“Well, that was fun!” exclaimed a golfer, as he loaded his clubs into his SUV after a morning of play at the Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort, just off Interstate 95 about 25 miles north of the Las Vegas Strip. “We always have fun here,” responded one of his pals. It was about 9:30 AM, and they were among the many who take advantage of southern Nevada’s cooler early-morning temperatures to play on three championship golf courses by world-famous designer Pete Dye and his firm, Dye Designs: Snow Mountain, Sun Mountain, and The Wolf.
Whereas The Strip is all about hyper-stimulating glitter, shopping and crowds, the Las Vegas Paiutes’ resort offers serenity and restoration in an oasis-like setting just a short drive north of the city. Lakes and ponds sparkle in the bright sunlight, while native vegetation dots the pristine courses and rims their edges. Ecological sensitivity is a hallmark of Dye-made courses, and here bristly Joshua trees, spiky cacti, and hot pink, bright yellow and maroon wildflowers provide a smooth transition to the dry land sweeping up to the distant Sheep Range, part of a national wildlife preserve. Lizards and tiny chipmunks dart among the rocks, and a golfer had a cell phone photo he’d snapped some months before of a rare desert tortoise that had wandered through.
That’s not to say there aren’t hefty challenges at the resort. The Wolf is the longest course in Nevada and was called a “howling success” by one sportswriter. “You’ve read about the outstanding course with the immaculate conditions. You’ve heard the stories about the lush fairways, top-notch staff and amazing 360-degree views,” the golf critic wrote. But you can also choose to face The Wolf’s challenging island green, reached by a narrow causeway and surrounded by water filled with shots that fell short.
On a rise overlooking the courses, the cushy 50,000-square-foot clubhouse has a pro shop, banquet and event facilities and a well-appointed restaurant serving breakfast and lunch, along with sweeping views desert and mountain views. Hint: The steak sandwich is rightly dubbed “famous” on the menu. Tender, perfectly seared New York strip steak is tucked into toasted French bread and accompanied by lettuce, sliced tomato and crispy, home-made, crinkle-cut potato chips. The restaurant attracts not only local and visiting golfers — The Golf Channel sponsored a recent tournament — but, on a weekend morning, couples and families enjoying the scrumptious food and friendly service.