I have been to Las Vegas several times for the typical adventure but this November brought the first opportunity to hit the links. Fortunately one of the first places I reached out to was The Legacy Golf Club in Henderson, a little south of the Airport. With the luck of the draw, I was talking to Andy Deiro, General Manager and former Golf Pro at Dalhousie Golf Club in Cape Girardeau. After a few minutes of talking about how much we like Dalhousie, Andy recommended that we try a round at The Legacy and then their sister course on the other side of Las Vegas, Angel Park. Both run by OB Sports Golf Management, the same company that runs Dalhousie, I knew I would be in for a great experience.
The Legacy is set among an upscale, Las Vegas suburb, and as I was told by the other twosome in the group, Gladys Knight and Vanna White were two of the distinguished residents of the community. A grand clubhouse with an enormous and beautiful practice facility off the back patio set the tone for the course. With greens rolling quickly and fairways rounding into perfect shape from the October over-seeding, it was green for miles. With homes well removed from the course you still get the desert feel at the Legacy. The front nine was full of solid golf holes with contours in the fairways and greens that forced you to be in the right position, or risk making a big number. My favorite stretch of the front was the finishing stretch of 8 & 9. The eighth hole is a dog leg left with a big pine tree down the left side but a hidden fairway bunker beyond it if you miss the fairway. A small pond guards the front and right of the elevated green for shots where you do not take enough club, and a huge swale left catches errant approaches and makes up and down a bit tougher to judge. The ninth is a long par-5 with a very well protected green with a waste bunker starting at about 90 yards short and right of the green. Go long to avoid the greenside bunkers and up and down is a real adventure. With the pin placed in the back right at the top of a ridge, distance control on the approach is imperative.
The back nine starts out with one of the most recognizable holes in Vegas. A par-3 with four distinct tee boxes, each in the shape of a heart, diamond, club and spade, Pure Vegas for sure. In true gambler fashion the par-5, 17th hole is a great combination of risk reward. A good tee ball easily gives you a chance to go for it in two but water cuts in about 120 yards short and left and bunkers down the right side leave a narrow strip for a layup and a green sloped from back to front and right to left that can feed balls towards the water. A birdie here is a great score and could be the difference maker in the match.
Angel Park on day two brought one of the coolest ‘golf facilities’ I have ever seen. With two championship, 18-hole courses, a 12-hole par-3 course that offers 9-holes of play under the lights at night and a full grass putting course to round out the experience. There were families and couples on the putting course, foursomes and buddies trips playing 36 on the Palm and Mountain and on the Cloud 9, par-3 course we were sandwiched in between a Grandfather and Grandson behind us and three guys that rarely play golf, having a blast in front of us. Take your pick and you can do it at Angel Park.
We had the privilege of playing the Palm Course, the shorter of the two tracks but by no means, easy. Just like The Legacy, the greens were rolling smooth and fast, placing a real challenge on the short game, both putting and chipping. Terrific views of the mountains at Red Rock Canyon National Park accentuated the entire course but the fun was stuffed into the short par-5’s. Each one reachable with a good tee shot but each protected around the green in various ways. The par-5, sixth hole is the only one of the front nine and was not the easiest tee ball to figure out which way to aim. Fairway to the right is not reachable but looms out there as if it were. Play safe to the left and now you have to play back to the right and clear a bunker just short of the green or face a dreaded 40 yard bunker shot. The par-5, eleventh is probably the easiest of the par-5’s but the approach plays back up a hill to an elevated green that makes running it up nearly impossible. Leave it just short and you have to chip up and over a false front which is really challenging for a front pin location. If your match is on the line late in the round as mine was, the par-3, seventeenth hole is a great way to test what you have inside. Playing about 175 from the blue tees it is almost all carry over a small gorge with bunkers short left and along the entire right side, if your opponent puts it on the front fringe like mine did, it might force you to try too hard and put it in the gully, also like I did. Thank goodness I won at The Legacy the day before, so off to Cloud 9, par-3 to settle the bet.
Cloud 9 is a tremendous par-3 experience and easily the best short course I have ever played. The greens rolled as true as the Palm course and it was not just a bunch of 50 yard shots. With holes stretching from 85 yards to 146 according to the scorecard, we hit clubs from sand wedge to 7 iron. This is a complete golf experience packed into 12 strategic tee shots during the day and 9 at night, completed by the island green on the 11th or 8th hole depending on the time of day. This was the best way to go out and settle a close match by far.
In the past, I always thought of Phoenix as the golf destination in the Southwest and while it is still a great place to go, Las Vegas has just become a spot that combines golf and so much more. Plus take a buddies trip to Vegas and The Legacy or Angel park will come pick you up with convenient Van service available to groups of at least six players. OB Sports has got a terrific twosome for you to hit next time you are heading to The Strip.