November 19, 2008–In many ways, we're all judged by the company we keep. So it must be a positive when Nick Price, who has won more than 40 pro tournaments including three majors, sings your praises. Price was in town recently to play in the Wendy's 3-Tour Challenge, and moments before filming a clinic segment for the Golf Channel as part of the event, Price spent plenty of time raving about Las Vegas and Las Vegas' golf courses. "Las Vegas is like a dream world, and it's hard to beat a three or four-day stay in Las Vegas," says Price, who played Las Vegas golf course Rio Secco Golf Club during the tournament. Read on for more from Price about Las Vegas.
"When you see what Las Vegas has to offer as far as world-class entertainment and everything, golf courses are right there with it," says Price, who besides playing is a golf course designer. "Anyone that comes out here gets to pick from so many great golf courses and they are all within a 35-40 minute drive of the Las Vegas Strip. Playing Reflection Bay was great last year, and this year Rio Secco was wonderful. Las Vegas is a great place to come and play golf. You can play in the morning or afternoon and then go to a show or try to win some money in the evening … the sky is the limit in Las Vegas."
Price first played as a pro in Las Vegas back in 1983 when the PGA Tour returned to Las Vegas following a long abscence. That year marked the inaugural Panasonic Pro-Celebrity Classic that was brought to town by the PGA Tour with a huge helping hand from former Las Vegas resident Jim Colbert and a group called the Las Vegas Founders Club. It was immediately clear to Price that Las Vegas and the tournament organizers were a bit different than any other place that the PGA Tour held an event, and that the Las Vegas tournament was going to be big time.
"The first time we came here was in 1983, and the Panasonic was the richest tournament on the PGA Tour by far," remembers Price. "The purse was more than a million dollars with $180,000 going to the winner. Most of the other tournaments that we played in (had purses) of about four or five-hundred thousand dollars. And not only that, when we arrived here, I was given probably the first courtesy car that I ever got. Everyone was given a Cadillac to use and I thought I had died and gone to heaven!"
Fuzzy Zoeller won that first tournament, and in 2008 the PGA Tour celebrated 26-straight years in Las Vegas with the playing of the new Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. The newly-named event took a page from its roots and brought back the celebrity factor by partnering with Timberlake on a Wednesday Celebrity Pro-Am in addition to a holding a sold-out concert on the Friday of tournament week. Celebrities who played or performed included The Jonas Brothers, Greg Maddux, Amanda Bear, Luke Wilson, Ellen Degeneres, Rihanna, and many others. Price played in the Las Vegas PGA Tour event nine times, and made the cut every year. His best finish was a tie for 11th in 1987, when Paul Azinger when. He collected more than $140,000 from the Las Vegas tournament. The last time he played in a Las Vegas PGA Tour event was in 1991.
But over the last quarter-century since first visiting Las Vegas, Price has played several other Las Vegas golf courses including Shadow Creek, TPC Las Vegas, TPC Summerlin, Las Vegas Country Club, and others. "I always really enjoyed playing Las Vegas Country Club because it was an old-style course, but now there is a great mix of old and modern golf courses," says Price. "This year, I enjoyed Rio Secco and thought the course was very playable for amateurs and it was in great condition." During this year's Wendy's 3-Tour Challenge, Price teamed with Jay Haas and Fred Funk on the winning Champions Tour team while Rocco Mediate, Stewart Cink and Kenny Perry played for the PGA Tour team. Natalie Gulbis, Helen Alfredssen and Christie Kerr played for the LPGA Tour, the 2007 champs. The event will be televised by ABC on December 13 and 14th.
Price also says that he used to spend a couple weeks in Las Vegas following the PGA Tour season, and experienced a side of Las Vegas that is sometimes lost in the translation of the Las Vegas Strip. "I have friends here, and I would come and stay here for a couple weeks and and experience the other side of las vegas," says Price. "We water-skied and fished on Lake Mead, and we would fly an airplane up into the grand canyon. Plus we rode motor bikes in the mountains and desert. There is so much to this place and they showed me another side of Las Vegas that is really neat but that not a lot of people get to experience."
Well, if Las Vegas and its golf is good enough for Nick Price, then what are you waiting for to book your next Las Vegas golf vacation? And as this is written, there are many great Las Vegas golf and hotel deals available. And by using GolfLasVegasNow.com you can gain access to the official websites of Las Vegas' golf courses, where many guarantee the best Las Vegas golf rates. And you never know, you just might run into a 3-time Maor Champion on the first tee.