Rio Secco G.C. - hole 7
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Rio Secco G.C. - hole 7
If you ace the "Million Dollar" seventh hole Rio Secco Golf Club, you can come back to compete for a million dollars. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
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Rio Secco golf course - hole 8
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Rio Secco golf course - hole 8
It takes an approach over the desert to reach the par-5 eighth green at Rio Secco Golf Club in Henderson, Nevada. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Rio Secco G.C. - hole 12
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Rio Secco G.C. - hole 12
Take an extra club to take on the climb to the green on Rio Secco Golf Club's par-3 12th hole. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Rio Secco golf course - hole 13
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Rio Secco golf course - hole 13
Since the 329-yard 13th hole at Rio Secco Golf Club isn't really drivable, it's best to layup and hit wedge into the elevated green. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Rio Secco G.C. - hole 15
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Rio Secco G.C. - hole 15
Canyon walls and desert surround the 15th green at Rio Secco Golf Club just southeast of Las Vegas. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Rio Secco golf course - hole 16
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Rio Secco golf course - hole 16
The 16th green, the end of a 398-yard par 4 at Rio Secco Golf Club, is boxed in on three sides by canyon walls with a desert hazard crossing in front. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Rio Secco GC - T-Mates caddies
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Rio Secco GC - T-Mates caddies
Rio Secco's T-Mates are sexy female caddies who spice up a typical round of golf. Courtesy of Rio Secco G.C.
Rio Secco Golf Club - hole 11
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Rio Secco Golf Club - hole 11
The fantastic 11th hole at Rio Secco Golf Club overlooks the Las Vegas Strip. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Rio Secco G.C. - hole 2
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Rio Secco G.C. - hole 2
The second hole, a 489-yard par 4, is the no. 1 handicap at Rio Secco Golf Club in Henderson, Nev. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Rio Secco golf course - hole 3
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Rio Secco golf course - hole 3
A gaping canyon looks intimidating on the 180-yard third hole at Rio Secco Golf Club just southeast of Las Vegas. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor

Lots to love about Rees Jones' Rio Secco Golf Club near Las Vegas

HENDERSON, Nev. -- It's true that Rio Secco Golf Club plays second fiddle to Cascata, the more exclusive of the two Rees Jones-designed courses owned by Caesars Entertainment.

That's hardly a knock on Rio Secco, a golf course that just might be the best in Las Vegas area not named Wynn , Shadow Creek or Cascata . Rio Secco wraps all the excesses of Sin City into one perfect package, incorporating splashes of sex appeal, celebrity, gambling and the natural beauty of the desert landscape to stimulate golfers.

Butch Harman -- the former swing coach of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson -- is the famous face of Rio Secco. He opened his first golf school at the club. Maybe you'll run into him or one of his famous students in the clubhouse.

The pretty faces hanging out at Rio Secco are the T-Mates, sexy female caddies who spice up a typical round of golf. The T-Mates do a little bit of caddie work such as reading putts and raking traps along the way, but their main job is to make sure everybody in the group has fun.

The gamble comes at the seventh hole, a daunting par 3 dubbed the "Million Dollar" hole. Golfers can bet any amount they wish for a chance to double their winnings in pro-shop merchandise. Any lucky player who sinks a hole-in-one qualifies for the "Million Dollar" finals every fall, a competition where contestants get three swings to land another ace and win a cool million bucks. The odds might be long, but they're still better than certain slot machines on the Strip.

Rio Secco, as a course, could easily stand on its merits without all these other amenities. The nines were switched a couple of years ago to improve the flow of traffic. The current back nine features some stunning (and difficult) holes. No. 11, one of the best par 4s in Vegas, drops off an elevated tee with commanding views of the Strip to a diagonal fairway running away from players. The par-3 15th and par-4 16th holes sit in natural box canyons.

In three words, Rio Secco rocks.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 700 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
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Lots to love about Rees Jones' Rio Secco Golf Club near Las Vegas
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