Bali Hai Golf Club
5150 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas, NV; 888-397-2499. Yardage: 7,050. Par: 72. Architects: Brian Curley and Lee Schmidt. Green fees: $175-$275.
T&L GOLF Rating: N/A
Bali Hai will beckon when it opens at the south end of the Strip on November 1, but pack a good pair of sunglasses. This South Pacific theme course is literally blinding, thanks to more than forty bunkers filled with "Augusta white" sand trucked in from California. On the eleventh and eighteenth, the Augusta white merges with aquamarine ponds to create so-called beach bunkers where you may find yourself blasting onto the greens with one foot in the water and one on the sand. The course also boasts four thousand transplanted trees and waste areas composed of black lava rock imported from Utah.
Cascada Golf Club
Boulder City, NV. For information, call the MGM Grand Hotel, 702-891-1111. Yardage: 7,200. Par: 72. Architect: Rees Jones. Green fees: N/A.
T&L GOLF Rating: N/A
The folks at MGM refused to allow visitors to see Cascada prior to its scheduled opening on November 1, and were even playing iffy about the name (it might be named Cat's Claw). But the word is Cascada will be the desert-golf counterpart to parkland-style Shadow Creek. The mountainside routing reportedly rollercoasters through 300-foot elevation changes, dramatic rock outcroppings and man-made waterfalls. One thing is certain: Rees Jones never does shoddy work—especially with a budget rumored to be $50 million.
Top Gourmet Restaurants
Vegas now offers linksters with refined palates a cornucopia of gourmet restaurants. The tasting menu of brand names includes the likes of Charlie Palmer (Aureole), Julian Serrano (Picasso), Alessandro Stratta (Renoir), Mark lo Russo and Michael Mina (Aqua), Piero Selvaggio (Valentino) and Kevin Wu (Royal Star). And wine lovers can now choose their vintages in consultation with no less than ten master sommeliers, a concentration of oenological expertise found in no other similar-size city in North America.
(Contemporary/Seafood) Bellagio, 3600 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas, NV; 702-693-7223. $$$$
The perfectly balanced five-course tasting menu designed by chefs Mark lo Russo and Michael Mina of San Francisco climaxes with selections like porcini-crusted wild turbot and seared scallops topped with foie gras. The killer dessert tray includes a root beer float with a chocolate straw. Sit at the bar and trust the savvy bartenders to provide just the right glass of wine to accompany each course.