Top 10 golf courses in Las Vegas

Bet the house on the 10 best golf courses in Las Vegas and Mesquite.

Editor's note: Updated in 2022.

LAS VEGAS -- With more than 50 golf courses within close proximity of the Las Vegas Strip, there's endless variety for golfers.

The best golf courses in Las Vegas charge some of the highest green fees in the country. Considering the alternative - think of how much you could lose at the tables in five hours - that actually might be a bargain. Leaving Las Vegas without playing at least one round of golf constitutes as a sin in this city.

Having played all of the best courses in town over the past decade, here's my 10 favorite golf courses in (and near) Las Vegas:

  1. Shadow Creek, North Las Vegas

    Tom Fazio's 1989 miracle in the desert still maintains its lofty status as Las Vegas' best golf experience. Anybody who wants to play Shadow Creek must pony up $1,000 and stay at an MGM Resorts International casino hotel. The limo ride to the club kicks off a magical day at a $60-million exclusive playground second to none. Shadow Creek has opened its gates in recent years as the venue for the Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational and The Match between Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, the PGA Tour's CJ Cup and the Bank of Hope LPGA Match Play.

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  2. Wynn Golf Club, Las Vegas

    The new 6,722-yard Wynn that reopened in 2019 after a redesign by Tom Fazio is more fun and charismatic than Fazio's original from 2005. Although it is 300 yards shorter, it still carries the same par 70 on the scorecard. There's one more par 3 (six total) and one more par 5. That switch creates more risk-reward elements and scoring opportunities, if you can take advantage. Every green surround was reshaped, and every green expanded on average more than 300 square feet for more pin placements. Fewer bunkers (37, although they're deep and dangerous) allow for more of a ground game to use sideboards that funnel shots onto greens or closer to the hole. The new 18th has been resurrected as a 249-yard par 3 guarded by a pond in front and the waterfall in back. It's still expensive at $550, but considering all that's wrapped into the experience - free rental clubs, range balls, a forecaddie, some snacks and drinks - it's priced right for a special day.

  3. Wolf Creek Golf Club, which opened in 2000, might be the most visually intimidating -- and stunning -- course on the planet. The rocky cliffs and dizzying elevation changes are wow worthy. Bring the camera and a few extra pellets. Leave the ego at home, though, because Wolf Creek bites back. It's well worth the 80-mile trek from Vegas.

  4. Cascata, Boulder City

    Cascata, which costs roughly $300 to play, is VICI Properties Inc.'s (formerly Caesars Entertainment Corp.) answer to Wynn and Shadow Creek. A "cascata" -- an Italian word that translates to waterfall -- flows 418 feet from the top of a mountain, around the Rees Jones-designed golf course and through the lavish 37,000-square-foot Tuscan clubhouse. The $70 million course, which opened in 2000, rises and falls to follow 800 feet of elevation change through rocky outcroppings 3,200 feet above a desert valley. Caddies are well versed on reading the slick, confounding greens. The 22-mile, 40-minute drive from the Strip does not deter bucket-list chasers.

  5. Commanding views of the Strip dominate at Rio Secco Golf Club.

    Swing guru Butch Harmon serves as the famous face of Rio Secco, home to his original golf school. Rio Secco's views of the Strip from the foothills of the Black Mountain Range distract golfers from just how tough the 7,313-yard course really plays. Two decades after designing it in 1997, Rees Jones returned in 2017 to renovate all the green complexes, bunkers and forward tees.

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  6. TPC Las Vegas, Las Vegas

    TPC Las Vegas' downhill "desert island" hole, No. 2 is a visual delight.

    This target-style 7,080-yard desert design by Bobby Weed and Raymond Floyd has hosted both the PGA Tour and Champions Tour. GPS systems in the carts guide golfers through the harrowing five-hole stretch on the back nine that skirts a canyon. The greens might be the fastest in Las Vegas. The nearby JW Marriott adds to the first-class feel of the Summerlin community.

  7. Bali Hai Golf Club, Las Vegas

    This tropical oasis sits along Las Vegas Boulevard South with a South Pacific theme that permeates from the impressive clubhouse, home to the Cili Restaurant & Bar, to the course, designed by Lee Schmidt and Brian Curley in 2000. Seven acres of water, 2,500 towering palms and 100,000 tropical plants and flowers are all offset by white Augusta sand and black volcanic outcroppings.

  8. The Wolf Course is the newest and longest of the three Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort courses, but is considered by many to be the most playable.

