8 things to know about The Summit Club, the uber-exclusive host venue of the 2021 CJ Cup
LAS VEGAS — With play underway at the 2021 CJ Cup, golf fans will get their first look at The Summit Club, the uber-exclusive host venue of this year’s tournament. Situated between the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and the Las Vegas strip, the course is arguably the most visually stunning layout Sin City has to offer.
Here’s what you need to know about The Summit Club before it gets its TV closeup.
The elevation changes are drastic
Right from the first tee, you get the sense that there will be some seriously downhill tee shots. The opener is by far the most inviting—a downhill short par 4 for both pros and amateurs. The longer hitters will be able to get very close to the green from the back tee, and had Bryson DeChambeau played this week, there’s no question he had the firepower to drive it. Expect a ton of -1 through 1’s on your PGA Tour leader board app.
The elevation changes also make for a pretty tough walk. It’s quite clear this is a club where carts are king for the members, but this week pros will be doing some serious hoofing, especially to each tee box. Those post-round naps Brooks Koepka is so fond of will be well-earned.
This also, obviously, makes for some stunning views of the strip. The first tee and the par-5 sixth tee are the two highlights. I would imagine playing a late-night nine at dusk, with the strip lit up, is a sight to behold.
The course itself is extremely fun
Unfortunately, yours truly only got to play the front nine in the pro-am, but I still saw enough to become a fan of the layout. Obviously, course designer Tom Fazio is a controversial one among Golf Architecture Nerd Twitter, and there are some decidedly Fazio features at The Summit Club—man-made creeks, palm trees placed in the middle of the desert, lush green grass that obviously needs excessive watering. It definitely leaves you feeling like it's all a little over-the-top, but I was able to overcome these hardships and soldier on.
As for the pros, the place drew rave reviews in pre-tournament press conferences. There will be birdies, plenty of them. The greens are as pure as they come, and as long as they keep the ball out of the desert, there isn’t too much trouble off the tee or around the greens. Other than dealing with a little math with all the elevation changes, these guys will have no problem going low.
The houses on the property are out of control
Breaking news: massive, exclusive property has massive, multimillion dollar homes on it. But yeah, they are all out of control. The Summit Club, which is a joint venture between Discovery Land Co. and the Howard Hughes Corporation, began pre-selling lots in 2015 and closing on them in 2016. According to my caddie from the pro-am, the lots of dirt started at around $1.5 million, and may have already jumped to north of $5 million due to the high demand (yes, that’s before the house is actually built). Celine Dion’s house is a standout, and Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis and Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley also have homes on the property, too. It was reported in July that The Summit Club has sold all but five of its 150 custom lots, and it’s already sold 29 of the 31 luxury condominiums. Because of that, plans were announced to add 20 more condominiums. The “smaller” version of those units, which are 2,690 square feet, will start at $7.5 million, and the penthouse units, which are 4,905 square feet, will start at $15 million. L(augh)O(ut)L(oud).
Security is TIGHT
More breaking news: the multimillion dollar homes and the club itself are on absolute lockdown security-wise. I made the mistake of originally showing up without a credential and was subsequently stopped at the front gate with the guard, a former marine, and had to wait there for 10 to 15 minutes until a PGA Tour communications person vouched for me. I was then escorted to the media center by a former NYPD cop, who took it easy on me because I was wearing a New York Rangers hoodie. Sometimes, you get lucky.
You could live at the practice areas
Everything at The Summit Club is pristine, pristine, pristine, but the practice areas are particularly elite. The wide-sprawling range has an incredible view of the desert mountains and the short-game area could double as a par-3 course. For the members, it must be hard to leave and actually go play the golf course.
You can gain five pounds at the comfort stations
Another controversial topic on Golf Twitter—comfort stations! It’s understandable, because they can potentially bog down play and take away from the actual golf experience, which is what a great golf course should be all about. BUT, I wasn’t complaining when I locked eyes with a damn bagel bar that featured numerous cream cheese options, the countless candy jars and the smoothie bar that had every smoothie ingredient you could possibly dream up. Alex Noren, one of the pros in my Pro-Am group, went absolutely HAM at the comfort station on the sixth tee, going bagel-hot dog-smoothie, in that order. Cam Davis, a pro in the group behind me (there was a big backup at the comfort station, shocker), threw a damn piece of bacon on his hot dog and scarfed it down in three bites. Much like the range, I’m not sure how members find the courage to leave the comfort station and continue playing golf.
The best spot on the course might be a tunnel
After playing the short par-3 seventh, players have to walk through a tunnel to the eighth tee, a tunnel that is blasting strictly Frank Sinatra songs on loop all day. A nice little Las Vegas touch. This is also where I was informed that there are five secret spots on the course where members hide tequila shooters in coolers, and the way to identify approximate locations is that they are all by agave plants, if you know what those look like.
The course record belongs to Maverick McNealy, not Collin Morikawa (we think)
During his pre-tournament press conference, Collin Morikawa, a member at The Summit Club, said his low score on the course is 62. He then confirmed that Maverick McNealy, also a member, may actually have the course record of 61, though he wasn’t sure if it was the official course record. It feels like a safe bet to say it is, though nothing is a safe bet in Las Vegas.