Behind the Design: Desert Valley
Our First In-Depth Look at Golden Tee's First Trip To Vegas

The Golden Tee Tour bus has been cleaned out, gassed up and stocked with the essentials (mainly cheap beer and various pieces of raw meat). Now, it’s time to take the five-stop world tour of the five new courses in Golden Tee 2015.

And we’re starting… in Las Vegas.

We were told to leave our company credit card on the bus, which is a wise decision by management. That doesn’t mean our expense reports will soon be math problems fit for NASA scientists, though. We’re just too excited about Desert Valley, our first course stop, to chow down on Subway in the back of Casino Royale.

(Degenerate Vegas regulars know this meal well.)

So let’s get to it; here’s our in-depth breakdown of Desert Valley, the first course to be explored in Golden Tee 2015.


Vegas Flavor

It feels like Vegas. No, you’re not being offered inappropriate cards at every intersection, but the strip in the background makes for a wonderful backdrop. Right away, you get that Vegas sensation.

Then you start to play. You see the dice crafted perfectly in the sand trap, and yes, even the various suits. Chances are you may never actually hit from these—at least you hope this is the case—although it is Vegas and things often get weird unexpectedly.

You will, however, encounter a par-3 suited green that does impact your game plan a great deal. Depending on where the pin might be located, your tee shot will be crucial to secure you a manageable birdie putt.

There are no slot machines, no “Whale Bones cocktail glasses and no roulette tables. Golf in Vegas is not built that way. But Sin City is in the air (literally), and there’s something exceptionally comforting about that.


Situational Water


By the end of the round, you’ll have noticed a theme. You do not want to be short when hitting into a handful of these holes—par-3s, par-4s, drivable par-4s and par-5s included. If you end up short, you will likely end up yelling at your caddy for not telling you to club up.

Let’s avoid that, if possible.

The water is actually gorgeous; the manufactured, hotel-centric waterfalls in the distance will likely force you to hit the Fly-By button for exploration purposes alone. But when it comes to actual strategy, be wary of these designs.

On more than just a few occasions, a short approach (or tee shot) will be doomed. Elevation can also come into play, which means you’ll have to be extra careful when it comes to clubbing up accordingly.

While the water isn’t everywhere—we’re in the desert, after all—it’s in places you can find yourself if you aren’t careful. Bring enough club and ensure you stay dry. The course designers aren’t hiding anything; the “don’t do this” play is out in the open. So let’s go ahead and avoid the gorgeous Sin City hazards if we can.



The Par-3s

41 yards.

That was the yardage on the tee shot above as I readied this preview. This isn’t a chip on a par-4 or par-5 but a par-3 unlike any you have ever played. I paused, studied the hole and said, “Oh, that is [expletive deleted] awesome” as I noticed the familiar outline of the hole.

Vegas, baby.

I stopped and assessed strategy. The first time, I hit an L-wedge and nearly spun it back into the cup. The next time through, I tried to chip in with a 7-iron, nearly aced it and then rolled through the green. I missed my chip on the way back and tapped in for an “aw shucks” par.

It is unique, wildly fun and BUILT for Vegas. There are two par-3s on this courses that are well under 100 yards; both on each nine. You will not believe where this second par-3 is; this part I want reveal just yet.

You’ll have to see this one for yourself.

We’ll explore our next course next week. Back on the bus we go…

Golden Tee PGA TOUR 2023
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