Imagine if you could pick and choose 18 holes of golf to play anywhere in Las Vegas. Public or private. Fancy or simple. Hard or easy.
The Review-Journal asked you to come up with a fantasy golf course.
Whether it's a treacherous par 3 surrounded by water, a par 4 with tight fairways and undulating greens or a lengthy, monstrous par 5 winding through the desert, the R-J's fantasy course has something that challenges golfers of all abilities.
More than 60 courses are in Clark County catering to thousands of players, both local and from out of town. If you want a challenge, you're sure to find one. If you want to get around without tossing your clubs in frustration, there are courses to provide a leisurely round.
But if you had the opportunity to play the best of the best courses and not have to worry about going broke in doing so, then our fantasy course might be for you.
Remember, this is your course. You designed it. So enjoy, good luck and don't forget to replace your divots.
HOLE NO. 1 AT LAS VEGAS NATIONAL GOLF CLUB 520 YARDS, PAR 5
Why it's challenging: The longer you go along the hole, the less room you have to work. According to Tim Carrigan, the head golf professional at National, the second shot is critical: "If you hit it short, there's a huge bunker in the front; hit it too long and you go over the green into the lake behind the green."
Why it's fun: If you've seen the movie "Casino," the first house on the left as you tee off should look familiar as it was used in the movie. Also, the fairway served as a landing strip for the airplane that touched down. "It's kinda cool for people who've seen the movie to play the hole where the plane landed," Carrigan said.
R-J reader Gary Black: ''It has a beautiful fairway to start your golfing. Waiting at the end is a refreshing pond!''
HOLE NO. 2 AT TPC LAS VEGAS 196 YARDS, PAR 3
Why it's challenging: Like every TPC course, this layout (formerly known as TPC at the Canyons) was designed to challenge the top PGA Tour pros. "It's visually intimidating," said Todd Hajduk, the head golf pro at TPC Las Vegas. "The wind is usually a factor, which increases the level of difficulty."
Why it's fun: "You feel like you accomplished something big" when you put the ball on the green, Hajduk said. "But if you miss, it's a big number, and that's not a lot of fun."
R-J reader Jim Graves: ''Don't be short, long or left. And if you go right, you deal with either a tight bunker shot or a tricky downhill chip. And with all that trouble, it's even more fun when the wind is up in.''
HOLE NO. 3 AT SILVERSTONE GOLF CLUB 653 YARDS, PAR 5
Why it's challenging: The length can be intimidating. "It's such a strategic hole that can be played a number of ways depending on how much risk you're willing to take," said Ross McCullough, the director of golf at Silverstone. "It's a double dogleg that starts right, then bends left. If you decide to lay up, you're still looking at 250 yards to the green, and there's deep bunkers behind it if you miss the green."
Why it's fun: "It's so wide open, it allows you to grip it and rip it," McCullough said. "It's all downhill, so that also helps. For the longest hitters, they can get there in two."
R-J reader Thomas Evans: ''Three good shots can be rewarded with a birdie opportunity, but a bad shot, especially around the green, will bring big numbers into play.''
HOLE NO. 4 AT WILDHORSE GOLF CLUB 205 YARDS, PAR 3
Why it's challenging: According to Gary Caouette, the head golf professional, it's a question of mind over matter. "It's completely over water, so you've got to forget about it and concentrate on hitting a good shot," he said. "For a lot of people, that's easier said than done."
Why it's fun: "It's a fair hole," Caouette said. "It's a hole where if you land safely and your buddies go into the water, you'll have bragging rights."
R-J reader Richard Gomm: ''Tough par 3 over water with no bailout. The back tees present a formidable challenge for the better golfers, and the middle tees are similarly challenging for the majority of golfers.''
HOLE NO. 5 AT STALLION MOUNTAIN GOLF CLUB 218 YARDS, PAR 3
Why it's challenging: This is a long par 3, and when the wind is blowing in, it's even longer. Mike Altman, the general manager at Stallion Mountain, said it's a difficult hole. "It's a good distance, so you have to use a long iron or a fairway wood to get there. There's not a lot of margin for error."
Why it's fun: It's a picturesque hole with red rocks ringing the lake and nice homes nearby. "You can be aggressive and go for the green, or you can play it safe to the right, where there's room to get up and down," Altman said.
R-J reader Dave Hutchings: ''A pretty hole with red rocks lining the lake and homes bordering the boundary.''
