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The Best Bets in Vegas

Reflection Bay

Beautifully turned-out golf at the super-high-end Lake Las Vegas Resort and residential development, seventeen miles east of the Strip. This was envisioned by the developers as a vast Mediterranean oasis (2,200 acres, projected four billion dollars), with Italianate and Moorish elements throughout, complete with gon- dolas floating beneath the covered bridge on the placid lagoon. The big golf holes by Jack Nicklaus make sense on the big-scale piece of land. It's a terrific desert track--except for the eighth, ninth, seventeenth and eighteenth holes, which are flat and play along the water's edge to truly startling effect given the arid, rolling terrain of the preceding holes. Reflection Bay is a truly inspired name for this golf course.

Par & Yardage:72, 7,261
Phone: 877-698-4653
Greens Fee: $175

Rio Secco

These are the most difficult greens in the region without a doubt, bent on playing hell with any but the most exquisitely struck putts. Then again, many of the slopes that make long putts difficult also curl approach shots toward the holes, so just placing the ball and putting at random, as I did, is a little misleading. When playing number five, remember that this green, tough as it still is, has been rebuilt following a number of recorded debacles. But I don't want to scare anyone. This is a perfectly fine way to set up a golf course.

Par & Yardage:72, 7,332
Phone:888-867-3226
Greens Fees:$190 for guests of the Rio Suites hotel; other out-of-towners out of luck; $300 for residents of Clark County

Royal Links

I base my assessment solely on a tour of the course with developer Billy Walters, but I don't believe I'll live to regret it. If the holes are "accurate," and that certainly seems to be the case, how can the architecture be faulted?The main question here is the same as it is with Shadow Creek: Is the basic concept legitimate? I believe that it is.

Par & Yardage:72, 7,029
Phone:888-397-2499
Greens Fees:$195 weekdays, $225 Fri.-Sun.

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