Over seventy-five golf courses entice visitors around Las Vegas, despite the summer heat and lack of water. The venerable architect Pete Dye passed away in January 2020. Only one course has his name associated with it, the Paiute Golf Resort. On high desert terrain, it’s the ancestral home of the Paiute Indian Tribe. There are few structures outside of the resort making views of distant mountains and idyllic desert more impressive.
Here on the 3,800-acre Snow Mountain Reservation, the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe created a world-class golf destination. Players have three championship golf courses to choose from, all designed by Dye. A 50,000-square foot clubhouse is the center of this desert oasis. Reminiscent of old private clubs it sports a cozy cigar lounge with a view of the golf course. Located just 30 minutes northwest of the Las Vegas strip, it is easy to find with an interchange on Highway 95. At an elevation, almost 1000 feet higher than the Strip, enjoy cooler golf and a welcome escape from the urban noise and bustle. They allocate a significant amount of land to the resort, so two large practice ranges are available. There are no houses near these courses, only the dry rugged desert.
The Wolf course is the most challenging and ranked the highest at the resort. It is the longest course in the state of Nevada and promises a challenging golf experience. Five sets of tees are available, ideal for the higher handicapper. The Snow Mountain and Sun Mountain courses are the most scenic and most docile. The Snow Mountain course is the original course and opened in 1996. Pete Dye integrated eight significant lakes over three courses providing water hazards on one-third of the golf holes. Pete’s signature railroad tie and deep bunker design elements intensify the experience.
The Wolf course is ranks #10 in the State according to Golf Magazine’s 2016-17 rankings.
Sun Mountain Course
We enjoyed the Sun Mountain course with its rolling terrain and native desert landscaping but without the usual Pete Dye severity. The fairways are generous. Two Par4’s less than 330 yards provide birdie opportunities. The course allows you to take in the solitude with a peaceful walk. Firing a 78 with six bogeys, it was a fast and fun round.
The first hole illustrates the nature of Sun Mountain. A medium length Par4 with wide fairways, limited bunkering and expansive views of the desert and distant mountains is represents a typical hole. Hole #5 provides a stunning tee shot over water with mountains towering in the distance. Multiple bunkers guard the right side.
Pete Dye’s use of railroad ties in golf course design is legendary. On the Sun Mountain course, sloping faces of bunkers embed the railroad ties. Bentgrass greens are large, undulating and firm. The first cut of rough is harmless. But the second cut is the sandy and scruffy desert where big scores can start. Fortunately, there is plenty of area around the greens for pitch shots helping to make this course friendly to the high handicapper.
The Sun Mountain course is a perfect introduction to the Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort. Exceptional conditioning exists on all three courses. Dye emboldened Wolf course with the most ferocious teeth, but all three are worth playing when in Las Vegas.