Playing across the pond in Las Vegas: Five reasons to tee it up at Royal Links Golf Club

LAS VEGAS -- Welcome to Las Vegas golf with a twist. At Royal Links Golf Club , a Dye Designs layout, players will tackle a links-style course and get the chance to play holes replicated from the British Open rotation.

That's right, holes like the Road Hole, Hell Bunker and the Postage Stamp -- all without leaving Las Vegas.

Here are five reasons to tee it up at Royal Links next time you hit Sin City.

1. A reality show

Many of these so-called replica golf courses don't take the time and effort to do the course justice. Not at Royal Links. You've got the gorse, you've got the pot bunkers, you've got the Swilcan Bridge, you've got the bangers, you've got the -- well, you get the idea. They've done their homework with the replication features to give players that links-style feature while still being in the heart of Las Vegas.

2. This is no ordinary golf course

Royal Links has plenty of length at 7,029 yards, so it's definitely a challenge from the tips. There are no water hazards on the course. That's the good news. But the gorse lining holes will catch errant tee shots, and you've got 108 pot bunkers to avoid (some of them are hidden). Play smart and consider taking a caddie (they definitely know their way around the course and can steer players away from those penal bunkers). Or for that over-the-top Vegas experience, reserve a Parmates caddie. These ladies add sex appeal to your round, and they will also perform the caddie duties of their male counterparts. There's also an all-grass practice facility with music piped in. Admit it, you're intrigued to play holes from such famed courses as Royal Troon, St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Turnberry, Muirfield and others.

3. Yes, that's a castle

Elegance is taken to a whole new level once players step into the castle-like clubhouse as well as into Stymie's Pub. Whether it's an out-of-this-world meal or just a post-round drink, you'll marvel at the food, the staff, the historic ambiance -- and the castle itself. Sit back, relax and enjoy yourself.

4. The history

On each tee box is a little bit of history about the hole you're playing. It may not seem like a big thing, but it's one more feature that makes Royal Links stand out. Monuments are located around the course that give a look at spots where historic British Open events and shots took place. Add in a Champions Wall that lists American players who have won the British Open, and your history lesson for the day is over.

5. Award-winning excellence

If you add up the honors Royal Links has won, it may be close to -- or more than -- the number of bunkers on the course. And that list continues to grow by the day. Royal Links was just honored with a "Best Courses to Play" award from Golfweek. It's one of many honors the course has garnered over the years. These awards are from the experts. They know their stuff. And if it's at the top of their list, it should be at the top of yours.

Bill Bowman is a Las Vegas-based writer who has more than 40 years in the sports-writing business. He's spent the past 16-plus years covering the golf scene in Vegas and has teed it up for magazine profiles with celebrities including comedian Bill Engvall, actor Jeffrey Donovan (USA's Burn Notice), ESPN personality Colin Cowherd, NASCAR's Kurt Busch, Collective Soul's Ed Roland, the Baltimore Ravens' Jonathan Ogden and many others.
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Playing across the pond in Las Vegas: Five reasons to tee it up at Royal Links Golf Club
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