Golf Getaway ►
Highland Falls Golf Club
Vegas Golf Winter Getaway …
Editorial and Photography by John Baccala
Maybe no American city has been affected more —
financially — by the Covid-19 pandemic than Las Vegas . Bright lights and neon still illuminate its famous Strip , but many casinos , restaurants , and shows remain dark . So , thank goodness for golf ! The “ one-armed bandits ” may be temporarily silenced , but the sounds of the “ club on ball ” can be heard throughout the Vegas Valley . So , if you need a “ winter break ,” forget the night clubs and bring your golf clubs to Highland Falls Golf Club in Summerlin — about a 20-minute drive west from Las Vegas Boulevard .
Highland Falls is a par 72 layout co-designed by former Masters champion Billy Casper . The course — a five-time winner of the “ Best of Las Vegas ” award by the Las Vegas Review Journal newspaper — features dramatic elevation changes and strategically-placed fairway and greenside bunkers . “ There are 80 bunkers located throughout the golf course , and to be honest , we removed even more when we replaced the sand five years ago ,” said Donny Long , director of golf for Golf Summerlin . “ We keep them in great condition , and that makes them much easier to hit from when you do find one .” Both the par-5 1st hole and the par-4 13th feature nearly a dozen bunkers each .
While there ’ s a lot of sand at Highland Falls , there isn ’ t a lot of water . Only three holes , including the par-4 5th , have water hazards . Playing just 332 yards from the white tees , how hard can the 5th hole be , right ? Long said , hard enough . “ Although it ’ s short , it can be one of the most difficult holes on the golf course ,” he said . “ Hitting the fairway is a must , followed by a short iron to a green with water in front , back , and right of the flagstick .” I can attest , the second shot to this green is a “ knee knocker !”
The 332-yard par-4 5th from the white tees seems short , but it can be one of the most difficult holes on the golf course ! The scenic mountains create a spectacular view from the tee .
With an elevation of more than 3,000 feet , Highland Falls offers a look at Las Vegas few get to see . “ The views of the Las Vegas Strip are spectacular ,” Long said . Nowhere is that illustrated more than on the par-3 14th , the course ’ s signature hole — playing 176 yards ( white tees ), your backdrop is the world-famous Strip and downtown Las Vegas . “ It ’ s one of the best par 3 ’ s in Las Vegas ,” Long added . Have your phone ready — it is a definite must-have “ photo-op .”
There are elevation changes throughout the course , but Long said those changes are really not a factor , especially for higher handicap players . “ What you see is what you get .” While your ball does travel a little further at elevation , the only hidden hazard at Highland Falls is a waste area running through the fairway on the par-5 16th , but again , unless your last name is DeChambeau , Rahm , or Johnson ( Dustin Johnson , that is ), worry not !
The par-4 18th green with clubhouse in the background . Great finishing hole to a wonderful course .
28 December 2020 TEE TIMES GOLF GUIDE