Las Vegas Vegas Golf History

PGA Tour's SBS Championship Has Roots at Las Vegas National Golf Club

The historic 18th hole at Las Vegas National Golf Club January 6, 2009--As the start of the 2010 PGA Tour season is unveiled this week with the SBS Championship, those with historical knowledge will remember this event has its roots right here on Las Vegas golf courses. The SBS is the new incarnation of the Tournament of Champions, an event that was first played in Las Vegas and the Desert Inn in 1953. The event later moved to Las Vegas National Golf Club. Cool news? You can play pretty much the same Las Vegas National layout that the legends played in 1967 and 1968.

TPC Las Vegas Is Where PGA Tour Champions Are Decided, Groomed

Image February 16, 2009--TPC Las Vegas is where the pros play--and have played--in Las Vegas. These days, a who's who of Las Vegas golfers who play on the LPGA Tour, PGA Tour and Nationwide Tour, play and practice at this Las Vegas golf course. But what also makes TPC Las Vegas is the list of the world's best golfers who have claimed championships on the course. That Las Vegas golf champions' list includes Hale Irwin (twice), Larry Nelson, Bruce Fleischer, Bill Glasson, Jim Furyk (twice) and many others.

Yes, That WAS Jack Nicklaus at Bear's Best Las Vegas!

Image February 11, 2009--So, once upon a time, there was a foursome playing Bear's Best Las Vegas, a Las Vegas golf course that oozes Jack Nicklaus at every turn and on every hole. This Las Vegas golf course was created when Nicklaus and his design team pored over thousands of holes from golf courses that he and they had designed, dwindling it to the 18 best. Then they re-created them in the Las Vegas desert. And for one group of Las Vegas golfers playing the course, a certain Golden Bear played through the foursome.

Vegas Photographer Remembers That It's Good To Be The King For Butch Harmon

Image January 28, 2009--Long before Butch Harmon, the World's Best Golf Instructor, opened up the Butch Harmon School of Golf at Las Vegas golf course Rio Secco Golf Club, he was the personal pro for true royalty, Morocco's King Hassan II. Then he became the personal pro for true golf kings Greg Norman and Tiger Woods, among others. So it was an easy call for this writer to headline a VegasGolfer Magazine article, 'The King of Swing', and then to work with Las Vegas golf photographer J Rick Martin to convince Harmon to wear a crown and robe for a photo shoot. Well, easy to come up with the idea. More difficult to execute.

Looking Back: Jack Nicklaus' First Words About Las Vegas' Reflection Bay Golf Club

Image January 4, 2009--Whenever Jack Nicklaus hits Las Vegas, it's a big deal. But flash back to the mid nineties--when Nicklaus was knee deep in the creation of his first two Las Vegas golf courses and a guy named Tiger was just hitting the scene--and those visits were extra special because there was still no denying who the biggest name in golf was. Nicklaus first designed the private SouthShore Golf Club at Lake Las Vegas Resort but soon followed with Reflection Bay Golf Club, Las Vegas' first Nicklaus resort golf course. "It's not often you get the opportunity on a body of water like this, in a setting like Lake Las Vegas, to design a golf course," Nicklaus told this writer at the time.

Las Vegas PGA Tour Golfer Robert Gamez 'Remembers' Record at Painted Desert

Image January 2, 2009--Robert Gamez, who grew up playing on Las Vegas golf courses, was the 1990 Rookie of the Year on the PGA Tour. He won two events that year, including his first official start on the PGA Tour, the Northern Telecom Tucson Open, but then didn't win again until the 2005 Valero Texas Open. But back in 1992*, Gamez fired a 10-under par 62 at the new Painted Desert Golf Club. That round still stands as the official course record.

Lifetime Moment Occurs for Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame Inductees

Image October 14, 2008 {UPDATED Oct. 15}--Four golfers with strong ties to the Las Vegas golf community are being inducted into the Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame in a ceremony that coincides with the playing of Las Vegas' PGA Tour event, the Justin Timblerlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Tommy Armour III, a PGA Tour player who is teeing it up this week, heads the list that also includes longtime Las Vegas golf professional Jerry Roberts, superb amateur player Louis Redden (pictured), and player and administrator Eric Dutt. All four attended a touching and inspirational ceremony October 14 at Las Vegas golf course TPC Summerlin.

Championship UNLV Golf Team Receives Second Hall of Fame Induction

Image September 21, 2008--The 1997-98 University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) golf team was inducted into the UNLV Hall of Fame over the weekend. The team won the National Championship during that fateful season, and was headlined by Las Vegas golf stars future PGA Tour and Nationwide Tour players Charley Hoffman, Jeremy Anderson and Bill Lunde.

Ryder Cup Captain Paul Azinger Eagled 18 to Win 1987 Las Vegas Golf Tournament

Image September 18, 2008--Paul Azinger, the 2008 United States Ryder Cup captain, recently made Las Vegas golfer Chad Campbell (he was an All-American at UNLV) a Captain's Pick, but Azinger's ties to Las Vegas golf and Las Vegas golf courses go back a lot farther than that. During the final round of the 1987 Panasonic Las Vegas Invitational, Azinger stood on the tee box of the par 5, 18th hole at Las Vegas Country Club with a goal in mind. He was tied with Hal Sutton and Curtis Strange. "'I wasn't thinking of eagle, but trying to make a birdie,'' Azinger told the media following the round. But eagle is exactly what Azinger made, rolling in a long and breaking 30-footer. He then narrowly avoided falling in the lake that fronts the green during his post-putt celebration. "'I can't believe that putt went in,'' he said later. For his efforts, Azinger won $225,000, the largest first-place check in PGA Tour history to that point. The Las Vegas event debuted on the PGA Tour in 1983 (Fuzzy Zoeller won) and quickly made news by becoming the first event with a million-dollar purse.

Historic Las Vegas National Golf Club Is The Place to Be

Image June 9, 2008--UPdate: Las Vegas National is no longer managed by Harrah's. Las Vegas National Golf Club has been the site for numerous big-time Las Vegas golf tournaments and events, including Tiger Woods' epic first PGA Tour win in 1996 at the Las Vegas Invitational. Las Vegas National Golf Club was in the three-course rotation with TPC Summerlin and the Desert Inn Golf Club. This Las Vegas golf course has also played host to other PGA and LPGA Tour events, and saw champions such as Mickey Wright, Jack Nicklaus. Al Geiberger, Davis Love III, and several others host trophies after teeing it up at one of the most historic golf courses in Las Vegas. And now there is a resurgence at Las Vegas National Golf Club with new management that is  honoring the past while embracing the future. “It’s an honor to now be the caretaker for this living legend of Las Vegas golf,” says Eric Dutt, Harrah’s Vice President, Las Vegas Golf Operations, the new operators of the layout. “We take very seriously our responsibility to continue the traditions and build on the history that has taken place on these fairways and greens."

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