HOLE NO. 6 AT STALLION MOUNTAIN GOLF CLUB 566 YARDS, PAR 5
Why it's challenging: Mike Altman, the general manager at Stallion Mountain, said you better hit it straight or you can wind up posting a big number. "There's water in front of the tee and down the entire right side," he said. "The left side is desert, and that's trouble, too."
Why it's fun: Depending on the conditions, a big hitter can get to the green in two shots, and Altman said it gives a golfer a sense of fulfillment. "You feel like you accomplished something special if you can get home in two," he said.
R-J reader Brian McShane: ''Challenging, with risk reward, and beautiful. It's a par 5, which curls slightly to the right, with water down the right side.''
HOLE NO. 7 AT ARROYO GOLF CLUB AT RED ROCK 215 YARDS, PAR 3
Why it's challenging: It's a downhill par 3 with length, and when the wind is blowing in from the green, the hole plays even longer. "It's a tough hole," said Thom Blinkinsop, the regional general manager for the course.
Why it's fun: If you register a hole-in-one, you could win $10,000 or have the use of a BMW for two years. The catch is you have to purchase a $5 ticket before teeing off to be eligible for the prizes. Part of the proceeds from the charity hole-in-one contest go to the burn unit at St. Rose Children's Hospital.
R-J reader Mark Hutchinson: ''The hole is a great par 3 with the most beautiful view of the Strip you can get!''
HOLE NO. 8 AT ROYAL LINKS GOLF CLUB 153 YARDS, PAR 3
Why it's challenging: According to Eddie Delashmutt, who works in the pro shop at Royal Links and plays the course regularly, if you've seen the postage-stamp size green at Royal Troon and watch the pros struggle to make par during the British Open, you can appreciate the toughness of this hole. It doesn't have much of a target area to shoot for; miss the green, and you're in big trouble.
Why it's fun: It's not a long hole, so you don't have to be a big hitter. If you manage to find the green with your tee shot, you could come away with par or, even better, a birdie.
R-J reader Jeffrey Mayhall: ''Where else can you play the Postage Stamp from Royal Troon!''
HOLE NO. 9 AT WILDHORSE GOLF CLUB 398 YARDS, PAR 4
Why it's challenging: This used to be Wildhorse's 18th hole. It remains tough because water comes into play on virtually every shot. "Hit it too far, you're going to get wet," head golf professional Gary Caouette said. "Hit it too short, you're going to struggle to carry the water."
Why it's fun: You can leave the driver in the bag for this hole. Caouette said a lot of people prefer to use a long iron off the tee to avoid trouble and still score on the hole. "Those hybrid clubs seem to be popular off the tee too," he said.
R-J reader Elena Hargraves: ''Always has been the signature hole at Wildhorse and once rated one of the toughest holes in Las Vegas.''
HOLE NO. 10 AT ROYAL LINKS GOLF CLUB 466 YARDS, PAR 4
Why it's challenging: This is a replica of the "Road Hole" at St. Andrews. You're hitting blind off the tee, and because you can't see the fairway, you don't know how little room there is to safely land your shot. Big hills are on the right rough.
Why it's fun: Eddie Delashmutt, who works in the pro shop, said for golfers who have a sense of history, this is a hole they should enjoy playing. True, it has no hotel like the real St. Andrews. But it has a scoreboard, and considering how much it would cost to travel to Scotland ...
R-J reader Brian Dyke: ''The approach shot to the green is tough due to the enormous bunker left greenside.''
HOLE NO. 11 AT RIO SECCO GOLF CLUB 478 YARDS, PAR 4
Why it's challenging: You're hitting almost blind from an elevated tee box. Go too far left, and you're likely to catch one of the bunkers that runs down that side. Go right, and you're in the desert canyon. ''Aim for the hill just left of the green ... the ball will trickle down to the green, and you'll be on,'' head pro Charles Packard said.
Why it's fun: The view from the tee is spectacular. "You can see the entire city of Las Vegas," Packard said. "It's breathtaking." It's also a hole that rewards good play.
R-J reader Brad Abbott: ''Very demanding through a desert canyon. Also, one of the most spectacular views of the Strip.''
HOLE NO. 12 AT ANGEL PARK (PALM COURSE) 220 YARDS, PAR 3
Why it's challenging: It has a lot of distance to cover for a par 3. A desert wash also is between the tee and the green, and while it usually doesn't come into play, if you duff your shot, it's a tough up-and-down.
Why it's fun: Dave Stead, the director of golf at Angel Park, said the hole is unique because of the big boulder that sits to the right of the green. "It adds some character to the hole," Stead said of the 10-foot-by-10-foot-by-10-foot rock. "If you get it on the green, it's an easy par.''
