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The Top 5 Golf Courses in Las Vegas

Are you looking for a guide to the top 5 golf courses in Las Vegas from a legitimate source? Not one from some snobby writer who has affiliations with certain clubs and is going to tell you some place is good when in reality it isn’t.

I am a former collegiate golfer who carries a scratch handicap. I have lived in Las Vegas my entire life and have literally played every course in the valley at least one time, and I am not exaggerating. I have searched Google for the best golf courses in Vegas but haven’t had any luck finding a sincere page that honestly and accurately rates courses.

So, I said, “Screw it, why don’t I just create one?” That is what I did and that’s what this blog is all about. You probably already know that Las Vegas is home to some incredible tracks and you can play golf year-round in our gorgeous climate. It’s time to find out which courses stand above the rest.

If you are wondering why I left out Wynn Golf Club, it wasn’t because I have a vendetta against them. It is because, sadly, the course permanently closed on December 17, 2017. The good news is we saw the ultra-private Summit Club open in October of ’17 and boy is she a treat!

Excuse me for the chit-chatting, I will jump right into the list.

Shadow Creek

When a course costs you a pretty penny to play, you assume it is an exclusive place and it must be fairly private. How about $500 a pop and you have to take a caddie? If you want to play a golf course that takes the game of golf seriously and takes no shortcuts in maintaining their facilities, find a way to book a tee time at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas.

Opened in 1989, this place is an absolute gem. Renowned golf course architect and designer Tom Fazio is the man responsible for creating this masterpiece on the outskirts of the Sin City. You would never believe that you are in the desert landscape of Las Vegas, Nevada when you are on the property.

For example, the 8th hole is a par-3 in a majestic setting with brightly colored flowers in full bloom surround the green. Don’t turn your head if you see different forms of wildlife you never expected to see while in Vegas. Peacocks and ostriches roam the fairways and wooded areas keeping theme that place is unlike anything you have ever seen, especially when playing golf in the desert.

It is hard to pick one hole as the signature of the course as it is littered with breathtaking views all around. The downhill par-3 17th hole may be the most dramatic. The short hole, about 165 yards from the back tee shoots straight down over a crystal-blue lake. There is a stunning waterfall perched behind the greens that makes golfers easily lose their focus when it comes time to pull the trigger.

My favorite is probably the dog-leg left par-5 fourth hole. Talk about a brilliant design offering risk and reward and a picturesque setting. This hole has it all. I have made my share of birdies there, so that certainly doesn’t hurt!

The bottom line is if you are going to be staying at one of MGM Resorts International’s properties, don’t be afraid to gamble big. You may just “bet” yourself right into a casino host offering you a tee time at Shadow Creek!

The Summit – Discovery Land

Since I told you Shadow Creek was private, consider The Summit Golf Course in Las Vegas “beyond classified.” I won’t go into great detail, but unfortunately, most of you will never get to play there. Unless of course you have a spare half-million dollars laying around, of course, because that’s how much it costs for a membership. That is after you purchase a lot and break ground on building a home within the first 12 months. Oh yeah, those lots start at $2 million.

If you haven’t heard of Discovery Land Company, don’t feel bad; you are like most people. Funny enough, I think that is exactly how owner and founder Mike Meldman prefers it.

Quite frankly, all of Meldman’s 19 golf courses that are part of the Discovery Land Company have similar price points. The exclusivity of a membership to one of his courses can hardly be put into words. There is no such thing as “paying your way on” or getting the VIP treatment because you are somebody famous. You are either a member or you aren’t. No guests play at the Summit unaccompanied; I don’t care who you are.

If you are not a member or planning on playing with one, you have a better chance getting a reservation at the French Laundry with the Pope next Saturday night then you do at getting a tee time at Summit. However, once you are out there it is unlike any golf experience you have ever had.

“Comfort Stations” are conveniently placed on the 6th and 13th tee boxes, not to mention a fully-stocked and serviced snack bar before you tee off and at the turn. However, it isn’t really fair nor justifiable calling this place a “snack bar.” I don’t know about you, but I haven’t seen many other snack bars that have every expensive alcohol ready to be served and wagyu beef sliders coming hot off the grill.

I get it that I didn’t describe the course in great detail, but guess what? Tom Fazio’s creation in the southwest portion of Las Vegas wasn’t designed to host major championships and Ryder Cups. Mike Meldman wanted a property that fit in with the rest of his collection and that is

Ultimate luxury, sparing no cost.

It is pretty obvious that Meldman and Fazio accomplished their goal. The end result: the Summit Club.

Southern Highlands

After reading about Shadow Creek and the Summit Club, Southern Highlands Golf Club in the southern region of Las Vegas may seem like a public municipal. Make no mistake about it though, Southern Highlands is a true work of art.

Designed by Robert Trent Sr. and his son Robert Jr. in 1999, not everyone in town knew what to expect. For starters, at the time of its opening, the area surrounding the golf course was completely undeveloped. Were people going to want to make the 20-minute drive south of The Strip just to play a round of golf?

Fast forward to 2018 and boy has this area of town blossomed. Just look to the left side of the 13th tee box and you will find Floyd Mayweather Jr’s enormous compound with a driveway full of white Mercedes and Porsches. Dozens of other multi-million-dollar homes surround the course making anyone who is out there feel special. You want extra privacy? Check out the homes inside the “Estates at Southern Highlands.” Just don’t forget to bring a check for $10 million or more so you can afford one of the homes.

