LAS VEGAS -- Choosing where to stay while visiting Las Vegas isn't easy.
There are so many great casino hotels along Las Vegas Boulevard that it's an embarrassment of riches. Most of the higher-end resorts along the Las Vegas Strip are more than happy to accommodate golfers. Their valet staff will store your clubs without much hassle and cabs to the course are always just a wave away.
Still, some properties fit better for a golf vacation than others. Golfers can rest easy and play hard at these Las Vegas-area hotels:
Wynn Las Vegas
Obvious, right? Wynn Golf Club right behind the original Wynn tower is right on the Strip. Leading up to the 2005 opening, Tom Fazio moved 800,000 cubic yards of dirt to transform the old Desert Inn course into one of the great modern playgrounds. Despite occupying just 137 acres, the par-70, 7,042-yard course never feels constricted. Tee times every 15 minutes and the $500 price tag (it's less in the off season) ensure privacy and exclusivity. The $2 million waterfall behind the 18th green closes the round in style. Between the 15 restaurants and the 111,000 square feet of casino space, there's plenty to see and do at Wynn Las Vegas.
MGM Resorts International hotels
Golfers should memorize the MGM properties on the Strip. Staying at any of them opens up access to Shadow Creek, the exclusive $500-a-round course designed by Tom Fazio. I've been lucky enough for lightning to strike twice, playing Shadow Creek during stays at the Aria Resort & Casino, which opened in 2009, and the new Delano Las Vegas, which was re-branded earlier this year. I enjoyed each place for different reasons. Dinner at Sage and tickets to Zarkana, a wild Cirque du Soleil show, created the perfect Vegas night out.
The all-suites Delano tower, separate from the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, aims to be more chillaxed. It opened earlier this year as a tribute to the stylish Delano South Beach in Miami. Golfers can hang out at the lobby bar, Franklin, or get a groove on at the miX Lounge, where floor-to-ceiling windows showcase incredible views of the Strip 400 feet below. Walk to Mandalay Bay to sample some cool restaurants like Aureole (check out the wine tower) and Michael Mina's STRIPSTEAK (try the Bourbon Smash for a cocktail). Staying on the southern end of the Strip at Delano or Mandalay Bay keeps the cab ride affordable for a round at the tropical-themed Bali Hai Golf Club, owned by Walters Golf.
Golf Channel Amateur Tour players who tee it up in the "Duel in the Desert 2015" at the Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort will stay at MGM's Monte Carlo Resort & Casino.
Caesars Palace Las Vegas
I've stayed at Caesars Palace on several Las Vegas golf trips, more than any other property on the Strip. I still haven't found a better meal than at Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill. Caesars Palace is one of three Caesars Entertainment Corp. casino resorts with a Leisure Concierge who is great for booking tee times anywhere in the Las Vegas valley, including the company's two sweet Rees Jones-designed golf courses, Cascata in Boulder City and Rio Secco Golf Club in Henderson. The concierge, available from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. daily, can help golfers plan their schedules by booking shows and reservations at restaurants. It's like having a golf packager without the service charge. Caesars is also just a four-mile cab ride from the old-school Las Vegas National Golf Club.
JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort & Spa
This JW Marriott, located 25 minutes from the Strip in the swanky Summerlin neighborhood, might be a little sleepy for some Vegas regulars, but for others, the laid-back vibe is just right. Even the attached 50,000-square-foot Rampart Casino projects a calmer vibe. The madness of the Strip is easily accessible by cab or a free shuttle. The adjacent TPC Las Vegas feels like an extension of the property. It's not uncommon to see Vegas residents Charlie Hoffman or Kevin Na on the range or in the clubhouse at TPC Las Vegas, a former PGA Tour and Champions Tour host. Bobby Weed and Raymond Floyd collaborated on the course, building some truly dramatic canyon holes. Angel Park Golf Club, home to two Arnold Palmer courses and the lighted Cloud Nine par-3 course, is less than a mile away.
Lake Las Vegas Resort
Now that the Reflection Bay golf course is back online after closing in 2009, this Henderson hotspot 20 miles from the Strip is an option for golfers. Original architect Jack Nicklaus returned to tweak a few things, removing bunkers and reshaping or moving others. The seventh green -- one of 18 now covered with T1 bentgrass -- was also extended closer to the edge of Lake Las Vegas. Golfers can pad their loyalty reward accounts by choosing the Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort & Spa or the Hilton Lake Las Vegas Resort & Spa. The condominium suites of the Aston MonteLago Village Resort will serve a foursome or family needing more space and privacy.
Where are your favorite places to stay in Las Vegas on a golf trip? Let us know in the comments below.