R-J reader Tom Incorvaia: ''About two years ago, after having been addicted to this great sport for almost 30 years, I made the turn even par. Parred 10, birded 11 and -- you guessed it -- aced 12.''
HOLE NO. 13 AT THE FALLS 388 YARDS, PAR 4
Why it's challenging: This hole is built into a mountain. It is a sharp dogleg to the right, and there's a big elevation drop from tee to green -- about 150 feet, according to John Herndon, the director of golf operations at Lake Las Vegas Resort. "You're up high, and you're shooting down, plus you can't see the green from the tee box," Herndon said.
Why it's fun: The green is nestled into a canyon area. "If you look to the mountains behind the green, you might catch a glimpse of a bighorn sheep, which is very cool," Herndon said.
R-J reader Larry Rose: ''The view is awesome and really gets your adrenalin going.''
HOLE NO. 14 AT HIGHLAND FALLS GOLF CLUB 206 YARDS, PAR 3
Why it's challenging: This hole is deceptive because it features a change of elevation of anywhere from 40 to 50 feet. That makes proper club selection imperative. "It can play as short as 180," Highland Falls golf pro Jim Neighbors said. "The other problem is the green slopes from right to left and back to front, so there's not much flat space to land the ball and keep it there."
Why it's fun: The view from the tee is amazing. The hole was designed to incorporate the mountains and downtown Las Vegas. Neighbors said at one time this was the highest elevated hole in town. But it still remains aesthetically pleasing. Also, there's the psychological impact of knowing you're traveling downhill.
R-J reader William Povilus: ''Tough par 3 with probably the most spectacular view of downtown Las Vegas and the Strip of any golf course hole in the Las Vegas Valley.''
HOLE NO. 15 AT LAS VEGAS PAIUTE (WOLF COURSE) 182 YARDS, PAR 3
Why it's challenging: Yet another island green that tries to replicate the 17th at TPC Sawgrass in Florida. That means a hole that is surrounded by water and lots of lost balls as a result. "We do get a lot of casualties down there," said Pat O'Hara, the general manager at Paiute. "Hale Irwin recently came out and played the hole, and he said the difference between our hole and No. 17 at Sawgrass is our green is bigger. But it's a tough green."
Why it's fun: It's a scenic hole with the water and the two sand traps that guard the green. "It's a bragging-rights kind of hole if you get your ball on and your buddies don't," O'Hara said.
R-J reader John Lapinski: ''Great par 3 with an island green surrounded by water.''
HOLE NO. 16 AT BALI HAI GOLF CLUB 141 YARDS, PAR 3
Why it's challenging: You've got an island green with water surrounding it. According to Mike Davis, Bali Hai's resident pro, that's enough to spook a scratch golfer, let alone a weekend hacker. "If you mis-hit it, you're in trouble," Davis said.
Why it's fun: "It's easier than it looks," Davis said. "The tee and green are fairly flat, and if you aim at the middle of the green, you'll have plenty of room. Also, our clubhouse is in the background of the hole so people can watch you play it. You can have your own gallery."
R-J reader Mike Clark: ''Beautiful view with the clubhouse patio in the background. Green is surrounded by three sides with water. Very challenging, especially when the pin placement is behind the sand.''
HOLE NO. 17 AT SHADOW CREEK GOLF CLUB 164 YARDS, PAR 3
Why it's challenging: Water, water everywhere. A big lake is in the front, and a waterfall in the back drops into a pool cascading into a creek. "It's an all-or-nothing hole," said Mark Brenneman, the general manager and PGA professional at Shadow Creek. "It plays downhill. There's no drop area. The green's the size of a postage stamp."
Why it's fun: "It's a very fair hole," Brenneman said. "It's not a bridge too far. You can be a 25-handicapper and make birdie, and you can be a scratch golfer and get an eight."
R-J reader Tim Ames: ''It is the most picturesque hole in Nevada. It also has the old dolphins from the Mirage buried there.''
HOLE NO. 18 AT REVERE AT ANTHEM (CONCORD COURSE) 520 YARDS, PAR 5
Why it's challenging: The closing hole has a dramatic drop in elevation -- some 300 yards -- once you clear the water, which is about a 140-yard carry from the tee. "It's a risk-reward scenario," said Bill Klemke, the head golf pro at Revere.
Why it's fun: Klemke calls No. 18 a "thinking man's hole." He said it requires proper club selection to get to the green. "A lot of people don't see an elevation drop like that," he said. "They wind up playing a guessing game as to which club to use."
R-J reader Lee Margulin: ''One of the more challenging finishes in Las Vegas.''