NCAA basketball and Las Vegas golf: It doesn't get any better than March Madness in Sin City

LAS VEGAS -- Golf and Las Vegas go hand-in-hand. Add in March Madness and you've got the makings of a great outing. Whether it's for just one weekend of the event or the entire two weeks, you'll have plenty of time to check out the golf courses and hoops excitement. Just make sure you start making those tee times early because, like the NCAA basketball tournament, you've got to be in the field to be part of the excitement.

"The first weekend of the tournament is one of the most popular times of the year to come to Las Vegas," said Julian Dugas, director of sports marketing for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. "All of the sports books are just packed with folks coming in to party and watch the games. And many, many of those folks love to play golf."

So let's get ready to tip it off and tee it up. Now is the time to plan out your trip (Vegas hotel/golf packages are plentiful), check your brackets, and slide in a tee time or two during your visit. You won't be sorry.

Las Vegas golf: Choosing the right course

From A to Z, Las Vegas golf courses are some of the finest around.

No matter which direction you may travel, from the northwest end to the southern tip, with layouts like the Lexington Course and Concord Course at Revere Golf Club, to the west side, with Siena Golf Club, to the east with Chimera Golf Club, your golf needs are covered.

And don't forget there's Bali Hai Golf Club right on the famed Las Vegas Strip. And just off the Strip are courses such as Royal Links, Rhodes Ranch and Desert Pines.

Just outside of Vegas, you'll find layouts such as Cascata and Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. With more than 50 golf courses in the Vegas area, variety is the name of that game.

But, if you know about all these great Las Vegas golf courses, so do millions of other players. Get online now and make that tee time. If you're coming by yourself (or with your better half), finding a tee time won't be much of a problem. But if it's you and 15 of your closest gambling/drinking/golfing/carousing buddies, blocking out tee times for a group of foursomes takes some doing, so the earlier you start, the better.

Las Vegas off course

And even though you plan to spend the majority of your time playing golf and watching the big game -- or in this case, games -- don't forget the thousands of dining options available here. From the best steaks to the freshest seafood to the coolest hotspots, Vegas has it all. The 'dogs available in the sports books are great, but you'll want to take a little time to sample some of the best cuisine anywhere.

After the final horn sounds and the day's basketball action is over, your action may just be getting started. From nightclubs to spas to top-notch restaurants to gambling spots, if it suits your fancy, you'll find it here. Just remember the games the next morning start pretty early (as will a few of your tee times if your teams play later in the day) so approach the party scene with caution -- and always have a designated driver (off the course).

Whether it's a high-end golfing experience or a low-budget round, you'll find it. So book your tee times, grab your buddies, grab your clubs and head to Vegas to tee it up and do March Madness right.

Bill Bowman is a Las Vegas-based writer who has more than 40 years in the sports-writing business. He's spent the past 16-plus years covering the golf scene in Vegas and has teed it up for magazine profiles with celebrities including comedian Bill Engvall, actor Jeffrey Donovan (USA's Burn Notice), ESPN personality Colin Cowherd, NASCAR's Kurt Busch, Collective Soul's Ed Roland, the Baltimore Ravens' Jonathan Ogden and many others.
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NCAA basketball and Las Vegas golf: It doesn't get any better than March Madness in Sin City