Perhaps you’ve never heard tales of this legendary place sculpted from the Nevada desert by renowned architect Tom Fazio. May we assure you, descriptions, however grand, do not begin to do this masterpiece justice. Shadow Creek must be played. Shadow Creek must be experienced. Only then can true lovers of the game begin to appreciate its breathtaking beauty.
North Las Vegas, Nevada, a 30- to 35-minute ride from the Strip. Don’t bother piloting your own car or arriving by taxi. The only way to get through the gates at Shadow Creek is inside an MGM Resorts International courtesy limo.
No longer cloaked in secrecy, but still a tough “get,” Shadow Creek is technically public because it’s open to anyone—anyone, that is, that spends sufficient coin at an MGM property. You can book any room—it no longer has to be a suite—at an MGM Las Vegas property except Circus Circus and Excaliber and inquire about a tee time. However, the opportunity is good for Monday through Thursday only. Weekends are solely the domain of MGM invited guests. If you happen to be a past or present U.S. president, own a few gold records or an Oscar statuette, or perhaps wear an NBA Championship ring on your finger, you can find your name on the tee sheet on any day.
There’s not a weak link in the entire chain, but five holes stand out for scenery and challenge, including the 553-yard, par-5 fourth, the 409-yard, par-4 ninth, and the 438-yard, par-4 15th. Still, the showstoppers, as they should be in Las Vegas, arrive at the end, with the 164-yard, par-3 17th and the 564-yard, par-5 18th. In particular, the 18th befits its locale as the ultimate gambler’s hole. From an elevated tee, the ambitious player will contend with a water carry on both shots via a network of three lakes separated by waterfalls. Choose the three-shot route and you still must fly over water to a long, narrow green surrounded by grassy hills, pine trees, mountains, and flowers. Desert? What desert?