Desert Pines and The Mirage

Desert Pines and The Mirage

Golfers who want to get in a round on a trip to Las Vegas need look no farther than Walters Golf to fulfill this need. Desert Pines Golf Club, part of the Walters collection, gives players the flavor of the Carolinas and is very close to the Strip. The Mirage Hotel is an excellent choice for lodging and has a great location.

The golf

Desert Pines is just 15 minutes from the heart of the Las Vegas Strip and even closer to downtown. The course is meant to be reminiscent of the famous courses in the Sand Hills of Pinehurst. Walters Golf brought in the Dye Design team to carve out a unique layout lined by over 4,000 mature pine trees. The entire property is mounded along the borders to ensure a peaceful experience. When you are on the course, the experience is very similar to playing golf in North Carolina.

Course architect Perry Dye has carved a fair layout which can be enjoyed by players of all levels. The course can be played anywhere from 5,873 yards on back to 6,810 yards. Those opting for the tips will find driving the ball a premium. Many of the holes feature tree lined chutes and dogleg either right or left. Dye has also employed deep fairway bunkers and a lot of water to keep your attention. The 18th hole uses all of these elements. This par-4 can be stretched out to 466 yards, but remember the ball flies a bit farther in the desert. The tee shot must avoid a large lake on the left and a bunker on the right. The approach is guarded by the same lake, as well as by bunkers short and to the right.

Walters Golf recently spent an enormous amount of money redoing much of the course, including new greens. The playing conditions were fantastic. The greens may well be the best in the entire Las Vegas area. The rest of the course was also in great shape. One thing that players will notice different about Walters Golf is the hospitality. When a guest arrives at Desert Pines, attendants will see to any needs with a friendly attitude. The staff at Desert Pines is among the best of any facility I have ever visited.

The trip to Desert Pines would not be complete without a visit to the Practice Center. This is the areaís only two-tiered, climate controlled facility. Golfers are shaded from the big sun and cooled as well, making practice sessions pleasant regardless of the temperature. The range also is lighted at night and stays open till 10:30 p.m. in the winter and 11p.m. in the summer. For more information on Desert Pines visit www.waltersgolf.com or call (888) 427-6678.

The lodging

The Mirage Hotel and Casino has been a top choice since its opening. Earlier this year the hotel completed an extensive remodel of its rooms and the finished product is as chic as any found on the Strip. Guests will find the best in ultra-modern amenities, including the finest in electronics, bed linens and bathrooms. All rooms include 42-inch LCD TVís and iHome MP3 player docks for your iPod. The bedding includes state-of-the-art pillow top beds as well as down pillows and duvets.

The Mirageís lobby area makes for an exciting arrival. There is a large aquarium spanning the length of the front desk area. Sharks, stingrays and gobies swim side by side with eels, sea bass and puffer fish. It is quite mesmerizing and might be the only time you wish to take longer to check-in. As you walk to the casino you enter a tropical rainforest housed under a 100-foot-high dome. Tall palm trees, cascading water, and tropical flora all enhance the experience.

The Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat is something you wonít want to miss, especially if you have kids. Here you can actually take part in training dolphins and see the famous white tigers of Siegfried and Roy fame.

An excellent restaurant choice at The Mirage is Kokomos, which is just off the front lobby. Guests can relax under the hotelsí rainforest surrounded by waterfalls and an indoor lagoon. We dined on oven roasted sea bass and their bone-in ribeye, and both were delicious. The service also was excellent.

The Mirage is very close to some of the best shopping in town ó easily within walking distance. Just outside the hotel you want to see its famous Volcano show which is now better than ever. Next door is the Pirate Show at Treasure Island, which has been updated as well. For more information on The Mirage visit www.mirage.com.