May 2, 2008–Nobody can truly see the future, so it is difficult to imagine what the land about 50 miles north of Las Vegas will look like in one, five, 10 or 20 years down the line, but now that Jack Nicklaus' The Chase at PGA Golf Club Coyote Springs is open and the official PGA of America flag is flying, a long-range mission and plan is in 'full swing'. On May 1, a hundred or so media, VIP's and representatives of the PGA of America, including President Brian Whitcomb, CEO Joe Steranka and several pros from Las Vegas golf courses, gathered to play the first rounds at The Chase, a Nicklaus signature design that is now open for public play. Basically, The Chase is like the first-ride at a planned Golf Disneyland that officially is called PGA Village Coyote Springs. The Village is designed to become the western home of the PGA of America and the more than 28,000 pros in the organization.
"Together with The PGA of America, the PGA Village designation and the golf facilities that will be built at Coyote Springs, we have all the elements of a special community that is certain to become the next great American golf destination, literally next door to the world's most exciting vacation destination," says Harvey Whittemore, Chairman and Founder of Coyote Springs Investment, LLC.
Coyote Springs is a 'new town' in its infancy that encompasses 43,500 acres and when completed is planned to be the site of 159,000 homes in multiple distinct villages plus several golf courses, including the first-ever Pete Dye/Jack Nicklaus co-design that has already been planned. A name has also been chosen for this new Dye/Nicklaus layout, but if we told you, well, we'd have to hit you over the head with that venerable 2-iron attracting dust in your garage. Basically, a new 'Palm Springs' could be forming in this piece of desert land located just over the hill from the lights of the Las Vegas Strip and the other 50 or so Las Vegas golf courses that have already turned a lot of the desert green.
The Golden Bear wasn't at this initial event–plans call for him to make a trip to toast his newest layout in the future–but his presence wasn't needed because what is here, now, is a delicious design that features majestic holes played against the backdrop of the surrounding mountains. Undulating fairways and well-placed bunkers–that appear to be chasing players due to the uneven outlining of the sand–give The Chase a unique look and feel while not affecting playability, in fact, adding to the challenge.
"We have tried to incorporate a shaping style that is inspired by and almost mimics the mountains in the backdrop," says Nicklaus. "The strategy (we) settled on features subtleties much like the ridges and valleys of the surrounding mountains and foothills. This approach to shaping seems almost to pull the distant mountains into the golf course."
Mission accomplished. Custom-created rock features are noticed throughout the course, and share the same colors, angles and characteristics of the mountains. A large waterfall and a good example of these rocks glow between holes 9 and 18, both par 4 dogleg finishing holes. The ninth hole plays right-to-left, while the 18th hole goes in more typical left-to-right Nicklaus style. Palm trees, a large lake and bunkers complete the decoration of the holes.
Current rates–including a forecaddie known as a PGA Golf Club Ambassador–are $200, with a minimum of $30 caddie gratuity per player suggested. The club is open seven days-a-week from 8 AM until 2 PM until June 9, when the club will go into summer hours from 8 AM until Noon, Wednesday through Sunday. On September 1 the club will revert to the 7-day schedule and won't need to be overseeded due to the scrumptious rye grass fairways. Currently the best way to make tee times is to call 877-PGA-VILL (742-8455) but soon easy, online tee times will be available.
Also already in place is a driving range while plans for Phase II include a PGA Learning Center Tee Area, a Short Game Practice Area, and a PGA Exhibition Amphitheater, all this following the construction of a 12,000-square-foot clubhouse structure with restaurant and bar, private locker rooms, PGA golf shop, meeting facility and event courtyard. The clubhouse is expected to be completed in the fall of 2009.
Water comes into play on 11 holes at The Chase, and Nicklaus worked to create holes with different playability factors and strategies for every tee box. The risk-reward considerations are different for every level of player, with the back tees measuring 7,451 yards with a slope of 141 and a rating of 74.8. The blue tees play 6,807 yards with a slope of 137 and a rating of 72 while the white tees play a nice 6,268 yards with a slope of 132 and a rating of 69.7. The red tees play 5,349 yards with a rating and slope TBD.
PGA Golf Club Coyote Springs is operated by Director of Gofl Michael Sizemore, PGA, and Head Professional Todd Michaelson, PGA.
The PGA of America's first PGA Village is a premier resort community in Port St. Lucie, Fla. It opened in 1996 and features the award-winning PGA Golf Club, the PGA Learning Center, PGA Historical Center and PGA Education Center. PGA Golf Club, The PGA of America's first owned and operated public golf facility, also has all three of its world-class courses as members of the Audubon International Signature Status for environmental compliance.
The PGA of America, founded in 1916, is a not-for-profit organization that promotes the game of golf while continuing to enhance the standards of the profession. The Association is comprised of more than 28,000 men and women PGA Professionals who are dedicated to growing participation in the game of golf.
Pardee Homes is Coyote Springs' master production residential builder, and will work with several TBD guest builders throughout the project.
"This is a bold project a very special day," President Whitcomb said, just before the golfers headed out to experience The Chase for the first time.
So what will Coyote Springs finally look like upon completion? Only the crystal ball knows … but 'The Chase' could be very exciting to watch.