocket some of your winnings on the Strip and use it at Cascata Golf Course, you won’t be disappointed.

SIGNATURE HOLE: No.14, 434 yards. A creek from a 360-foot waterfall runs the under the cart path and along the right side of the fairway, and it will come into play if you don’t keep your tee shot to the center or left side of the fairway. There is a slight dogleg right to the green. A well-placed tee shot will put you in great position to the green, which is protected by water on the right and four bunkers on the left and back. No. 14 is one of the most scenic holes on the course. Check it out on the video tour.


Royal Links castle clubhouse



DIRECTIONS FROM MCCARRAN AIRPORT: Take I-15 North to I-95 South and go South to Flamingo exit. Make a left on Flamingo and go across Boulder Highway to Nellis Blvd. Turn left and proceed to Vegas Valley Rd. Turn right. Proceed one mile to entry gate on the right.

PHONE: (Toll free) 888) 427-6678 

GREEN FEES: Rates vary, check web site:

OPENED: 1998 (Architect: Perry Dye)

LAYOUT: Par 72, 7,029 yards (three tee positions)

LOWDOWN: Royal Links was built to honor the rich history and tradition of the game of golf. Designed by Dye International, this links-style course features holes inspired by eleven different British Open rotation courses, including the “Road Hole” and “Hell Bunker” from the old course at St. Andrews and the “Postage Stamp” from Royal Troon. Other courses in the loop include Carnoustie, Turnberry, Royal Liverpool, Prestwick, Royal Lytham, Muirfield and Royal Birkdale.

Monuments were erected at various locations throughout the golf course indicating the spots where great moments in British Open history took place. A Champions Wall is erected near the all-turf practice range honoring American champions of the British Open

Golfers may choose to engage the services of a professional forecaddie adding to the “Scottish” experience. These forecaddies are knowledge about the history of each hole, as well the location of the 108 pot bunkers, some of which are hidden. Walking caddies are also available and are required for those who choose to walk.

Royal Links was recognized as the “Best Course in Las Vegas” in the 2006 Review Journal “Best Of Vegas” poll and one of “America’s Best Courses” by GolfWeek.

Located less than 20 short minutes from the Las Vegas Strip, the castle-style clubhouse hosts a nationally recognized Golf Shop, which was ranked as one of “American’s Best 100 Golf Shops” in 2004 & 2005 by GolfWorld Business. It is stocked with name brand apparel, equipment, quality art and collectables.

SIGNATURE HOLE: With 18 holes being replicas of the most famous links holes, every hole is a signature hole. Some of the famous holes on the course include the “Road Hole” from St. Andrews and the “Postage Stamp” from Royal Troon. Other courses reflected in the Royal Links design include Carnoustie, Turnberry, Royal Liverpool, Royal Lytham, Muifield, Royal Birkdale and Prestwick.


A watery grave lurks on par-3 15th at Paiute



DIRECTIONS FROM MCCARRAN AIRPORT: Take I-215 West to I-15 North. Go to Exit 24A (US-95 North) and continue to Exit No. 99/Snow Mountain. Go right on Snow Mountain Rd., which runs into the resort.

PHONE(S): 702 658-1400; 800 711-2833

GREEN FEES: Rates vary, check web site:

OPENED: 2001: (Architect: Pete Dye).

LAYOUT: Par-72, 7,604 yards (five tee positions). Facility includes two other 18-hole courses: Snow Mountain, Par-72, 7,146 yards and Sun Mountain, Par-72, 7,112 yards.

LOWDOWN: Coming in at an amazing 7,604 yards from the tips, the Wolf Course at Paiute Golf Resort will have golfers wondering what hit them. It’s a course where high-handicapper can play alongside scratch golfer, but for golfers looking for a challenge, famed golf architect Pete Dye has given them just that.

With the Wolf Course, Dye unleashes his full set of skills, taking advantage of desert mystique, combined with the ringing mountains that change color throughout the course of a round, to somehow merge a mercurial round of golf with a moving desert experience. It is desert golf of the highest order.

SIGNATURE HOLE: No. 15, par-3, 182 yards: The Wolf’s signature hole — and maybe Las Vegas’ most intimidating golf shot — is the par-3 15th. It plays 182 yards from the tips, which makes it the shortest of the four par 3s on the course. The tee shot is to an island green with a bunker short and another bunker long. The green is circular with a swale in the middle, so just reaching the green won’t guarantee a par. It’s the single most intimidating shot on a course that has enough teeth to tame even the best golfers.



DIRECTIONS FROM MCCARRAN AIRPORT: Take the exit tunnel toward the I-15 Freeway. Exit to the right after the tunnel, putting you on 215 West. Take 215 West nine miles to Durango Avenue. Turn left (south) and go 1.2 miles to the guard-gated Rhodes Ranch community. Check in at the security gate for directions to the golf course.

