When Garry Goett peered out on an undeveloped piece of barren property in southwest Las Vegas, he envisioned the final product of a world-renowned private golf club and a living community.
One thing he didn’t foresee was the building of Southern Highlands would lead to an induction into the Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame in 2019. Goett was enshrined Sept. 28 at TPC Summerlin to kick off the PGA Tour’s Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, which was won by Kevin Na, a Southern Highlands member and resident.
Other inductees were Kim Dolan, a top PGA of America teaching professional; Christina Hixson, a philanthropist who helped support the UNLV men’s golf team that won the 1998 NCAA title; Sue May, the leading Southern Nevada Golf Association rules official; and Don Welch, the late PGA of America golf professional who helped organize the PGA Tour’s Tournament of Champions in the 1960s.
“This was a totally unexpected honor for me, and I am humbled to go into the Hall of Fame with all of these deserving people,” Goett said. “Our main priority at Olympia Cos. has always been great quality and great people, and I accept this recognition on behalf of everyone who made this possible and also for all of our wonderful residents and members.”
To say Goett and his partners at Olympia Cos. were met with some skepticism when the vision for Southern Highlands was revealed in the late ’90s is an understatement, but since opening in 1999, the club and community have become a cherished part of the region.
The community is home to thousands, and the course has hosted the PGA Tour and also the Southern Highlands Collegiate, the home tournament of the UNLV men’s golf team and one of America’s top college tournaments. The club also serves as the home course for UNLV.
“Garry is a developer, and he is a visionary,” said Chris Armstrong, vice president of Olympia Cos. “He has done tremendous things for the golf and development communities here in Southern Nevada. He has a high drive and is very motivated by doing things that are cutting edge and creative. It’s interesting to think back to when he was planning Southern Highlands. It was in the in middle of nowhere, and people said to Garry: ‘Garry, what are you doing? Nobody is going to come.’”
But come they did, and as the founder of Olympia Cos., Goett spearheaded the project and enticed two golf architect legends to design the layout. Southern Highlands was the final joint project by architect Robert Trent Jones and his son, Robert Trent Jones Jr., and one of only four the two designed together.
Southern Highlands has been the backdrop for charitable events, including the annual Governor’s Black Tie Invitational, with more than $20 million being raised for charities and organizations, including the development and building of the $8.5 million Southern Highlands Boys and Girls Club.