Las Vegas National Golf Club, located less than 10 minutes from the world famous Las Vegas Strip, is a classic and traditional style 18-hole championship golf course that provides golfers of all skill levels with a unique challenge and a fun,enjoyable experience. The par 71 course features thousands of trees, well positioned sand bunkers and a few water hazards that protect lush fairways and manicured greens.
“The National”, designed in 1961 by architect Bert Stamps, has a rich history to say the least. The course hosted a number of LPGA & PGA events including the Tournament of Champions, Sahara Invitational and the Las Vegas Invitational. In fact, Tiger Woods played Las Vegas National Golf in 1996 on his way to capturing his very first PGA Tour victory and carded a 1-under par 70 (his highest of the tournament).
The course itself is quite challenging. It is not overly long from the tips (6815) but water hazards on 10 holes, numerous doglegs, and 66 sand bunkers make the layout difficult, especially for mid (or white) tee players (6418 yards). The fairways are generally tree-lined, placing a premium on both accuracy and distance. This is especially true on the front nine, with 3 of the par fours playing at over 410 yards from the middle tees. Often, the approaches are to elevated greens with deep bunkers posing as bodyguards.
The Course at Las Vegas National Golf :
The opening hole is a long and demanding par five. It is open off the tee, but requires accuracy on the second and third shots. The approach is uphill to a gorgeous green complex, with a pond to the right, and deep bunkers short on both sides of the green.
The long par four second bends to the right with a tree-lined fairway making for a narrow approach. A pretty par three follows. It plays long to an elevated green complex and is quite tight. There is a creek running the length of the hole on the par 5 fourth. This is a tight driving hole that doglegs left at the 150 marker. Most golfers will need 3 accurate shots to reach here. Number five calls for a tee shot over a creek and a shot shape that bends to the right. Trees and fairway bunkers make this hole a challenge.
The sixth is the number 1 handicap – a long dogleg left par four. The approach is open, but bunkers in front of and behind the green warrant considerable attention. A narrow tree-lined fairway will greet you off the seventh tee. Deep bunkers surround the green, but there is bail out room long right. The putting surface is sloped back to front on the long par 3 eighth, so be aware of the pin placement (which is indicated by color-coded flags). A pond short right encourages approaches from the left side. Bunkers line the right side of the fairway on the closing hole of the front. It plays open off the tee, but demands accuracy on the approach to avoid the bunkers short and long.
The backside is noticeably shorter, although the 3 par threes beg to differ. They play 182, 230 and 222 from the tips. Number ten is wide open off the tee, with a deep greenside bunker on the left the main obstacle to a good score. The easiest of the par threes follows. Take advantage here, as this is one of the best birdie opportunities on the course. Next up is the number two handicap. There is water right off the tee, and the approach plays uphill making the hole longer than advertised. Water right encourages a lay up off the tee on number 13. Aim just left and past the 150 for the best approach here.
The 14th is a long and tight par three (218 from the mid tees) with bunkers short right and deep left. There is a bit of room on both sides, and the green is very putt-able. The 15th is a long dogleg left par five with a water hazard on the right side of the fairway. The approach narrows to a beautiful green complex, with well defined bunkers on both sides.
The par 3, 16th plays over a creek to a tight, elevated green. Take enough club here as the putting surface is large and there is a little room long. Seventeen plays uphill all the way, with an intimidating green featuring a deep bunker front right and another one ready to engulf anything hit long. Water right and trees left make the finishing hole a challenge off the tee. It bends to the right, but cannot be cut off, as the hazard runs close to the green area on that side. An accurate lay up to the left side of the 150-yard stake will afford the cleanest approach here. Again, a deep bunker fronts the green, setting the stage for a high, soft approach. This is the signature shot of Las Vegas National Golf, which you will have to successfully negotiate if you are going to score well. Get it over the bunker, but keep it on the green. The soft poa grass helps to hold the greens on these types of shots
Las Vegas National Golf is a traditional layout, providing a nice respite from the many desert courses in the area.
“As you pull into the lot at Las Vegas National, the sense of the sixties is evident in the rectangular pastel colored stucco clubhouse that might have seemed modernistic back then, but now is a charming reminder of an architecturally dated style,” TravelGolf.com writer Doug Saunders said.