PHONE: 702-740-4114

GREEN FEES: Rates vary, check web site:

OPENED: 1995: (Architect: Ted Robinson)

LAYOUT: Par 72, 6,909 yards (four tee positions)

LOWDOWN: Located just a few minutes from the Las Vegas strip, Rhodes Ranch has swiftly grow to be a popular tract in the Vegas valley. The layout presents a mixture of challenge and playability to golfers of all talent levels.

Highlighted by a collection of par threes that architect Ted Robinson calls the finest that he has designed, this 6,909-yard course will envelop you in a rich tropical environment. There’s a multitude of water features, varying elevations, stunning city and mountain views with gentle rolling fairways that spread out over the 162-acre property.

SIGNATURE HOLE: No. 3, par-3, 227 yards. This long par three requires an accurate shot with a long iron or possibly a wood and is tough enough to put fear in the swing of any golfer. Water guards the entire right side of the green, and any shot sent in that direction leaves you hoping to land in the pot bunker in front of the green. Once there the green presents you with some of the most challenging putts you will ever see. Par is a great score here.





DIRECTIONS FROM MCCARRAN AIRPORT: Take I-15 north to US-95 north to Summerlin Pkwy. Exit on Rampart and go left to Alta Dr. Take a right on Alta Dr. The course will be on your left at the first traffic light.

PHONE: 702 363-0754

GREEN FEES: Rates vary, check web site:

OPENED: 1997 (Architects: Johnny Miller and ChiChi Rodriguez)

LAYOUT: Three nines: Desperado: 3,349 yards, par 36; Diablo: 3,586 yards, par 36; Outlaw: 3,256 yards, par 36 (four tee positions)

LOWDOWN: Badlands was definitely named appropriately. The 27-hole course, located in northwest Las Vegas, has harnessed every element of the Nevada terrain, from natural canyons to deep arroyos and natural washes.

Set in the beautiful Red Rock Canyons, Badlands is one desert course that will truly test your accuracy with three nine’s called the Diablo, the Desperado, and the Outlaw. Each nine provides the ultimate in target golf; ahead lays the lush green with perhaps a bunker to its side or some water, but should you fail to land the ball on it, you’re forced to navigate a dry earth marked with rocks, arroyos, and desert shrubbery. Among the awards for Badlands is the Best Desert Course in Las Vegas by Vegas Golfer Magazine in 2006.

SIGNATURE HOLE: No. 6 (Diablo), par-4, 389 yards. It is tough to single out any one particular but this one is a kick. Your tee shot must swing around a grove of trees and over a waste area to a narrow patch of green fairway then you turn to your right on the severe dogleg for an approach shot over another waste area while avoiding a wide trap to the length of the green on the left.

– Jim Street

TOMORROW: Nevada/Reno-Lake Tahoe


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About Author

Jim Street

Jim’s 40-year sportswriting career started with the San Jose Mercury-News in 1970 and ended on a full-time basis on October 31, 2010 following a 10-year stint with He grew up in Dorris, Calif., several long drives from the nearest golf course. His first tee shot was a week before being inducted into the Army in 1968. Upon his return from Vietnam, where he was a war correspondent for the 9th Infantry Division, Jim took up golf semi-seriously while working for the Mercury-News and covered numerous tournaments, including the U.S. Open in 1982, when Tom Watson made the shot of his life on the 17th hole at Pebble Beach. Jim also covered several Bing Crosby Pro-Am tournaments, the women’s U.S. Open, and other golfing events in the San Francisco area. He has a 17-handicap, made his first and only hole-in-one on March 12, 2018 at Sand Point Country Club in Seattle and witnessed the first round Ken Griffey Jr. ever played – at Arizona State during Spring Training in 1990. Pebble Beach Golf Links, the Kapalua Plantation Course, Pinehurst No. 2, Spyglass Hill, Winged Foot, Torrey Pines, Medinah, Chambers Bay, North Berwick, Gleneagles and Castle Stuart in Scotland, and numerous gems in Hawaii are among the courses he has had the pleasure of playing. Hitting the ball down the middle of the fairway is not a strong part of Jim’s game, but he is known (in his own mind) as the best putter not on tour. Most of Jim’s writing career was spent covering Major League Baseball, a tenure that started with the Oakland Athletics, who won 101 games in 1971, and ended with the Seattle Mariners, who lost 101 games in 2010. Symmetry is a wonderful thing. He currently lives in Seattle and has an 8-year-old grandson, Andrew, who is the club's current junior champion at his home course (Oakmont CC) in Glendale, Calif.

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