Actor Bill Murray has worn his golf overalls and danced with the gallery at the PGA Tour’s AT&T Pebble Beach pro-am. The tour pros have played historic Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles.
That can mean only one thing: The West Coast segment of the PGA Tour schedule is in the record books, thus signaling that golf is in full swing.
As in previous years, Las Vegas is well represented on the pro tours. No fewer than 30 players with strong ties to Southern Nevada are playing on the PGA Tour, PGA Tour Champions, LPGA Tour, Web.com Tour or LPGA Symetra Tour.
Local golf historian and writer Jack Sheehan has had a front-row seat in the Las Vegas gallery for several decades.
“Las Vegas has become both a home base and a breeding ground for tour players, and it has been fun to watch,” Sheehan said. “There are several factors for this in addition to the obvious of 300 days of sunshine and no state income taxes. The number of quality courses and practice facilities, primarily the PGA Tour TPC courses, probably leads the list. But the UNLV men’s and women’s golf teams consistently performing at high levels is another. Keeping the PGA Tour here for 35 straight years is another, and the list would be incomplete without mentioning Butch Harmon, the world’s top instructor, making Las Vegas his home base.”
Charley Hoffman, a longtime Las Vegas resident who was a member of the 1998 UNLV national championship team, has enjoyed a successful career but says he never sets goals.
“I’ve always believed playing quality golf will take care of everything on the golf course,” he said. “So first off, I need to make the cut and put myself in situations to win. The more opportunities I have to win, obviously, I increase my chances. And everything comes along with winning like qualifying for President Cup and Ryder Cup events.”
CHICK EVANS ACADEMY
Several locals continue to work to bring the Chick Evans caddie program to Southern Nevada, but there is still a way for youngsters to get involved in the meantime. Applications are being accepted through February for the Western Golf Association summer caddie academy in Chicago.
The academy focuses on female high school golfers, and the Evans caddie program helps boys and girls get into golf through caddying. Being involved in either can lead to full-ride college scholarships.
Interested course directors, high school coaches or parents may contact Jack Todd at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
DEAL OF THE WEEK
Play Arroyo and Siena plus become a Southern Nevada Golf Association member for $96 by visiting SNGA.org.
STARS ON, OFF COURSE
Troy Denton, a former UNLV golfer and current swing coach of Ryan Moore, was named instructor of the year by the North Texas chapter of the PGA.
The golf notebook appears Thursdays. Freelance writer Brian Hurlburt is a two-time author who has covered golf in Las Vegas for more than two decades. He can be reached at email@example.com or @LVGolfInsider.
Thursday: SNGA Tour, Desert Pines
Sunday: Golf Channel Tour Arroyo Invitational, Red Rock Country Club
Sunday-Thursday: Las Vegas World Amateur, Las Vegas Paiute
Monday, Tuesday: UNLV men’s golf at National Invitational, Tucson, Ariz.
Monday, Tuesday: UNLV women’s golf at Houston Invitational
March 3: USA Rugby Sevens Charity Golf Scrumble, Las Vegas Country Club
March 4, 5: Recruit Look Junior Las Vegas Championship, Las Vegas Golf Club
March 6, 7: Nevada State Women’s Partner, Anthem Country Club
March 6-8: Bucknell Battle, Boulder Creek
March 6-8: UNLV men’s golf at Southern Highlands Collegiate, Southern Highlands
March 10, 11: UNLV men’s golf at Jackrabbit Invitational, Siena
March 10-12: UNLV women’s golf at Mountain View Invitational, Tucson, Ariz.
March 11, 12: SNGA Summerlin Amateur, Golf Summerlin
March 18, 19: UNLV men’s golf at the Thunderbird, Tempe, Ariz.
March 22: Women’s SNGA Mountain Falls Fun Day, Mountain Falls
March 25: Golf Channel Spring Classic, Highland Falls
March 25, 26: Recruit Look Junior North Las Vegas, Aliante
March 26, 27: Golf to a Cure Golf Classic, DragonRidge
March 29: SNGA Tour, Wildhorse
April 1, 2: SNGA Sunrise Throwback, Club at Sunrise
April 4: UNLV RAF Scholarship Golf Classic, Southern Highlands
April 5: Women’s SNGA, Desert Willow
April 11, 12: Recruit Look Boulder City Junior Championship, Boulder City Golf Club
April 15: Golf Channel March on Concord, Revere
April 19: UNLV Football Foundation Tournament, Spanish Trail
April 19: Women’s SNGA Black Mountain Invitational, Black Mountain
April 19-22: Derek Jeter Invitational, Shadow Creek
April 28: SNGA Tour, Desert Willow
May 6, 7: Southern Nevada Junior Golf Nye Classic, Mountain Falls
May 19: U.S. Golf Classic Qualifier, Royal Links
May 20, 21: IMG Junior World Qualifier, Wildhorse
June 13: HELP of Southern Nevada Golfer’s Roundup, Cascata