One of the best weekend getaways for golfers with a jones for competition is to hit Las Vegas on Super Bowl weekend. The sports books are rocking, of course. You can bet on all sorts of action, from spreads to coin flips and commercial breaks, not to mention your own low- or high-stakes golf games out on the links.
Scheduled for Jan. 31-Feb. 2 and boasting a field of more than 400 competitors, the tournament has become one of the biggest events on the amateur competitive golf circuit.
It's also a bit different from your normal two-day Am Tour major championship. For starters, golfers don't need an Am Tour membership to enter, so it's a great way to kick the tires on the tour experience. The event is 54 holes, played on all three Pete Dye-designed courses at Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort, with a different team format each day: scramble, modified alternate shot, and best ball. The field will be flighted and each flight will play off scratch. Each day, the shotgun start begins at 10 a.m.
Additionally, teams can have any handicap combination, so golf buddies who normally wouldn't be able to compete together are able to in this event.
Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort
Considering the proximity to Las Vegas and all the amenities and services offered, the tournament venue is one of the best multi-course facilities in the Southwest.
I visited Paiute as part of a Las Vegas golf vacation recently ("Trip dispatch: October is the 'other' prime time for a Las Vegas golf trip"), and it's a facility that seems purpose-built for large tournaments. The clubhouse is large, and there are two separate driving ranges and practice facilities, so even on a full, three-course takeover, Duel in the Desert competitors will have plenty of space to warm up before their rounds.
Staff, meanwhile, are old pros when it comes to servicing a major shotgun start like this.
15th Annual Duel in the Desert sign-up info
Entry fees, including three nights accommodations at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip, start at $825, and include three rounds of golf, range balls, cart, lunch daily, refreshments after each round, electric scoring, side games (optional), prize pool to the top 25 percent in each flight, trophies to flight winners, a welcome pack with logo gear and more.
Registration officially closes on Jan. 9, 2018, but the event has sold out the last seven years and will close upon filling up. For more details, see duel.gcamtour.com.
Editor's Note: Golf Channel Am Tour ceased operations in 2020.