If you are looking for a true test of golf, head out to Southern Highlands and play the black tees. You will find a 7,510-yard track that has bunkers strategically placed everywhere. Once you are out there, it’s easy to fall in love with the place thanks to the unmatched scenery. Throw in the white bibs that the caddies wear and you start to feel like a pretty big deal.

The main thing that makes this course so enjoyable is the tip-top shape it seems to be in every time I go out there. The finishing hole is a 622-yard par-5 straight back up the hill. As you approach the green you stare up at the magnificent clubhouse and just feel lucky to even be out at such a supreme piece of land.

There is a reason that the UNLV men’s golf team has chosen to make Southern Highlands their home golf course. The practice facilities are top-notch and it is a quiet, not so busy place where the players can focus on what they are trying to accomplish. You don’t have to be a scratch golfer to have success at Southern Highlands, but it sure doesn’t hurt.


Technically, if you look up the address of Cascata golf course, you will see “Boulder City, Nevada” listed as the location. Don’t worry folks as this is on the outskirts of Las Vegas and it’s a short, 20 or 25-minute drive from the Strip to Cascata. If you show up in your own car or an Uber you may be alone. Most out-of-town parties that show up come in a company limousine.

Caesars Entertainment Corporation owns the course and sends many of their high rollers there during the mornings and afternoons before gobbling up their action in the pits when the sun goes down. While Robert Trent Jones Sr. and his son Robert Jr. created Southern Highlands, it was Robert Sr.’s other son and Robert Jr.’s brother Rees who was responsible for Cascata. He is the one we can thank for carving out 18 holes in the River Mountain Range just minutes from the hustle and bustle on the Strip.

Their 37,000 square-foot Tuscan themed clubhouse is breathtaking as waterfalls run through the pro shop and into the locker room areas. The driving range is set in a way that players are hitting balls straight into the backdrop of the mountain. It’s a range I could pound bucket after bucket and not get bored.

Once you get out onto the course, you better start paying attention. This isn’t like many courses where if you miss the fairway you will just find your ball sitting in the rough or near a tree. If you miss the fairways at Cascata, you have to hope you can find your ball in the desert landscape and shrubbery that surrounds both sides of nearly every hole.

The wind constantly blows at Cascata, so don’t it’s probably not going to be the site of your career-best round. If you are interested in playing a really good but difficult golf course with astounding views, head to one of Caesars’ casino properties and start gambling big. Play in the high limit salon and you will probably get rewarded with a tee time at Cascata.

TPC Summerlin

For the fifth and final course on my list, I wanted to pick one that is not only a great track, but one that you can see on television the best players in the world play every fall. The Shriners Hospitals for Children Open is a PGA Tour event that is hosted at TPC Summerlin every year and the players love coming to Vegas this time of year. The weather is great and, oh yeah, there’s that thing called the Las Vegas Strip.

As a former member of the club, I have played countless rounds at TPC Summerlin. I have played the course when its firm and fast and 110 degrees. I have also played it when it is blowing 40 mph and raining sideways. The best thing about the course is the fact that its part of the TPC network.

If you look at the PGA Tour schedule, you will notice many of the stops start with, “TPC at —.” The course is owned and operated by the players on tour. Unlike many private country clubs where the paying members take precedence, it is the professional golfers that get the red-carpet treatment at TPC Summerlin. The entire back of the driving range and short/game chipping facility is strictly roped off for Tour professionals only.

The good news is once you get to the first tee, a lot of pleasure awaits you. The course is by no means a pushover, but it isn’t the hardest course you will ever play. Your goal at TPC Summerlin should be to have a good time and to not lose too much money to your buddies. You will want to save some cash for the tables later on that night!

The Takeaway

I wanted to uncover the 5 best golf courses in Las Vegas. I don’t work for a trip advisor. My goal wasn’t to tell you where you should be playing on your next weekend trip to Las Vegas, but to instead open your eyes to what’s really out there.

Of course I don’t expect the majority of you to pony up $500 for a round at Shadow Creek. Never in a million years do I expect a member of a Discovery Land Company property to read one of my blogs. What I did hope for was that some truly avid golf fans would land on this page and appreciate learning about some courses they may not have known too much about.

Shadow Creek has been widely respected since it won Golf Digest’s Best New Course of the Year in 1989. Growing up in Las Vegas, being out at Shadow Creek makes it hard to believe that you are in the middle of a hot, sweltering desert.

The Summit Club is a property so pristine and so private, there’s not a lot to find on the internet other than a few pictures a few articles. Let me tell you, this place is the real deal and there is a reason someone has to invest upwards of a few million dollars just to get a taste of what a membership to one of Mike Meldman’s clubs is like.

Southern Highlands and Cascata are both spectacular golf courses offering one-of-a-kind views of the mountains and the city. They might not be as “special” as the first two courses I described but they are still more than worthy of being in this discussion.

Finally, TPC Summerlin is a fair test of golf that the PGA Tour visits every October. They have a great staff of professionals that are able and willing to help a golfer at any level improve their game. It won’t offer that same private and exclusive feel that the other 4 courses will, but hey, that type of country club isn’t for everyone anyway.

With all that being said, the bottom line is it was time for somebody to write a blog naming the top 5 courses in Vegas. While these courses aren’t designed for the “average Joe,” strings can be pulled and tee times can be made.

Hey, this is Vegas after all. What happens here, stays here.

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