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

Categories: Las Vegas Golf History.

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.

Bear's Best Las Vegas opened in late 2001, and shortly thereafter, Nicklaus flew via helicopter to Bear's Best Las Vegas for an exclusive photo shoot with VegasGolfer Magazine. The chopper landed in front of the clubhouse and out bounded Nicklaus and his team. They also used the trip to their new Las Vegas golf course as a final 'walk-through' before the eventual grand opening on April 22, 2002, when Nicklaus greeted VIPs and showed off his melodic swing. PICTURED are scenes from that day in April of 2002, when the Golden Bear made his official presence be known.

Image Bear's Best Las Vegas is a resort golf course located in the northwest part of the Las Vegas valley, and about 20-25 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip. The course is operated by ClubCorp, an award-winning company with courses all over the world. You can easily reserve your Las Vegas golf tee times at Bear's Best Las Vegas by clicking to the official Bear's Best website. You will always find the best online rates available and also be able to view the up-to-date special Las Vegas golf deals available. Bear's Best Las Vegas has been inlcuded on Golf Digest's Best You Can Play List and was also recognized as the best Las Vegas golf course by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

But on that 'unofficial' tour, the Nicklaus entourage headed for the 10th hole–a 411-yard, par 4 taken from the private Nicklaus course at PGA West–and a group playing the hole was startled on the tee box. One golfer in the group turned around and glared at the audacity of those who caused the commotion, only to recognize that the world's greatest player–this was about six years ago, after all, and Tiger was only had a few major wins–was waiting for the group to hit. The golfer's eyes grew as big as Titleist golf balls, before he quickly alerted his fellow players that Mr. Jack Nicklaus was waiting and watching. Nicklaus then took a few moments to pose for pictures and sign autographs. Then Nicklaus was off on his tour, pleased with what he saw.

"In many respects, it's easier to design a course from scratch than to attempt to fit in replications of holes I've already designed," Nicklaus has said of Bear's Best Las Vegas. "Plus, the varied features and dramatic topography of this land in Summerlin have presented other challenges, which we've utilized to create a course that's interesting, diverse and unique." Bear's Best Las Vegas was the first of the legendary golfer and designer's new golf course concepts, in which all holes are faithful replications of holes from some of his more memorable designs around the world. In the case of Bear's Best Las Vegas, the replications are from some of his best-known work in the Southwestern U.S. and Mexico. There is also a Bear's Best Atlanta course.

A few months after his unofficial tour, Nicklaus thrilled various VIPs and media with a question-and-answer session, a clinic and by playing the holes of Bear's Best Las Vegas. A few of the many memorable holes featured at Bear's Best Las Vegas are the par 4, 229-yard 4th hole (taken from the 7th hole at Old Works in Montana), where the hole plays to a green surrounded by bunkers filled with black slag instead of sand. The slag is in honor of the mining that defines areas surrounding the course in Montana.

Image Another favorite at Bear's Best Las Vegas is the par 5, 599-yard 8th hole (from the 14th at Castle Pines). The hole plays downhill, and is complete with pine trees that re-create–as best can be done in the desert–the feeling of playing golf in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, the home of the prestigious Castle Pines, the former home to the PGA Tour's International. The Bear's Best Las Vegas journey ends with the par 4, 463-yard, 18th hole (from the 18th on the PGA West Resort  course) and plays with water and sand guarding the entire right-side of the hole. The green is then backdropped by palm trees and a bunker to the left.