Las Vegas, Nev. (May 14, 2016)—The name is simple, yet all encompassing: Bear’s Best Las Vegas. Now, unless you’ve lived under a rock, you can surmise that ‘Bear’ links to golf’s Golden Bear, Jack Nicklaus. Add in the ‘Best’ and it ups the ante when it comes to golf course design. Bear’s Best is 18 of the golf great’s best golf holes in the West, all nestled right in the heart of Las Vegas. –By Bill Bowman
Nicklaus, the record-holder with 18 majors during an illustrious career, is also making records in the field of golf course design. His name is linked to more than 375 courses world-wide (and more on the drawing board), giving players the chance to tee it up on some of the best designs.
That brings us to Bear’s Best, located on Las Vegas’ west side. This is no ordinary Nicklaus design. In fact, it’s a compilation of some of his best design works in the West. Players will find holes from California (PGA West, among others), Mexico (Cabo Del Sol), Montana (Old Works), Colorado (Castle Pines), Arizona (Desert Mountain, among others) and New Mexico (Los Campanos). Add it all up and you’ve got 7,194 yards of Nicklaus’ finest.
There are a few quirks that add to the feel or authenticity of the golf holes. The fourth and 11th holes, both replicated from Old Works Golf Club in Anaconda, Mont., have the black-sand bunkers that are a signature at Old Works. They stand in stark contrast to the lush green fairways. Then there are the rows of pine trees that line the 8th hole, the design taken straight from the fairways of Castle Pines in Colorado.
But it’s the opening and closing holes that start and finish the round with a bang. The opener, from the private course at PGA West, plays just 413 yards, but a pond left and a elevated green will add to the challenge. Then there’s the finale. The 18th hole, designed from the resort course at PGA West, plays 463 yards from the tips. Water and sand down the entire right side and a green that appears perched precariously close to the pond set up a finishing hole filled with drama.
Bear’s Best, located just minutes west of the Strip, certainly lives up to its name.