November in Vegas, Part 1: Having Fun in Henderson

I spent this weekend in Las Vegas and had a real good time out there with lots and lots of golf crammed into a few short days. Day 1 found me in Henderson (just south of Vegas proper) for some great golf with buddies through Greenskeeper.org.

The Legacy Golf Club • Henderson, NV • 11/8/13

This was the warm-up round for the first day and it was a pretty good choice. I played with one other friend and we didn’t want anything too expensive. Also, it made sense to play somewhere in Henderson because of the afternoon round we already had planned over at Revere.

I was able to use my OB Sports card and get a $49 rate on The Legacy, which was a good deal. I felt this course was definitely worth that price, which is pretty inexpensive by Vegas standards this time of year. As all the courses come out of overseeing in September, they have a small little peak season in late October/early November where conditions are generally good and the weather is nice. Once the harsh winter hits in the desert, though, golf becomes a less-desirable activity in Sin City.

Speaking of the weather, it was absolutely perfect all weekend. Low 50s in the morning and a tad chilly, but it warmed up quickly once the sun came up over the mountains and never got higher than the mid-70s the whole time I was there. It was really, really nice!

We had a 6:48 time at The Legacy and ended up second off the tee, paired with another twosome. They were regular players here, so it helped when they shared some local knowledge on a few of the trickier holes. We finished in just under four hours, so it was a great early morning pace.

Most of this course is pretty straightforward. There are a few tee shots where it pays to know the best aiming spots, but mostly it’s right out in front of you. It’s not the most difficult course you’ll play, but there’s more than enough challenge to keep you on your toes. It’s in a nice residential neighborhood with homes all around the course, but they don’t detract too much from the scenery. You get a few nice views of Vegas in the distance along with the surrounding mountains.

The Legacy doesn’t feature any significant changes in elevation. There is some nice contour around the greens and fairways in the form of small “shelves” and mounds. It was designed by Arthur Hills, so it does have some pedigree.

The signature hole at The Legacy is the par-3 10th. The hole itself isn’t anything too dramatic, but it features some unique tee boxes. Each one is in the shape of a different playing card suit. A spade is the back black tee, a club is the blue tee, a diamond is the white tee and a heart is the red ladies tee. It’s a cool little gimmick, but unfortunately you don’t really get a great view of them from ground level. I was able to climb up onto a green of a neighboring hole for a photo that shows the shapes a little better. Still, not as dynamic as you’d hope.

Before playing here, I was under the mistaken impression that all the tee boxes throughout the course were in the same shapes. At the very least, they should use the corresponding suit on the other tee box markers and just name them spades, clubs, diamonds and hearts on the scorecard rather than boring old black, blue, white and red. If you’re going to have a gimmick, run with it.

I also forgot until well after playing there that holes 11-13 were known as the “Devil’s Triangle.” I guess they are supposed to be special and extra diabolical, but I don’t remember that stretch being any more difficult or interesting than the rest of the course.

Sorry to bash on the marketing of this course. I do applaud them for trying to pump up a few interesting gimmicks because it won’t be the most interesting course you play in Vegas. That said, it is solid on every level and I enjoyed it more than enough, so I wouldn’t have any problem recommending this course to someone as one of the more affordable options in town.

The course was also in good overall shape, so kudos to the maintenance staff. It was probably the “greenest” looking course I played all weekend so the pictures came out well. There were a few little problem areas here and there (more thin areas on the back nine it seemed), but mostly very green and lush throughout tee boxes, fairways and rough after what looks like a pretty good overseed this year. The greens were a tad too firm and rolling somewhat slow (especially early when wet), but the surfaces were pretty smooth. The bunkers were really damp and seemed way to thin/firm, so that was easily the weakest element.

My review is a little up and down, but outside of the marketing gimmicks, I found The Legacy to be a good course in an area where golf standards are set pretty high. It’s definitely a big step up than most things we’re used to in Southern California, but by Vegas standards it’s somewhere in the middle of the pack. Or should I say middle of the deck?

Some pictures from The Legacy Golf Club (11/8/13):

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Best picture of the 10th suited tee boxes I could get is shown below. Probably looks cool from a helicopter, but not as exciting from ground level.image

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In the afternoon, we headed just down the road for the main event round of the day…

The Revere Golf Club (Lexington) • Henderson, NV • 11/8/13

This round was the main excuse for the trip as some other GKers (Greenskeeper.org members) had decided to get together and use up their free twosome certificates here. This has been a big raffle prize at GK events the past couple of years, so there were a number of them still out there and it was a great idea to plan a big visit to the course.

I didn’t have one of the certs myself, but I was able to mooch my way into the group, which meant we had a two full foursomes all getting to play this great course for free! Very cool.

We teed off around noon and were done just before dark, so the timing worked out well. It seemed everyone had a good time, even if the course had its way with most of us. This is a very challenging layout that never really lets up. It’s a real roller coaster, and that’s part of what makes it so fun.

Almost every tee box on the Lexington course is elevated with the fairway running out below. Not only does it provide some spectacular views of the city and mountains in the distance, but it offers a nice perspective on each hole in front of you. Well, that’s the case on most holes. Then there are a few uncomfortable beasts like 10 and 11, where it’s really hard to tell where you need to hit. Just swing and pray!

What goes down must come up. That means many greens are elevated, as well. It makes judging your distance on approach shots very tricky. And if you miss a green, you are likely left with an unpleasant recovery shot. Thick rough, deep bunkers and severely sloped hills guard most every green and getting up and down is a feat that will put all your skills (and your patience) to the test. The greens themselves are no picnic either, with some major undulation to contend with.

Along the fairways, there are many sloped side-hills. Sometimes they can help you and other times they can send your ball careening off into trouble. Designers Billy Casper and Greg Nash laid out a really beautiful, yet extremely challenging course. Like any good roller coaster, you just have to strap yourself in and enjoy the ride for what it is.

I think with enough local knowledge and good ball striking, a decent score can be posted here. For us first-time players (and even those playing it for a second or third time in our group), it is definitely a disadvantage not knowing the best strategies for each hole.

I thought the conditions were good overall. There were some spots where the overseed didn’t quite take as nicely. Otherwise, it was mostly nice in the fairways. The rough was fairly deep and nasty in most places. I did take notice of some thin patches on a handful of greens. They got a little too bumpy toward the end of the day, but the speeds were nice. I was in a few bunkers. The first couple were not good at all (lots of pebbles and very thin top layer of sand) and the third one was pretty good. Ironically, I hit great shots out of the bad bunkers and a terrible shot out of the good one!

All in all, it was a very memorable round at Revere. I know the Concord course isn’t supposed to be as nice or dramatic as Lexington, but I’m sure I’ll be back at some point to check that one out, as well. If you want a good challenge (along with some spectacular scenery), check out Revere’s Lexington course and test your mettle.

Some pictures from The Revere Golf Club (Lexington) (11/8/13):

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