Wildhorse is on the list of old friends to visit

I'm guessing you are a lot like me: have to try new things, experience new environs, keep things fresh. Sure, we have our favorite restaurants, our favorite casinos, our favorite shopping malls and even our favorite video poker bars. But when that new restaurant or store opens, we're there.

The same goes with golf courses. There are about 60 golf courses in Las Vegas. I've played maybe 40 of 'em. I have my favorites, but I jump at every chance to experience a new course.

And as they exclaim in infomercials, "But wait!"

Sometimes it's better to play an old friend again. This year, Wildhorse Golf Club, 2100 W. Warm Springs Road, is 54 years old. I hadn't played it in seven or eight years. I didn't have much recollection of it, either. But a well-timed business meeting at its banquet facilities prompted a better round of golf.

Wildhorse was opened in 1958 by Hank Greenspun and purchased by Howard Hughes in 1968. It served as a PGA Tour stop in the '60s and '70s, at that time named the Sahara Invitational. It was redesigned in 2004 and now is a public course owned by the city of Henderson. I last played during this renovation.

Wildhorse Golf Club is a par-70, rated at 71.4 with a slope of 136. It's nestled in a well-kept neighborhood. The course is in great condition despite the summertime heat. There were only a few other foursomes on the course for our 1:30 p.m. tee-off. We could play fast and loose.

Seven holes have water hazards, and there are a lot of doglegs but with a minimum of sand traps that could lure the golfer into overconfidence. The front nine is wide open and expansive, and with the few sand traps coming into play, big boomers will be confident and enjoy this opportunity to score low.

But then up jump holes Nos. 4 and 9. Both these holes were selected by the Las Vegas Review-Journal in its "Vegas Fantasy 18," a compilation of the toughest holes from various golf courses in Las Vegas. No. 4 is a 205-yard par-3 with water bordering the entire right-hand side of the hole. Depending on pin placement, the shot could require total carry over the water to the green.

No. 9 is a doozy. It plays to 398 yards and is shaped like a serpent. It bends to the right and then back to the left, with two large lakes guarding both sides of the fairway. Water is in play on every shot, and club length is essential on every shot. The approach to the green is over water, and a flyer will find a stream bordering the backside of the green. It's ranked the hardest hole in the layout with good reason.

The backside is 500 yards longer and equally wide open. No. 13 is ranked the second-most challenging hole on the course. It's a 441-yard par-4 with water on the right at the driver-landing zone. Stay to the left, and you'll get a better approach angle to the green.

We played in less than 3½ hours, fortified by cold water and an occasional brew. Yep, an old friend was better then ever.

Wildhorse Golf Club has a very nice clubhouse and banquet facility. Located on the second floor, it provides nice panoramas of the course. Wildhorse is very community-oriented and provides activities aimed at all age levels, including two upcoming events in August. The "Nine & Dine" is Aug. 10 in which couples can play nine holes and then enjoy a steak or chicken dinner that includes wine. A week later, on Aug. 17, is the Nite Golf Tournament, a four-person nine-hole scramble, complete with awards, BBQ dinner and glow balls.

I can't wait for another business meeting at Wildhorse Golf Club. Go check it out.

John Asay is a longtime golfer and local freelance writer. Contact him at jasay@reviewjournal.com.