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A top public course, given up for dead, shows signs of life

By Peter Finch

The best news in golf this week--better even than the jury verdict in Tiger Woods vs. Gotta Have It Golf Inc.--came from Henderson, Nev.

The new owners of Lake Las Vegas Resort plan to reopen Reflection Bay Golf Club by the end of this year. Arnold Palmer Golf Management is going to run it. Here is a good, thorough report on the situation from the Las Vegas Review Journal.

Lake Las Vegas is about a half-hour drive from the Strip, to the south.


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Shuttered for the past few years, the Jack Nicklaus-designed Reflection Bay was once a beautiful and a highly decorated golf course. (It's pictured left, in happier days.) Golf Digest ranked it among America's 100 Greatest Public Courses from 2003-2007, and it remained in our top 10 Nevada courses (public and private) through 2009.

Reflection Bay may not be the most natural golf course in the world. It goes a little heavy on the waterfalls at times. But it's a lot of fun, and it's certainly scenic. The course runs through a low part of the property, meaning it's nicely isolated from most of the resort's residential development. Five holes run alongside the manmade lake at the center of the resort. The green on the eighth literally falls into the water.

Once upon a time there were three courses at Lake Las Vegas: Reflection Bay, the Falls and the private South Shore Golf Club. There were plans for a fourth, the Tom Fazio-designed Rainbow Canyon, but the economy collapsed before it could be built.

South Shore is the only one of the three that's still open at the moment. The Tom Weiskopf-designed Falls course has been sitting dormant for several years, just like Reflection Bay. This is especially troubling to the resort, as the Falls borders the entrance. The first thing you see when pulling into Lake Las Vegas is a massive expanse of unwatered grass. Not exactly a welcoming sight.

The resort's new owners have a plan to remedy that. But if you loved the Falls golf course, you're out of luck. The course will remain closed and, green though it may be, the land will be used for housing.

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July 28, 2014

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