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Las Vegas National Golf Club

Las Vegas National Golf Club in Las Vegas, NV

Las Vegas National pro shop
The practice green and the pro shop

The Stats

Tee Time: April 19, 2013, 12:40, 76 F, Light wind

Designer: Bert Stamps (1961)

Playing Partners: Mike and Garrett

Tees: Professional, Par 71 (73.5 rating/137 slope/6,721 yards)

Course Handicap: 15 (12.2 index)

Stats: 87 (48-39); 27 putts; 4/13 fairways; 2/18 greens; 2 penalty strokes

The Course

Las Vegas National Hole 17 green
The chip up to the green at 17

I’ll just start this by saying that Las Vegas National Golf Club is awesome. Not only are the grounds steeped in over a half-century of Las Vegas history, but to this day the atmosphere still feels like it’s stuck in the 1960s. It probably would have been better to have an old Kodak film camera to log this round and maybe some persimmon woods to knock around. But at more than 6,700 yards for this par 71, I’ll take advantage of today’s NASA-engineered, 460cc titanium drivers and ultra-forgiving cavity-back irons, because half of the par 3’s come in at more than 200 yards and I’m no Lee Trevino with a 1-iron. In many ways it feels that time has passed this place by, but it takes nothing away from the experience. This is the site of Tiger Woods’ first career PGA Tour victory, the 1996 Las Vegas Invitational (one can only guess what he did with those showgirls afterward…) It’s even crazier to think that it is because of Tiger Woods that the PGA Tour will probably never return here. Within six months of that first victory, Tiger put up his landmark performance at the 1997 Masters. The carnage was so great that the hallowed course in Augusta underwent massive changes to toughen the place up, giving rise to the era of “Tiger-proofing.” Golf soared in popularity. When Tiger won that ’96 Invitational he took home $297,000. The event’s winner in 2012, Ryan Moore, pocketed $810,000. New courses (most of them cookie-cutter) sprouted up like weeds after a spring rain and the equipment industry put so many springboard drivers and rocket golf balls on the market that classics like Las Vegas National got left behind. Just 16 years later, a tour pro would tear this place up, but it is still a great challenge and very refreshing when compared to all the modern course styles in golf today. Continue reading Las Vegas National Golf Club