Hosting an event for any of professional golf’s three major tours is often a telltale sign of whether a region is truly a sought-after golf destination.
So the fact that over the years, Las Vegas has been home to PGA, LPGA and Champions tour events surely gives the city a high rating among tourists seeking golf opportunities.
Although the region no longer hosts the LPGA or Champions tours, it maintains a long-running history with the PGA Tour, and with an event — the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open — that continues to gain in status.
“It certainly speaks to Las Vegas as a destination for those who enjoy golf and travel, from a tourism standpoint,” said Adam Sperling, director of the Shriners tournament. “With so much to do in Las Vegas, and golf taking only four to five hours out of a day, I think it speaks to the variety of options here and the variety of golf courses here.”
As Sperling sees it, the PGA Tour is one part of a rising tide that lifts all boats when it comes to golf in Southern Nevada.
“Anything that’s good for the game at one level is good for the game at all levels,” he said. “It’s good for the PGA Tour to be here, and it’s good for Las Vegas golf. The more golf, the merrier, and the better golf, the merrier.
“Having the world’s best golfers here every year is better, too.”
Southern Nevada has no shortage of courses that would appeal to the golfing tourist, with high-level resort experiences available all over the region.
Whether it’s getting in a round at TPC Summerlin, which hosts the PGA Tour event, or its TPC Las Vegas sister, “There are not a lot of towns that can boast of having two TPC courses,” Sperling said. Add to that list Shadow Creek in North Las Vegas, The Wynn off the Strip, Bali Hai at the south end of the Strip, Rio Secco and Lake Las Vegas in Henderson or Cascata in Boulder City, to name just a few — giving golf enthusiasts their choice of a variety of challenging, scenic layouts.
“There are so many opportunities,” said Sperling, noting that plenty of pro golfers play those courses. “You can play quality courses that a lot of pros play, if they can’t fit in a round at Summerlin.”
The region has become a bit of a pro golfer’s haven, and that burnishes Las Vegas’ credentials to tourists.
“Look at the number of PGA Tour players making Las Vegas their home,” said Sperling, rattling off a handful of names, including Kevin Na, former UNLV standout Ryan Moore and Bonanza High product Scott Piercy. “That further demonstrates to tourists Las Vegas’ commitment to golf.”
One factor that certainly can’t be overlooked in drawing golfers to Las Vegas is the weather. There’s rarely a day when you can’t golf, if you’re motivated enough, and there are huge swaths of the country where that can’t be said.
“The fact is that you can play golf year-round. In New York, the golf season is about four months long,” Sperling said. “And as somebody who lives here, I can tell you that the golf changes year-round. With winds or the heat, the ball travels differently.
“It’s always a great time to come to Las Vegas, and to come at different times of the year and play in different conditions is great, too. The courses don’t play the same in May as they do in August or as they do in December.”