Golf around Las Vegas is more well known for its sticker shock than the depth of quality courses. It boasts both.
Prime rounds at Shadow Creek, Cascata and the soon-to-be-reopened Wynn can cost you anywhere from $350 to $600 depending upon the season and day of the week. Bali Hai, a tropical-themed oasis on the southern tip of the strip, will offer tee times under $200 now and then, but it can cost up to $250 as well. Once you get past these star-studded headliners, there is cheaper golf to be found.
A reader asked us:
"Anyone know of any decently priced golf courses near the strip? Been to Vegas 4 times and never played once. I'm visiting in November and would love to get a game in!"
This is a tough question to answer because as we all know the reality in Vegas is different than the rest of the world. Las Vegas golf is more expensive for two reasons: It's Vegas baby! Plus, it's also costly to build and maintain a desert course. Water costs get passed on to customers. Nothing in Las Vegas comes cheap. In fact, you probably won't find a green fee for under a Benjamin now that many of the courses have gone through fall overseeding and are in good shape.
But, like all destinations, there are value choices. Not affordable, per se, but more affordable than the high-end courses. You just have to look a little harder or get more creative in your definition of golf.
Actually, the most affordable round of golf would be Topgolf Las Vegas. Considering you can split the costs with up to six players per bay, you can get a lot of swings in and have a lot of fun doing it. No need to lug your clubs with you; there are clubs in every bay. Where Topgolf gets expensive is if you go overboard on the food and drinks. Bays rent by the hour from $32 Monday through Thursday before noon to a high of $77 after 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
The Las Vegas Golf Center, located on the south end of the strip, sports a nine-hole, lighted, par-3 course with holes ranging from 110 yards to 185 yards. There is also a two-tiered range, tavern and golf school. Nine holes cost $30-$35 for visitors, plus extra for cart ($12 per rider but you can walk) and rental clubs ($20).
The hard part is finding affordable courses "close" to the Strip. What's the definition of close? Las Vegas National (roughly 3-4 miles from the strip with an estimated Uber cost of at least $12 each way) ranges from $49-$89 in summer (August to mid-October) and $79-$119 in fall (mid-October to mid-March) until the price jumps to $89-$139 for spring. Tiger Woods won his first PGA Tour event in 1996 at the National, which has hosted the LPGA Tour and PGA Tour off and on since 1961.
I found tee times ranging from $49-$119 online at the website for Desert Pines, a compact 6,222-yard layout roughly seven miles off the strip (estimated Uber ride: $15). It's a target test with four lakes to avoid. Stallion Mountain is also roughly seven miles out (estimated Uber: $19). Tee times, post overseeding, hadn't been updated yet on the course website. The Legacy ($65-$149) in Henderson is less than nine miles from the McCarran International Airport, but slightly farther from the strip (estimated Uber: $19).
Royal Links, a unique course with replica holes from famous links that have hosted The Open, is of a similar distance, roughly nine miles from the strip or the airport (estimated Uber: $17), but more expensive to play (consistently charging $125-$150 in the fall on its course website).
Having a car will blow up your parking fees at hotels on the strip, but it also will help you track down bargain green fees on the outer rim more than 10 miles away.
I'm a big fan of Angel Park, one of the most complete facilities in golf. Angel Park (13 miles from the strip and a $20 estimated Uber ride) has two fine courses, a putting course and a lighted par-3 course called the Cloud 9. Tee times on the championship courses can run from $42 (twilight) to $139 in the fall, according to the online system on its website.
The Arroyo Golf Club ($95-$165) and Siena Golf Club ($85-$135) are part of the golf rich community of Summerlin 10 to 12 miles west of the strip (estimated Uber ride of $23). Farther north is Golf Summerlin's trio of Highland Falls and Palm Valley, both roughly $110 at peak times in fall, and Eagle Crest, a 4,067-yard, par-60 layout that costs less than $55 on peak weekends. Golf Summerlin's Uber estimates are $25 each way.
More than 25 miles out seems to be the magic distance where prices drop (unless you're going to Reflection Bay at Lake Las Vegas, which runs $165-$225, or Cascata). Boulder Creek Golf Club in Boulder City -- ranked among the top 15 public golf courses in Nevada by Golfweek in the past - maxes out at $120 for non-residents. Its sister course, Boulder City Golf Course, was voted "Best Bargain Course in Southern Nevada" three years in a row by Vegas Golfer Magazine, costing a mere $55. Be aware, though, that what you save in green fees, you might pay back in Uber fares (an estimated $32 and up each way).
What are your recommendations for playing golf around Las Vegas? Let us know in the comments below.