Just 20 minutes west from the Fabulous Las Vegas Strip, the Angel Park Golf Facility, billed as "the most complete golf experience" oversees the City of Entertainment. At an unofficial elevation of 2,800 feet, some 800 or so higher than the rest of the city, the two Arnold Palmer-designed 18-hole championship golf courses and a one-of-a-kind 12-hole lighted golf course (and the highly-acclaimed 18-hole putting course) provides a panoramic view of the Las Vegas skyline, Sunrise Mountain, the Black Mountains above Henderson and the Sheep Mountains north of the city. Along with a full-service golf operation, it maintains an ambiance that distinctively makes it one of Las Vegas's finest.
RED ROCK - The first leg of the journey (hole #1 through hole #5) takes the golfer in the direction of Red Rock and Spring Mountain ranges (e.g., Mt. Charleston). This stretch provides the golfer with a variety of tests to get started, including three par fours, the number one handicapped and only par five on the front nine - hole #2, and a deceiving downhill par three - hole #4.
To further gauge the golfers' abilities, the greens are an ever-present factor to the difficulty of this course. The golfer will be flirting with high stakes if he or she tries to edge-burn putts on these fast surfaces. Unlike more forgiving greens, these truly can cause the golfer an extra 10-15 strokes per round if one is complacent! The greens with angular surfaces require the utmost concentration, technique and luck to every putt. Remember when you play here, you will test your mettle against the most intriguing putting a golfer will experience and don't forget where the Stratosphere is at all times!
Golfers who have played the Mountain Course will point out many of the idiosyncrasies of this gorgeous, but demanding layout. For example, take the easy looking; par three, 136-yard (from the blues), hole #4. As you stand on this elevated tee off box, you are observing a short hole with a slightly elevated green above the fairway. It appears as if a 100-yard club will be plenty to reach the green. But, the golfer will soon discover that the true distance here is misleading as it plays every bit as long as the scorecard reads, regardless of the downhill shot. This is due to the terrain. If you analyze the behavior of ball flight, you may come to the following conclusion, "the opposite of what the golfer thinks happens, really does happen." That is, when hitting the ball away from the Stratosphere you are going against gravity with no exceptions to this rule, including level or downhill topography. This phenomenon requires a calculation of extra yardage into the shot and a firmer putting stroke while proceeding in the westerly direction.
Lakes, sand traps and desert landscaped ravines lace most of the holes of the Mountain Course with many of the animal residents such as rabbits to name a few, enjoying the natural surroundings. Although it is not referred to as a "target-style" golf course, many of the characteristics of target golf are apparent. This keeps the golfer focused on maintaining straight and long drives, rewarded by short to medium approach shots to reach the greens in regulation. Hole #11, a short par three, 133-yard test over a small gully is a fun hole for golfers of all levels. Although it is short and the green is approximately the same elevation as the tee box, hitting your ball over the vastness of the stark gully to a small target area is quite thrilling. Here, the green is short in depth and long in width. Pin placement to either side of the green can make for long and temperamental putts. Here, the golfer deserves recognition for a par!
The use of all golf clubs in the bag is needed on the Mountain Course, including ball flight approaches from the left and right. The course will test more of the one's ability than time can usually allow for practicing. The signature hole of the course is hole #17, a par five, 529-yarder which requires low and high handicappers alike to lay-up their drives before the large, barranca-like ravine begins its extent some 180 yards across.
On the second shot which is probably a fairway wood, and before allowing your ball to land safely on the other side of the fairway, remember to stay to the furthest right as possible so the steep angles and tilting land cannot swallow a good shot! All arrant golf shots in the arroyo-like ravines are a one-stroke penalty, whether or not you find your ball. The fairways are beautifully manicured and the roughs are fair, allowing the golfer some gratitude, but not completely. Much of the rough can reside on severe angles too. Although they are usually cut to allow the club good access to the ball, many shots from the rough are positioned on slopes which makes for the calculation of a draw and fade ever so more important.
Angel Park is considered a heavily played facility and it is open seven days a week. It is one of the most popular golf destinations in the area for both locals and tourists alike. The green fees are very reasonable for locals ($50.00) who do not need to wait for afternoon rates like other quality Las Vegas golf settings.
The Angel Park Golf Facility is managed by OB Sports Golf Management and the staff are professional in offering the best in tournaments, group events and corporate outings, including PGA-accredited instructional programs, catering, tournament scoring and tee prizes. The Golf Shop carries a wide selection of name-brand equipment, apparel and accessories. Regularly voted, "best of Las Vegas," this is a facility that is affordable for locals, but enticing enough to bring your out-of-town guests. Contacts: Kris Strauss, Director of Sales & Marketing (702) 254-0564, Penny Lovell or Barb O'Connor, Food & Beverage Event Coordinators (702) 254-3250, and the entire staff who demonstrated the utmost professionalism at (702) 888-4-GOLFLV.
By Mel Barosay, Jetsetters Magazine Golf Correspondent.