NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Before you take on Johnny Miller at Badlands Golf Club or the tight, pine tree-lined fairways of Desert Pines Golf Club, it might be a good idea to tee it up at one of the area's more forgiving championship golf courses, like Aliante Golf Club in North Las Vegas.
One of the newest golf courses in Las Vegas, opened in 2003 as part of emerging North Las Vegas, Aliante is a semi-private club and community with member's club amenities and a full-service practice area. Its acres are beautifully manicured and Arroyo rock beds roll around 14 holes and a variety of trees and plant life, like Pear and Purple Locust trees, line holes, while the surrounding mountains are often serving as a looming backdrop.
The course is a Gary Panks design that can play as long or short as you want it. It stretches to over 7,000 yards from the tips and still a strong 6,600-plus from the men's set. From the men's, the slope/rating is a modest 70.6/128, which means shooting your handicap is certainly in the cards here.
With its modern length and generous fairways, Aliante makes for a golf course where driver is the obvious play off the tee in all but a handful of circumstances, like its two, daring, short par 4s. There is a little room for error here, and bunkers aren't horribly deep, making it a mid-handicappers delight.
On most tee boxes, it's bombs away, other than perhaps the par-5 third, which features a dry rock bed that darts across the fairway at about 280-300 yards. It's blind, too, so consult your stroke saver before assuming driver is the play.
Which, in fact, driver is on most other occasions, including the salivating short par 4s here, both the fifth and 16th hole, that both play between 330-350 yards and can yield an easy birdie opportunity with good poke up to its fringe.
Aliante Golf Club's collection of par 3s aren't long, but don't discount them for their short distance. Though just 140 yards, the 15th's small, elevated green is shallow enough that you must really mind your pin position, or a solid shot may find the back traps. The par-3 fourth hole is just 155 yards, though playing from an elevated tee over arroyo bed rocks to an elevated green guarded by a menacing front bunker isn't an easy task.
The par-4 17th hole received the most attention from the landscapers here. It's long, at over 400 yards and rolls gently uphill to an elevated green that features a two-tiered pond and water fall surrounded by lush plant life. It's one of two large water hazards here, the other coming into play in front of the 11th tee box.
The verdict on Aliante Golf Club
Aliante Golf Club makes for a pleasant mid-level golf course in the Las Vegas area, with solid course conditions from tee to green and hole variety. While winding through the residential development, the property is nicely manicured and the assortment of plant and tree life help add to a pleasant ambiance. It's clear to see the keepers of the course pay attention to its maintenance and conditioning details.
Keeping with the Panks design philosophy, the golf course is not horribly difficult if you're playing the right set of four tee boxes here, and most trouble can be avoided with a little thought. Greens have subtle breaks in most spots, and few putts break much more than a few inches, so good putters will be salivating for the kill.
Another bonus to the course design is there are very few days when the golf course is backed up. Four hours or less is a very manageable pace given the routing and difficulty of the course.
Club amenities include a driving range, short game area complete with putting and chipping green as well as a practice bunker. There is also a cozy bar and grill with a full lunch and dinner menu.
Aliante Golf Club is located about 20-30 minutes north of the Las Vegas strip, though group outings should inquire about the club's complimentary shuttle service to and from the golf club.