Welcome to the Las Vegas National Golf Club, or better to known by most in Las Vegas or on the PGA Tour as the old “Sahara” Golf Club. Designed by Bert Stamps in 1961, The Las Vegas National Golf Club back in its day, had hosted several tour stops from the PGA and LPGA tour. Tiger Woods claimed his first PGA Victory with a 70 in the Las Vegas Invitational. Also acting as a back drop in the movie “Casino” with Sharron Stone, Robert De Niro, and Joe Pesci, Las Vegas National has its own unique history.
Playing a little over 6,800 yards and a par 71, Las Vegas National was not an easy venue. The first hole is the longest par-5 on the course. It is up hill playing 560 yards and lined with OB left and right. There is a lake, a huge bunker, and a couple palm trees blocking the narrow but long green. With the rough being of good length getting the yardage down can be tough; so you better hit it down the fairway. Number three is a par-3 with an elevated green. For the novice golfer there is a stream that is marked at the half way point, but it really doesn’t come into play other than mentally or unless you chunk one; but on the next 3 holes….it does. On holes four through six your ball plays around the same water feature that sometimes seems to have golf ball magnets. To make it more taxing, number six is the most difficult hole on the course. With the stream on the right and OB left, the 442 yard par-4, plays as a strong dogleg left; a long straight drive is a must. When you get to number nine, pray that the pin is not tucked around the right corner of the green hidden behind a deep bunker. It is a straight par-4 but the pin placement can make it treacherous.
Each hole on Las Vegas National Golf Club has some kind of history. The back nine is no different. With par 4s who back to back compromise with a lake, a par 3 over 200 yards guarded with a huge bunker, and a par-5 that is lined with trees and an strong angled dogleg, this course is a beast. The shortest par-4 on the course playing 345 yards, number 17 required a drive over a deep wash to carry to the two-tiered fairway. Bunkers also give caution from the drive all the way to the elevated green guarded with bunkers from front to back. The longer hitters can try to go for it in one, but the bunker guarding the green is about 15 feet deep; have fun with that one. The course never even lets up a little. Number 13, another short par-4 with water guarding the entire right side of the hole. Most golfers think to themselves, “nice a short par-4,” but then they see it. The longer hitters might have a chance at hitting the green in one, but a bad swing and you are almost guaranteed to splash in the water right or go OB left.
Keep this course in mind next time you are in Las Vegas especially if you have never played it.