Vegas doesn’t just offer the world’s finest dining, entertaining, partying and gambling. It’s also a desert paradise for golfers, with some of the finest championship courses in the country, all poised to help you to practice and perfect your swing.
Here are our top picks for local golf courses.
Bali Hai & Royal Links
Designed by: Lee Schmidt and Brian Curley in 2000
Named for the famous Indonesian land of enchantment, Bali Hai succeeds in its mission to entice. With a beautiful tropical ambience, including 100,000 tropical plants and water features everywhere you look, Bali Hai isn’t just a great golf destination, it’s a total escape from the desert. Designer Brian Curley says, "We want to give guests an opportunity to loosen up and enjoy their surroundings before we begin challenging their skills.”
Built for enjoyment, the 7,002-yard, par–71 course is challenging but won’t beat high-handicappers down. Conveniently, Bali Hai is also located right along the Strip (one of only two golf courses to be able to claim that). It also offers the Parmates program, the ability to use a beautiful and knowledgeable local girl as your caddie (but only when paired with a round at the Royal Links Golf Club).
Sister properties to Bali Hai, with multi-play specials available, include Royal Links and Desert Pines Golf Club.
Rio Secco Golf Club
Designed by: Rees Jones
Sitting at the foothills of the Black Mountain Range, the Rio Secco Golf Club is just under 14 miles from the Strip. Its 7,400 yards can be very challenging, but the property includes several teeing grounds that cater to a range of skill levels. Awash in steep canyons and broad desert, Rio Secco offers Nevadan desert beauty at its best.
But Rio Secco’s main claim to fame isn’t actually its design, well done though it may be. It’s the presence of renowned golf instructor Butch Harmon, mentor to Tiger Woods. Players will also find the T-Mates, helpful and lovely female caddies who assist players.
The Cascata Golf Club is a sister property to Rio Secco.
Cascata Golf Club
Designed by: Rees Jones
ZAGAT has rated this course as one of the top in the U.S. It’s a challenging, 7,137-yard, 72-par course located about 30 minutes from the Strip. It’s also a luxurious experience: Tour-caliber caddies accompany players from start to finish, as the course winds through rock canyons and desert, and through an elevation change that spans 800 feet. Be ready: it’s a tough course, and insight from the experienced caddies will be invaluable (which should take the sting out of the fact that players are mandated to pay for caddies). Formerly available only to Caesars’ guests, Cascata is now a public club that welcomes players from all hotels.
The Badlands Golf Course
Designed by: Johnny Miller
As the name implies, Badlands was designed to showcase and incorporate the amazing desert landscape surrounding Vegas. Once voted one of Nevada’s Top Ten Public Courses by Golf Digest, Badlands is accessible to a wide range of skill levels, with 27 holes and four sets of tees. Better yet, it’s also home to a Bob May Golf Academy. Those 27 holes form three nine-hole layouts: the Outlaw, Diablo and Desperado.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to phenomenal golf in and around Vegas. Stay tuned to the Riviera Hotel & Casino blog for upcoming articles on other courses and tips for playing at your best in a desert environment.