A Review of TPC Las Vegas (aka, The Canyons)

October 6, 2010

This being the first course review written for this blog, I’m not sure exactly what to write. The caveat to this review: my experience was more than just the course’s describable features.

A little background: my co-author (LG) and I met and became friends as interns working together in Palo Alto, CA. Through some random luck, we found out we both liked golf and, through the next few years, learned more and more about each others’ games. After some time, we started planning trips–a run down to Carmel, CA, to play Spyglass Hill and Spanish Bay, a few trips to Las Vegas to try different courses (including a drive to Mesquite to play Wolf Creek–twice), and a well-planned trip through Alabama on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.

Through our trips, we managed to arrive at TPC Las Vegas twice–first in April 2010. TPC Las Vegas was the third course we had played in 4 days, including two 18-hole rounds at Wolf Creek in Mesquite, NV. Fortunately for my back, we actually had to take a “rain check” due to excessive winds after playing only 9 holes.

Determined to make it back and finish the round, we planned a trip for early August 2010. The timing was not coincidental. We had both finished law school and spent the entire summer studying for our respective bar exams (LG in California, JK in Georgia).

A quick aside for those that don’t know much about the bar exam: each state decides to thoroughly and painfully torture every person who wants to practice law within the state by administering a test know as “The Bar.” This test is like a random sampling of topics that you may or may not have covered over the prior three years of law school. Your inability to answer the questions on this exam means that you will be unable to work as an attorney–or, in other words, you won’t be permitted to earn a living. Imagine it this way: think back to when you were graduating high school. You didn’t take every single course the school had to offer, but you had the basics–English, History, Math, and most of us were afraid of Sciences. But, at least we had had those subjects. Now, imagine that, before you can graduate high school and move on with life, you have to take a test. One of the questions on the test asks you which US ship was referred to as “Old Ironsides.” The next question asks you which elements make up the halide group. The following question asks you what a driver should do if he sees a flashing yellow light. And the next one asks you to find the limit of f(x) as x goes to infinity of f(x)=1/x. Hopefully, the introduction of mathematical formulas has brought enough fear into this description to fully describe the essence of the Bar.

In any case, having taken the Bar, we decided to embark on a journey to Las Vegas to play the course that had gotten away. Did it ever live up to the billing.

Measuring at 7050 yards from the back tees, the course seems formidable at first–until you realize that the ball travels a little farther in the desert air. A beautiful patch of green fairway split the rocky desert on each hole. As intimidating as the rocks be, the fairways and greens were even more impressive. When we played in April 2010, the greens were rolling at 13.5 on the stimpmeter (which the starter volunteered). Although they were considerably slower on this occasion (due to the intense summer heat in the desert), they still were smooth and consistent, rolling at least 10.5.

One of the most interesting aspects of the course: entering the desert to find and play your golf ball is totally permitted–and even encouraged. Rental sets at the course include a “rock club,” which looked extremely knurled and knicked.

Perhaps the highlight of playing the course was the par 3 12th hole. Although only 145 yards, the flight to the green was all carry over a hazard. The hole provided the greatest firework show of the day. Having placed my ball on the green, LG topped his (for a perfect layup short of the hazard), and then laid a gap wedge onto the green. Both of us about 35 feet away, I putted first (because I was borrowing LG’s putter–I didn’t want to bring mine through the airport after having it scratched when traveling earlier). A well-struck putt sailed into the cup as I raised the putter into the air. LG putted next. With the ball only 10 feet off of the face, he harkened back to Family Guy, singing “ball in a cup, ball in a cup, it’s a ball in a cup.” A miraculous birdie and par, and the two of us had made our putts.

The course itself just kept getting more incredible. The Canyon holes were amazing. The course finished on an excellent par 4 with a lake just left of the green.

All-in-all, the course was amazing, and the perfect end to a stressful week. Although I probably wouldn’t play the course again–there are just so many others to choose from–I would definitely recommend this spot to anyone.

Cost: $150 in April, $90 in August

Temperature: 55 and windy in April, over 100 and VERY dry and hot in August

Carts and range balls were included

Check out the course website at http://www.tpc.com/tpclasvegas_58.aspx

And, if you do plan to play there, check out this website–which is pretty hard to find these days:


BTW, for those interested, the answers to the “Graduation Test”:
1. The USS Constitution
2. Fluorine, Chlorine, Bromine, Iodine, and Astantine
3. Yield to traffic from other directions–treat it as a yield sign
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One Response to “A Review of TPC Las Vegas (aka, The Canyons)”

  1. […] started: TPC Las Vegas. Our reviews (https://thepowerfade.com/2010/10/06/tpc-las-vegas-part-ii/ and https://thepowerfade.com/2010/10/06/a-review-of-tpc-las-vegas-aka-the-canyons/) highlighted some of the good things. After four years, a return trip seemed like a good […]

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