Las Vegas, Nevada (July 23, 2010)–When Las Vegas PGA of America pro Joe Kelly talks golf, people listen. And it is with good reason people pay attention. After all, Kelly has been working in the golf business for 47 years (starting when he was just 12), the last 32 in Las Vegas. In fact, he’s never had a job outside of the golf business. And that dedication and hard work will be put up on a pedestal this fall when Kelly is enshrined in the Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame. The new inductee, who is now the Director of Golf at Golf Summerlin’s three courses, couldn’t be prouder.—By Bill Bowman
“As a PGA club professional this is probably the highest honor that could be bestowed on someone,” Kelly said of his induction, a class which also includes Charlie Baron, former tournament director of the PGA Tour’s stop in Las Vegas, and the Tournament of Champions, the tournament that helped put big-time Vegas golf on the map. “To be honored by the Las Vegas golf community is very special. It’s a great honor for me and my family.” The induction ceremony will take place October 19, 2010, at the Pearl Theatre at the Palms during the week of the PGA Tour’s Justin Timberlake Shriner’s Hospitals for Children Open. The event is open to the public and you can click to LasVegasGolfHOF.com for more details.
It’s an honor that comes through years of hard work, but also very rewarding work—especially Kelly’s 30-plus years working with junior golfers in the First Tee of Southern Nevada of which he is the current president. “Junior golf is definitely a No. 1 priority to me,” Kelly said. Kelly is also honored to be recognized as a club professional. “What’s special to me is that I’m the fourth club professional since 1991 to be honored and that means a lot. Charlie Teel, Dick Huff and Jerry Roberts are all in, and these are guys who I’ve looked up to and guys who were my mentors. That really makes it great.”
Highland Falls, a 6,512-yard, par-72 layout; Palm Valley, the 6,580-yard, par-72 track; and Eagle Crest, the 4,067-yard, par-60 executive design, make up the Golf Summerlin trio that offers golfers variety and challenge all in one. Highland Falls features a rolling layout with a wide variety of shot-making options including the par-3 14th, stretching to 206 yards from the tips. This hole offers one of the most impressive views of the famed Las Vegas Strip. Palm Valley was the first course in the Golf Summerlin family, opening in 1989 and is the most challenging of the three. Par-5 holes open and close the round, giving players a chance for birdie early and late. Eagle Crest may be labeled as an executive course, but it’s a course players will love–plus it’s a great test. The 12 par 3s are as varied as the clubs players will hit, ranging from just 112 yards to an eye-popping 224 yards so the variety–and toughness—is everywhere.
Kelly said the courses, all of which are open to the public, are impressive layouts. “The two championship courses are just that … championship courses,” he said. “They can both play to 6,800 yards and each hole is different with elevation changes and great views of Las Vegas below. All three courses have tricky greens and are great places for young and older players alike. They are just fun courses to play.” Golf Summerlin’s three courses join the more than 50 Las Vegas golf courses that help make Vegas one of the world’s top golf destinations.