This past spring, my golfguy and I spent 5 days in Las Vegas, playing golf at a different club every day (Angel Park Palm, Boulder Creek, Revere, Angel Park Mountain and Legacy). We had some interesting experiences, some bad experiences and some really memorable ones. Today was one of the memorable ones because it was just sooo “nice”.
“Nice” seems like an overused flat word in our everyday lives, but when you spend 5 hours on a golf course playing really poor golf and and are able to smile at the end of it over a cold beer (or champagne in my case), and say, “Wow, that was really nice,” then you know you’ve had a great day on the links.
Today, we played Angel Park Mountain Course and as Goldilocks would say, “It was just right.”
Angel Park is a public golf club just 15 minutes north of the Las Vegas Strip. At almost 3000 feet in elevation, it offers nice views of the Red Rock Canyon and the Las Vegas Valley. It boasts 2 “playable” Arnold Palmer golf courses (Palm and Mountain) and a unique lighted par 3 course called Cloud Nine and an even more interesting natural grass putting green known as Seventh Heaven. It is really cool to see all the people (kids and adults alike) play 18 holes of mini-putt – championship style.
A lighted driving range is available with grass tees, a chipping area and a large practice green. Practice balls were included in our $115 green fees.
According to its website, “Angel Park has been the recipient of several awards, including the accolade of Best Golf Course in Las Vegas in the “Best of Las Vegas”, Las Vegas Review Journal Readers Poll (11 out of the past 12 years) and “Favorite Golf Course” in Las Vegas by visiting golfers (as nominated by What’s On Magazine Visitor Choice Awards). In addition, the Golf Shop at Angel Park has been selected as a “Top 100 Golf Shop in the Country” by Golf World Business for the past two years in a row!”
Okay…so that’s what you can read on its website, but what is it really like to play from a duffer’s perspective (yup…that would be me ;))?
Although it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles like GPS systems on carts, the Angel Park staff understand customer service and deliver it well. The golf shop was very accommodating to our last minute request for an earlier tee time (and they were busy, so it wasn’t all that easy for them to help us). They lent us their sharpie to mark our balls when we lost ours and were just really friendly.
We had two people serving us in the bar/restaurant making sure everything was just right for our breakfast, which was very tasty and very affordable (although their coffee maker could take a lesson from Starbucks).
The outdoor patio is lovely with views of waterfalls and gardens. I wish we had had more time to spend just relaxing on it enjoying the weather and the views.
You get bottled water and ice in the cooler on your electric cart and wet towels to clean your clubs.
The starter was very friendly and almost playful, chatting us up while we waited for our tee time; he even remembered us from the last time we played, which impressed me.
But the thing that made playing the Mountain Course at Angel Park so enjoyable was the design of the course and the company we enjoyed along the way.
Let’s talk about the course…
First and foremost, there is a perfectly placed snack bar and air conditioned bathroom that serves both the front and back nines. Never underestimate how important these facilities are for golfgals. We hate portapotties! If a course only offers those, then most ladies I know will chose a different club.
The Mountain Course is fair – very Arnie-like with well placed bunkers. And it has some challenges in the areas where nature rules (we were in there a few times and learned to respect Mother Nature and her nettles). I love courses like that. If you play well, you score well. If you play poorly, then order more beer from the cartgal and forget your score. Just have fun.
I love the natural elements of desert golf – AKA NO HOUSES! I hate playing in someone’s backyard. Angel Park has a rugged beauty that brings golf and nature together in a very peaceful way. I don’t remember ever hearing traffic.
Here are a few holes that give you a feel for the views and design of the course.
The third hole is only 257 yards long and looked so easy. But alas…not for me. I have the problem of unrealistic expectations when it comes to short holes. I have to get over that and remember that 70% of all shots are 100 yards or less. Man…did I have problems with my irons today!
The 4th hole – a pretty par 3, which I didn’t – sniff…
Number 9 started so well with a drive off the tee over the water and that bounced along in the rough on the left. I thought I was home free.
Unfortunately, the rough, which was rough, had other ideas. Say no more…on the to the back nine…
The 15th hole is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Look how easy this hole looks – straight line to the pin – 130 yards – no problem right?
Right…until you realize that the good news is – you’re on the green – and the bad news is – you’re on the green.
I was so proud to land on the dance floor just 20 feet above the hole. Par was in my future. Until I saw that the downhill putt I had to face would scare off an Olympic skier. Man…that green and pin placement were both brutal!
Speaking of greens, the Mountain Course greens had recently been aerated, which made them a bit bumpy. However they were still very fast, at least to our standards. They looked in rough shape as well – perhaps global warming is playing havoc with them. But the Palm Course greens were quite good as well as the practice greens, so I am sure the Mountain Course greens will improve with their recent aerating. However, I think the next time I book a course I don’t know, I’ll ask about the aerating schedule so I don’t get caught inside a maintenance cycle.
On to the last memorable hole…the par 5 17th, where ladies only received a 19 yard advantage on a 508 yard hole. Hmmm….not too golfgal friendly for my books. It was one of those risk/reward holes and I was feeling bold, so my risks got me two unplayable rewards and I was wishing it was Miller Time.
Well, now you’ve seen a bit of the course and facilities and I hope you will give Angel Park a try. I know that we’ll go back.
But there is so much more to golf than the grass, sand, sundries and scenery. When you have to play 4-5 hours of an ego-bruising sport like golf, it’s nice to play with people you like and who will keep you entertained between shots. Occasionally you get stuck with flat bellies with too much Y chromosome and not enough X – you know, those Neanderthals who think women should be serving them in the clubhouse and not out playing with them on the course.
In the past few days I’ve played with some real jerks – you know the type – the ones who forget you’re still off the green when they pull the flag to putt. They are the same ones who take off in their carts to find their ball when you haven’t even reached the forward tees to hit your first shot. Yup…we had those this week.
But…today was not one of those days. Today Charles and I had the great pleasure to play with two very entertaining retired air force gentlemen who were “the real thing”.
Paul from Las Vegas and Pete from Virginia are great golfguys. No matter what shot was hit or putt missed, they laughed and enjoyed every minute of the day. They had terrific attitudes – enjoying the moment and not worrying about anything – even the slow pace of play.
Charles and I want to thank Paul and Pete for a truly enjoyable afternoon. You both taught us the value of friendship and not taking golf too seriously.
Whenever you are in Vancouver, we’d love to share our city with you and your wives and let you see what it’s like to play golf in 75 degree weather next to the ocean as you look up to the wonder of majestic mountains capped with glistening snow. You have my card…don’t hesitate to use it.