165. Southern Highlands Golf Club
Robert Trent Jones Jr. (2000)
Although Southern Highlands was billed as a co-design between Robert Trent Jones Jr. and his famous father, in truth the senior Jones, who would die in 2000, was retired by the time construction on this lavish Las Vegas layout began in 1998. Still, there’s a plaque on the 12th hole proclaiming it to be the last hole Mr. Jones ever designed. Regardless, Southern Highlands reflects his son Bobby’s design tenets and visuals. The Highlands was always intended to be Bobby’s answer to Tom Fazio’s Shadow Creek (ranked No. 16), but with a more financially sensible real estate component. It has the same Carolina-pines motif, the same sprawling, overly elaborate bunkers, the same kinetic water features and, if anything, even more elevation change, with the 11th tee box sitting ten stories above the fairway and providing an unobstructed view of the Las Vegas Strip several miles to the north.
Second 100 Greatest history: Ranked on America's Second 100 Greatest, 2013 to current. Highest ranking: No. 162 (previous)
Panelist comments, Southern Highlands Golf Club:
"A very nice Robert T. Jones Sr. and Robert T. Jones Jr. golf course looking down over Las Vegas. One of the best in the area, only downside is the homes right next to the course on one side or the other on every hole."
"Southern Highlands presents a diverse array of challenges. Long, yet reachable, risk/reward par 5's, a driveable par 4, unique par 3's, effective elevation changes, strategically placed water hazards, and a plethora of pin positions that can make a hole play differently every day."
"At first glance the course appears simple, but once you start planning the approach to each hole they reveal subtle complexity. Reading the greens takes experience--or trust in one's caddie—and the first impression of many holes changes after looking at the hole working backward from green to tee. Though I played during the cold season, conditioning was first rate."
"While my feelings leaving the course were that the variety was excellent, as I went through hole by hole, I realized that there were too many par 4’s with average distance, especially when you can get lots of roll from the right kind of drive."
"Pleasant golf course with lots of interesting risk reward options for a RTJ Jr. course. Maybe a bit easy for the really good players, but a fun, challenging, and beautiful test for most amateurs. Would be better if more strategy were involved on the back nine."