My house and yard aren't that big, and the yard is landscaped and maintained by yours truly. It has a lot of rock, wood decks, planter pots and planter areas where mature shrubs, palms and trees are growing. Little or no grass, by choice. Ignore it for a few months -- a la this winter -- and weeds magically multiply overnight. There's not enough Ortho Weed-B-Gon or Monsanto Roundup in the valley to handle it.
Now imagine a golf course being closed for nearly three years and maintained by a skeleton crew of four groundskeepers. It has 47 acres of rough, 29 acres of fairways, 3.42 acres of tee boxes, 3.5 acres of approach areas and 3 acres of greens.
Stallion Mountain Golf Club, 5500 E. Flamingo Road, opened in 1992 under the name Stallion Mountain Country Club. Designed by Jim Colbert and Jeff Brauer, there were plenty of good times. Stallion Mountain hosted the PGA Las Vegas Invitational, the Frank Sinatra Celebrity Classic in 1998 and the Golf Channel's Big Break II competition in 2005. The course was forced to close in 2008 due to financial troubles and lay dormant until November last year. So how does a course that's been hibernating for three years now play? Very nice indeed, thank you.
Stallion Mountain plays from 5,747 yards to 7,351 yards depending on from which four tee boxes you start. Ratings range from 70.9 to 74.8, and the gold slopes are 121, with the black tee box slopes at 134. This translates into a challenging round of golf for all levels.
Featuring Strip and Sunrise Mountain views, the course is visually pleasing. Although located in a gated housing community, the fairways are wide and give players a false sense of confidence. Stallion Mountain's six lakes and more than 100 sand traps can easily come into play, forcing accurate tee and approach shots. The water hazards come into play on seven holes, while three long par-3s, each more than 200 yards, demand accuracy and length on each shot.
The two finishing holes are the most enjoyable. No. 17 is a 281-yard par-3, which is fronted by a small lake. The shot requires all carry, and a penalty stroke is easily assessed here. Hole 18 is a 566-yard par-5 that, unless you're a big hitter, won't allow you to make up that penalty stroke on 17.
The consensus of the course among our foursome was that Stallion was a blast to play, tough yet fair, in remarkably great condition and a must play again. Will do.
Stallion Mountain is the showpiece of the gated community. It recently signed an agreement with OB Sports to manage the property. That's good news.
David Raper, general manager of Stallion Mountain, took me on a quick tour of the 38,000-foot clubhouse. Included are a fully stocked pro shop, comfortable grill, friendly bar, complete locker room amenities and extensive training and practice areas.
"We're remodeling a portion of the upper levels to complement our wedding facilities, to include a complete brides and bridesmaids ready room," Raper said. "Weddings can be held outdoors in a lovely area with great views. Also included upstairs is availability of private offices that have a great golf course views."
Stallion Mountain Golf Club is now a semiprivate facility; member play will be supplemented by resort/unaccompanied guest play, outside tournaments and other outlets. You can become a member and join for no money down. During the first year, monthly dues are $395 for singles and $495 for a family. Beginning in year two, those fees are reduced by $100 a month. All-you-want golf, priority use of practice facilities, bag storage, locker, no food and beverage minimums and special preferred benefits at other OB Sports-managed courses are included.
Hibernation has been good for Stallion Mountain. Check it out and take a tour. You'll notice there are no weeds to be seen.
John Asay is a longtime golfer and local freelance writer. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.