Badlands Golf Club

With the positive winds of change swirling around one of the most popular golf courses in the Las Vegas area, it’s a good time to experience the Badlands Golf Club.


Emerging from an extensive collection of renovation projects geared to improve t e playability, conditioning and challenge of the golf course, Badlands has re-emerged as one of the most spectacular golf courses in an area full of memorable ones.

In fact, just about every area of the Johnny Miller-designed course enjoyed improvements. Greens were rebuilt, bunkers were improved, tee boxes were enlarged and drainage throughout the desert layout was improved. The end result is a course that now enjoys the conditioning and playability worthy of its impressive design and stunning views of the Southern Nevada landscape.


Set hard against the red rock canyons in Summerlin, Badlands features 27 exquisite golf holes that take full advantage of the beautiful surroundings and Miller’s depth of knowledge gleaned from decades on the PGA TOUR. The layout includes three complementing nines, the Outlaw, Desperado and Diablo courses. Fitting names for 27 holes of golf that are as wild as the West itself.


And just as it was when it opened years ago, the Badlands course, located in Summerlin, has been returned to glory following the improvements that will all be completed by the end of the year.


Already completed and perhaps the most significant of those improvements is the work done on the greens on two of the course’s three nine hole layouts. The putting surfaces on both the Outlaw and Desperado greens were removed and replaced with Champion Bermuda, which will improve putting conditions while helping the greens remain resistant to the dry desert heat.


Also recently completed were improvements to all 65 of Badlands sand bunkers. The liner on every bunker was changed to clay and every trap was filled with PGA quality sand. The end result for those unlucky to find these strategically placed traps are improved drainage for more consistent conditions.


In addition to those significant improvements, the course restoration included the removal of some and the enlarging of other strategic tee boxes throughout each of the nine-hole layouts. Completion of the tee box improvements is expected by the middle of November.


Finally, the installation of new drainage throughout the course will ensure both the conditioning and playability of Badlands for years to come.


To be sure, Miller took full advantage of some of the most visually appealing terrain in the American Southwest. On every tee shot, approach and even putt, the depth and extent of Miller’s design expertise is evident. It’s an insight that was forged through years of competing on some of the finest golf courses in the world and influenced by his flair for improvisation and shot making on the golf course. Never the longest hitter on the PGA TOUR, Miller more than made up for his average length with creativity, courage and imagination. From the first drive to the final putt, all three of these attributes are required at Badlands Golf Club. With several sets of tees, Miller allows golfers to choose a length that fits their game, but the strength in this course comes in the unique challenges that lie between the tee box and the green. Accuracy and imagination, and not brute strength, are the calling cards for success at Badlands. The course has a long history of national acclaim, including a place on the Golf Digest’s list of the Top 10 courses in Nevada and distinction as the Best in Las Vegas in the 1997 Las Vegas Review-Journal reader’s poll.


Like many courses that are better played with sense rather than strength, the true challenge of Badlands is defined by its par-5s and long par-4s, and all three nines have at least two of each in its arsenal.


Although at 3,363 yards it’s only the second longest, Desperado is widely considered the toughest of Badlands three nines. Desperado is highlighted by its finishing hole, the 541-yard par-5 ninth hole. Though reachable in two by long hitters, the ninth is better described as an exercise in course management. Those with no hope in getting home in two, must navigate a tight fairway with their second shot, hoping to avoid a grass-bunker that resides at the dogleg-right and a natural waste area that runs the entire left of the hole. One misstep or wayward shot on this hole and you’ll quickly discover the source of its nickname, “Terminator.”


Like Desperado, the Diablo nine is highlighted by a demanding par-5. Nicknamed “Boot Hill,” the 551-yard 17th hole plays from one island of emerald green to another. Although it features only three bunkers, there are no bail out areas on “Boot Hill,” as the surrounding natural desert terrain demands pinpoint accuracy from tee to green. With the needle-tipped Stratosphere Hotel serving as the backdrop, golfers are faced with three accurate tee shots to survive this hole. The temptation is to hit it long, but hitting it straight is a far more important strategy.


The newer of the Badlands nines, Outlaw offers a bit of a reprieve with much wider fairways and more rough separating golfers from the desert surroundings. With more room to play with and less severe mounding prevalent, golfers can be far more aggressive off the tee on Outlaw.


On a nine full of signature holes, Outlaw is highlighted by nine demanding 222-yard par-3, which requires a steady tee shot over grasslands to a smallish green.


In addition to being a great place to test your golf game, Badlands is also the perfect place to improve upon it. The course is home to the Nike Golf Learning Center, which offers a wide variety of junior, adult and family programs. The center features a unique Tee it Up Lesson Series that offers five levels of instruction to meet the needs of any golfer. Badlands is also home to the Ken Venturi Golf Academy, which offers “Stroke Savers” a program that will almost instantly improve your game and shave strokes off your score.


Tee times are precious at this popular course, so book early in your trip to Las Vegas. Rates run from a low of $55 to a high of $190 depending on the season. Golf club information and tee times can be accessed via the Internet at www.badlandsgc.com or by calling 702 363-0754.

 

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