July 30, 2008–Sometimes the amount of Las Vegas golf news that happens on a daily or weekly basis is overwhelming, and picking and choosing what to write about becomes a bit of a challenge. So with that in mind, we bring to you a bunch of Las Vegas golf news and information that is cool and useful in a short amount of time and space. Look for more detailed articles about some of these subjects in the future, but for now enjoy this edition of "Las Vegas Golf Happenings: the Back Nine". We lead off with legendary designer Tom Fazio who spent some time this week at one of the most famous Las Vegas golf courses, Shadow Creek, checking out the progress of a major "re-design" project. The course that he designed is closed while some of the tees are being lengthened in addition to some other work. Shadow Creek is annually ranked as one of the world's best golf experiences and is owned by MGM Mirage. More to come. In other Las Vegas golf news, for those looking to support a worthy organization, check out the 2nd Annual Foundation For Recovery charity event at TPC Las Vegas, where the pros play. The event raises funds to make advocacy, awareness, research and scholarships available for addiction recovery programs in the Las Vegas community. Now continue reading for more Las Vegas golf scoops including who recently played in the worst conditions ever and what Las Vegas golf course Team USA basketball played.
Looking back at the recent British Open at Royal Birkdale, we had a good conversation with Las Vegas native and PGA Tour veteran Craig Barlow who played in the tournament for the first time. Barlow says the weather conditions were "the worst I have ever played in by far" but still relished the experience. Barlow caught a bad break by drawing a tee time on the first day that coincided with the worst weather. He struggled to a 79, but given the conditions, it wasn't that awful of a score. He came back with a solid 72 in the second round but missed the cut. "The course and conditions were very tough, a lot tougher than I thought they would be," said Barlow upon his return.
Barlow also said that that he is looking forward to the rest of the season, and his journey back from multiple injuries is coming along nicely. "I know that I can play with these guys," said Barlow, who as of this writing had earned $129,732, good for 196th on the money list. "When I play to my capabilities I can compete. It has been a tough stretch but I see the light at the end of the tunnel. Six months ago I couldn't say that, but my confidence is back."
Barlow successfully qualified for the British Open and U.S. Open by finishing at the top of the leaderboard in events featuring fields as strong as an average PGA Tour event. And he also has the longest-made putt on the PGA Tour this season. He holed an eagle putt at the Buick Open in Michigan that measured 111 feet, 5 inches.
OB Sports has purchased two buses and will now offer transportation services to large groups. The buses are wrapped with photos of Angel Park Golf Club and Legacy Golf Club, the two Las Vegas golf courses facilities operated by OB Sports (Angel Park is the home of two Arnold Palmer 18-hole Las Vegas golf courses and a lighted par 3; Legacy Golf Club is 18 holes of Arthur Hills golf) . Book your packages at Vegas Golf Central. The buses are called Angel 1 (48 seats) and Angel 2 (24 seats).
The Team USA basketball team recently wrapped up training camp in Las Vegas with a 120-65 thumping of Team Canada at the Thomas and Mack Center. The host hotel for the team was WYNN Las Vegas, and over the last three years, several of the players and coaches played the Tom Fazio-designed Las Vegas golf course Wynn Golf and Country Club. Syracuse Head Basketball Coach and Team USA Assistant Jim Boeheim is an avid golfer who once coached the Syracuse golf team and tee'd it up in Las Vegas when time allowed. Also, the team's three point guards slipped away for a pitching contest at the course. The wager was push-ups for the two that lost, and soon the veteran Kidd and NBA MVP runner-up Paul were on the ground while Williams watched with a satisfied smile on his face. And if you're wondering, there was no word whether Lebron James tee'd it up, but in 2007 when he was asked if he played golf, his response was that he was "The king of minitature golf".
VegasGolfer Magazine held its annual Pro Golf Showdown at DragonRidge Country Club this week and a new winner was crowned in the event that determines the best team of golf course staff members in Las Vegas. Pros, caddies, or anyone else who can play the game at a high level are eligible to play, as long as they are an official employee of a golf course. The private SouthShore Golf Club, led by Travis Long and teaching pro Gary Knapp, turned in a spectacular 59 in the one best-ball of four format. Long fired a 64 on his own ball, which would have been good for third place on his own. The team from Golf Summerlin was second.
In other DragonRidge Country Club news, the Jack Nicklaus Academy of Golf is coming to the private club. The website shows that it is scheduled to debut in early 2009.
8-time Southern Nevada Golf Association Player of the Year and Hall-of-Famer Brady Exber recently qualified for the British Open and played in the tournament last weekend. Exber, who played in the U.S. Senior Open a year ago and made the cut, shot rounds of 78-80 and missed the cut by six shots. The event was played at Royal Troon. 1992 Las Vegas Invitational Champion John Cook finished second behind Bruce Vaughan. Greg Norman, the 1986 Las Vegas Invitational champ, finished in a tie for 5th.
The team from the Southern Nevada Golf Association recently won the annual Cobb-Whalen Cup event that pits the south against the Northern Nevada Golf Association. The SNGA edged the NNGA by a single point in the Ryder Cup-type format, 20.5-19.5.
Lastly, there are some other cool Las Vegas golf charity events around the corner that are worth a look. Danny Gans' Partee Fore Kids tees off at DragonRidge Country Club Nov. 1-3, with events at the course and also at The Mirage. The event benefits The First Tee of Southern Nevada and the Danny Gans Junior Golf Academy.
Television and movie star Kevin Sorbo hosts his inaugural charity event at DragonRidge Country Club October 10-11. The event beneifts A World Fit For Kids.