    The 7,604-yard Wolf Course reigns as the best of the three Pete Dye designs at this desert outpost a half-hour drive's from the Strip in the shadow of the Spring and Sheep Mountain ranges. Karrie Webb and Annika Sorenstam celebrated the Wolf Course's 2001 opening with a match on Shell's Wonderful World of Golf. The island green at the 182-yard 15th hole looks eerily similar to no. 17 on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass. Adding a second round at either Sun Mountain or Snow Mountain at Paiute sets up, arguably, the best 36-hole day in Vegas.

  9. The trees lining the fairway gives clues to which course the eighth hole at Bear's Best Las Vegas mimics: Castle Pines in Colorado.

    This 7,194-yard tribute to the best holes ever designed by Jack Nicklaus features some interesting twists -- black sand in the bunkers to mimic those at Old Works in Montana and pines trees along one fairway as a nod to Castle Pines in Colorado. The back nine reveals its best moments, including views of million-dollar homes, desolate desert and the entire Strip from end to end. The evil par-4 18th hole takes no prisoners.

  10. Royal Links, Las Vegas

    Royal Links GC: 3rd green

    In keeping with the theme of Las Vegas - bringing worldly attractions to the Nevada desert - Royal Links brings the Open Championship to you. For those who can't play links golf overseas, this is Sin City's best version of it, a flat piece of land defined by mounds and pot bunkers, all framed by a castle-like clubhouse. It's quirky and sometimes gimmicky, but many local players and pros swear it's one of the must fun rounds in town. Every hole is a replica from one of the 14 links that have hosted The Open. The Postage Stamp, the Road Hole, the Swilcan Bridge - it's all here. Hitting over an electronic billboard meant to mimic the Old Course Hotel might not remind of you of St. Andrews, but it's still a good time attempting the shot.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed and photographed more than 1,000 courses and written about golf destinations in 20 countries for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Instagram at @jasondeegangolfpass and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
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Really surprised Coyote Springs didn’t make your list of the best 10 in LV. This is a Jack Nicklaus course and a great stop on the way to Mesquite - a beautiful and well-maintained course out in the middle of nowhere. The greens are fast and have the most undulation of just about any course I’ve ever played... and I can’t wait for my next opportunity to return.

Staff
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I've heard good things about Coyote Springs, but it would be hard to crack this list b/c I tried to keep the picks close to the Strip. Wolf Creek got included b/c it's just so awesomely unique.

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Curious where you would put either of the Angel Park courses. I thoroughly enjoy them and they are at a much more reasonable price point that many (most?) other LV courses.

And what is up with the "non-Clark County resident" fee? Seems counter-productive to charge visitors with a million other things they can do, a higher fee than locals.

Staff
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Angel Park is a great choice. I agree on the notion that, for the price, it's as good a value as any in Vegas.

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Of the 10 courses listed I have played 4 of them.
The Wolfe Paiute ( my favorite)
TPC Las Vegas
Royal Links (1st time I used a forecaddie)
Wynn ( in 2007 before they made all the 2019 changes)
Main rule: don’t play in the summer

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Why no golf in the summer?

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Finally a list that is accurate. I’m a native Las Vegan who has been playing golf (badly) since the 70’s. Back then, the LV Country Club, Desert Inn, Tropicana, and the Dunes were my favorite places to play as a youth. Only the Country Club remains, and it’s still private. The Bellagio hotel sits on top of the grounds where the Dunes existed. The Winn took over the DI, but they have built a great course over the original. The Trop was razed for a theme park owned by the MGM that went away. Thanks for getting it right.

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I'm staying at the four seasons this weekend and wondered what the degree of difficulty is at Bali Hai. I'm a bogie plus golfer so if that place is too hard can you recommend somewhere else for this Saturday?
Thanks, Joe

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I have my moments but am by no means good. I loved Bali Hai and will go back. Might suggest picking up some colored balls if you tend to skirt the fairways as the white sand makes finding a ball a little difficult. As a bogey golfer, I bet you will like it.

My only knock on them is they do not have a range. They have a handful of stations under a pergola where you hit into a net about 25 yards away. Too close for me to judge the distance I am hitting a particular club at the time or if you spun the ball correctly. But all the balls you want to hit are part of the green fee. Other than that, I had a great time. Some reports of rudeness by course officials, but I did not experience that.

Staff
Commented on

Joe, you should be fine. Pretty wide fairways, A few forced carries but just play the right tee boxes. Definitely more manageable than some of the desert courses in the hills.

Commented on

Going to be in LV in April. Don't know whether to play Shadow or Wynn. If I catch a good run of cards I'll do both! LOL #$500

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