Las Vegas, Nevada (November 28, 2012)–Las Vegas National Golf Club was one of the first golf courses ever built in Las Vegas. It came on the scene more than five decades ago, opening in 1961. And in that first year when it was opened by some of the most notable business people in all of Las Vegas history, the course hosted the LPGA Championship, a major for the ladies. This Las Vegas golf course also hosted events on the PGA Tour and was one of the courses used in 1996 when Tiger Woods won his first event on the PGA Tour. And much of this history is chronicled in City of Champions: The History of Professional Golf in Las Vegas, a new coffee table book. –By Brian Hurlburt, Photo courtesy LV News Bureau.
"Bringing the LPGA Championship—a major—to Las Vegas was a coup, especially in those days," says Irwin Molasky, one of the people most responsible for the building of what was then called the Stardust Country Club in addition to bringing the LPGA to town. "We were the sponsor of that tournament. Allard Roen was definitely involved, and I was his partner, and Merv Adelson. And Moe Dalitz. And it was another coup to have a lady like Mickey Wright win that first tournament. She was the best player and had been around for many years. The ladies loved the Stardust golf course. I I played with her in a pro-am, and she just told me how fantastic the event and course was. She was glad to be here. All the players loved Las Vegas. Mickey was fabulous. She was a nice girl. They were all nice, but they were dedicated to their sport, and some were more fun than others. They would dance at parties, and they were funny and they were great."
These days, Las Vegas National Golf Club is still one of the more popular Las Vegas golf courses and is a resort course located just minutes from the Las Vegas Strip. The course management works to embrace the history of the course whenever possible including being the home of the Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame which is located in the clubhouse and adjacent to the Rat Pack Bar and Grille. Click now to reserve your Las Vegas golf tee times at Las Vegas National. The best rates are guaranteed when you reserve via the official Las Vegas National Golf Club website.
The LPGA Championship is still played on the LPGA Tour today and is now known as the the Wegmans LPGA Championship and played in New York. The event was played in Las Vegas from 1961-66. The PGA Tour has played three different tournaments at the course over the years, adding up to dozens of prestigious champions. Among the notables are Nicklaus, Palmer, Wright, Woods, and many more.
The Tournament of Champions was played at the course in 1967 and 1968, and the PGA Tour's Sahara Invitational was played there from 1958 through 1976. And the Las Vegas Invitational was played at the course a couple times including in 1996 when Woods won. He fired a 70 over the holes of what was then called the Las Vegas Hilton Country Club.
More information and back stories on all of these tournaments are available in City of Champions, authored by yours truly and longtime Las Vegas golf historian Jack Sheehan. The book is available at Amazon and certain Las Vegas retailers including Las Vegas Golf and Tennis.