Black-Sand Bunkers at Bear’s Best Add to Las Vegas’ Uniqueness

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Las Vegas, Nev. (Oct. 8, 2016)–Just when you thought you’d seen it all in Las Vegas comes something so unique and so visually stimulating, you can’t believe your eyes. No, it’s not the Eiffel Tower, Luxor pyramid or New York New York replicas on the Las Vegas Strip. What we’re talking about are Bear’s Best Las Vegas and its eye-catching black-sand bunkers. –By Bill Bowman

Click now for Bear’s Best Las Vegas tee times. Bear’s Best Las Vegas is a 7,194 yard, par-72 layout designed by Jack Nicklaus. While Nicklaus has about 350 courses worldwide in his design portfolio, this one is different in a couple of aspects. First, the layout combines 18 of his favorite holes from some of his course designs in the West (including holes from Mexico, Colorado, California, New Mexico and other destinations) woven together to form one layout. And second, two of the hole replications come from his masterpiece located in Anaconda, Mont., Old Works Golf Course, feature black-sand bunkering that have piqued golfer’s curiosity for the past 15-plus years.

While there are about 70 white-sand bunkers on the other 16 holes of this impressive layout, it’s the black-sand bunkers on the 4th and 11th holes that rock the senses. The 4th hole, a 229-yard, par-3 and the 11th hole, a 317-yard, par-4 both seem like traditional golf holes until players step on the tee. Then the bunkers come into focus on the two straightaway holes and the black sand will cause players to do a double-take.

“It’s not something you see every day,” said Jim Stanfill, general manager at Bear’s Best Las Vegas. “The No. 1 question I get is where does the sand come from and the No. 2 question is does it play the same as regular sand. It comes from Anaconda, Mont. (the byproduct of a milling project) and, yes, it really does play just like regular sand. Those bunkers definitely get talked about a lot.”

So while Bear’s Best features golf holes from many of Jack’s favorite courses in the West, it’s the two holes from his Montana resort that are starkly different from the rest.

How different? Well, it’s as simple as black and white.