Why Go?There are many things Vegas is not — inexpensive, uncrowded, overly refined — but golfers continue to flock here because, above all, it's fun. The weather is dependably warm and dry most months, the dining and nightlife are first-rate, and you can pick from among 51 golf courses. Oh yeah, and there's gambling.
Need to KnowTwo of the top Vegas golf courses require you to stay at their hotels to play. No ifs, ands or buts — even if you are the former leader of the Western world. To play Shadow Creek (above), the area's No. 1 course, you must be a guest at an MGM property. These include Bellagio, Mandalay Bay and MGM Grand. A complete list can be seen at www.mgmresorts.com. Only guests of Wynn Las Vegas and Encore are entitled to play the course adjoining that resort. It's No. 5 on our ranking. Cascata, our No. 2 course, used to require golfers to stay at one of the Caesars resorts, but now it's open to anyone.
All-in-One ResortSometimes getting from Point A to Point B can be a hassle. If you'd rather play all your golf in one spot, booking tee times at the Las Vegas Paiute Resort is a great option. It has three Pete Dye-designed courses right on site, all of them in our top 15, yet its prices are in the middle of the pack for Las Vegas. It's also known for outstanding package deals — check out "Golfapalooza" — and excellent service.
Dollars and SenseEveryone knows twilight rates are a great way to save money, but many Vegas courses have something extra: early morning rates. That's right, if you can drag yourself from bed — or maybe you just never go to bed? — and hit the first tee between 7 and 8 a.m., you can save 30 percent or more off the rack rate. Check courses' web sites for details.
High SeasonYou can play year-round, but spring and fall are definitely the prime times for golf here. Average high temps range from 67-88 in March-May and October-November. September is great too but expect some scorchers if you come in the early part of the month. Summer is blazing, with highs over 100 throughout June, July and August. In December and January, the thermometer might peak in the low 50s.