December 18, 2008–Las Vegas golf course Shadow Creek is a true living Las Vegas golf legend. The Robb Report once called it the world's best golf course, and other high-powered media drool over the 18 Las Vegas golf holes that were created by the amazing Tom Fazio, setting a standard for all others that followed. And now, Shadow Creek is scheduled to re-open with new greens, added length, and a more "open" feel.
"Our style is to fly under the radar and keep things low key, but we are looking forward to opening on December 19," says longtime General Manager Mark Brenneman. "That will be exactly seven months from when we closed and began this process." That process included increasing the teeing spaces on holes, which now allows Shadow Creek to be stretched to 7,560 yards for those willing, up from 7,239 yards. Also, the greens were rebuilt and seeded with Bentgrass–as were the approaches to the greens–and a dynamic 7-acre short game practice was created. Plus, a new, more efficient irrigation system was put in and all of the fairways were sand-capped. The fairway grass is a high-tech 419 Bermuda. Shadow Creek Golf Club is one of more than 70 Las Vegas golf courses in the Las Vegas area.
"Tom Fazio took the opportunity to move some tees and greens closer to some of the beautiful streams that were kind of being lost because of the maturation of the trees, and he wanted to make them more visible as they were when the course opened in 1989," says Brenneman. "We wanted to keep the course intimate and secluded, but we also wanted to create a more open feel because over time the trees kind of closed it up." He also noted that the greens and teeing areas got smaller over the last two decades due to natural mowing processes, and it was time to "open" up those surfaces and return them to the original sizes.
And contrary to some public speculation, the new renovations were not made in hopes of hosting a large, televised event. Brenneman emphatically stated that there has never been a plan or any talks about hosting any Tour or other televised events, and course and hotel management (Shadow Creek is owned by MGM Mirage) have "no desire" to do that. Shadow Creek is open to any guest staying at an MGM Mirage property. The green fee is $500 and includes cart, caddie, and limo transportation to and from this Las Vegas golf course.
More than a few gasp at the $500 green fee, but noted Golf Digest architecture writer Ron Whitten once wrote the following about the Shadow Creek experience: “I’m often asked: ‘Is Shadow Creek worth its $500 green fee?' Sure, I reply, there are worse ways to spend your money in Las Vegas … I believe every golfer should experience Shadow Creek at least once … I’m talking about experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime design, a dream layout conceived by former Mirage owner Steve Wynn and executed to near perfection by Tom Fazio … one round at Shadow Creek and you’ll forever look at golf and golf course architecture differently,”
And to use the vernacular of the day, playing Shadow Creek should probably be on a golfer's bucket list. The history oozes from Shadow Creek, a Las Vegas golf course that has hosted presidents, actors, actresses, athletes and the world's best golfers. The locker room features personal lockers for the likes of Michael Jordan, George H.W. Bush, and Fazio, among others, and above those lockers sits the personal fishing pole for Bush, the only person allowed to drop a line at Shadow Creek. He hasn't taken the opportunity recently, but has been known to stroll out to do that in the past.
Fred Couples and Tiger Woods share the course record of 60 at Shadow Creek. Woods shot his round several years ago, while Couples fired his on November of 2007. Both players flirted with rounds of 59, but long eagle putts on the par 5, 527-yard, 18th hole didn't drop. Those watching the round by Couples commented that his swing looked "flawless" and he was well aware that he was chasing Woods' course record. ANd in 2006, VegasGolfer Magazine contributor Roger Graves spoke with Woods about his course record.
"I just remember hitting the ball extremely well that day," Woods told Graves. "Some of the greens at Shadow Creek are pretty small, so you have to be on your game and your distance control has to be good. It was just one of those days when everything went right. You always try to go as low as you can go whenever you tee it up, but realistically you never go out expecting to shoot 60 or set the course record. It's fun when you do it, no matter what the circumstances." There is no word yet on when Couples or Woods will be back out to test the 'new' Shadow Creek. Woods also owns the course record at Las Vegas' Rio Secco Golf Club (64) and Royal Links Golf Club (65). And Woods won his first event on the PGA Tour at the 1996 Las Vegas Invitational.