When talking about packing your bags and heading to Las Vegas for a golf getaway, I feel like many times the golf is just an excuse to get to Sin City. Once arriving on the Vegas Strip, the hustle and bustle of the city, the flashing lights, the ringing of the slot machines, and yells and screams of overexcited winners – as tempting as it is – can undermine your best-laid golf plans.
The perfect solution sits within eyesight of the Strip. Just 20 minutes away in the city of Summerlin you’ll find the JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort and Spa. Boasting 10 championship golf courses within a 15-minute drive, it is a golf lover’s paradise. TPC Las Vegas and Badlands Golf Club are two courses that stand out from the rest in the Summerlin area and both can be seen from the beautiful grounds of the JW Marriott.
With 27 holes of breathtaking views, Badlands Golf Club is set against majestic Red Rock canyons and features deep flowing arroyos, canyons, and natural washes, making it a fabulous desert layout. U.S. Open winner Johnny Miller teamed up with multiple-time PGA winner and fan favorite Chi Chi Rodriguez to design Badlands, which has three distinct nines – Desperado, Diablo, and Outlaw – that combine to create a unique and challenging golf experience. All three nines offer four sets of tees to choose from and measure anywhere from 2,485 yards up front to 3,586 yards in the back, and all check in at a par of 36 on the scorecard.
The 7th hole, a 353-yard, par-4 on the Desperado, stood out as my favorite. A blind tee shot presents quite a challenge for a short hole, offering a postage stamp-sized landing area that then leads up to an isolated green surrounded by desert wasteland; this hole screams danger on both your tee shot as well as approach. If you make a par on this hole, you should walk off the green with a big smile.
Badlands Golf Club has been voted The Best Desert Course in Las Vegas in 2006 by Vegas Golfer magazine and has been ranked in the Top Ten Best Courses in Nevada by Golf Digest in 1997 and 1999. For more info visit badlandsgc.com
Tournament Players Clubs (TPC) are owned and operated by the PGA Tour and are arguably the finest clubs in America in terms of course conditioning, amenities, and customer service. TPC Las Vegas continues that tradition of offering the best. Designed by Bobby Weed and PGA tour great Raymond Floyd, TPC Las Vegas (also located in Summerlin and opened for play in 1996) stretches to 7,080 yards and is a par-71 championship course that has been described as “desert elegance.” Once stepping onto the premises, the natural elements create dramatic scenery that surrounds you with stunning views of nearby Red Rock Canyon. Careful planning was put into the design, working toward a more rugged, natural look, incorporating the natural wash areas and natural desert plants so that the course didn’t look “created.”
TPC Las Vegas is a solid test of shot-making as well as course management and strategy. Although many of the holes offer wide fairways, add in the elements of an often stern wind as well as several elevation changes, and all of a sudden these generous landing areas become more intimidating. The golf course offers a challenge from just about the beginning of your round. The par-3, 196-yard 2nd hole, named “Canyon” for good reason, plays severely downhill to a large green that is basically an island green surrounded by desert terrain. This is followed by the par-4 3rd hole, the number one handicap hole on the course, which offers a very tight tee shot with a forced carryover desert waste area. The hole does not get easier after this very threatening first shot. If you are lucky enough to find the fairway, you are then faced with a narrow approach shot with a ravine guarding the left and mounds to the right of this tricky green. Make a par here and you deserve a high five from your buddies.
The golf shop is well stocked with all of the latest equipment and name brands, staying on the cutting edge of the industry. Also, the Tour Academy is a top-of-the-line instructional school and offers private lessons. For a first-class golf experience with terrific service and a “country club” feel, TPC Las Vegas is a must stop. tpc.com/tpc-las-vegas
If you are looking for the 19th hole at the end of your round, look no further than the TPC Grille located directly next to the golf shop. With a fabulous Southwestern inspired menu that includes an exclusive collection of PGA TOUR wines, along with the spectacular views that you just enjoyed on the course, it explains why it is considered the best-kept-secret in Summerlin. When staying on the Las Vegas strip, another great option for an after-round snack and drink would be Press. Located in the esteemed Four Seasons Resort, Press is a chic indoor/outdoor social hub with fabulous small plates as well as signature drinks.
When your fabulous day of golf comes to an end, it is time to relax and unwind back at the JW Marriott Las Vegas. There is no better place to do this other than the incredible Spa Aquae. This magnificent 50,000-square-foot facility brings paradise indoors with its atmosphere and wide variety of services. Arrive an hour before your service; you will not regret it. Aquae’s main attraction is the ritual room, located in both the men’s and women’s separate spa areas. Each ritual room comes with a separate warm float and cold plunge pool, a whirlpool tub, sauna, and steam room.
After rejuvenating at the spa, it is now time for dinner. With 11 different dining options at the resort, you will be sure to find exactly what you are looking for. Your options range everywhere from an Irish pub at J.C. Wooloughan or 221 Tapas (which, as the name suggests, offers 221 small plates and drinks nightly). If you are looking for a great Italian restaurant, make sure to visit Spiedini Ristorante, where famed Chef Gustav Mauler offers a great authentic Italian dining experience. Craving Japanese? Shizen is a can’t miss, featuring the desert’s freshest sushi and sashimi, expertly made. Try the Teppeyaki tables, where chefs will dazzle you as they cook in front of you. And these represent just the tip of the iceberg in terms of dining choices.
It is now time for what Vegas is known best for, gaming. On the JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort just down the hall from the main lobby is the Rampart Casino. Rampart Casino is open 24 hours a day and has everything one could imagine a casino having including 1,200 of the latest slot, video poker, and keno machines; all the table games imaginable; and a sports book. If your round of golf did not go as well as intended, perhaps your luck will change at Rampart Casino.
With some of the best climate in the country during the winter months, there is no better time for a Las Vegas golf getaway. JW Marriott in Summerlin is the perfect destination, with not only some of the state’s best golf but everything else you need at your fingertips.