Playing the Wynn Golf Club
With Reflections on the Encore Wynn Las Vegas

Story & Photos by: Ed Stone

Steve Wynn is a dreamer’s dreamer…and, he makes them come true in Las Vegas


EDITOR'S NOTE: Mr Wynn in reported the closure of this beautiful golf course on December 17, 2017. Most golfers will not miss playing the Tom Fazio design layout.  I was too expensive for the average golfer.  Was it worth the $500 price tag? If you were a big spender at the Encore, you might be rewarded play on the course. I'm sure Mr Wynn will use his business sense to turn the golf course's 137 acres into the Wynn Paradise Park. The $1.5-billion Paradise Park's 20-plus-acre lagoon with a beach, possibly another hotel tower and casino and extensive dining and nightlife attractions will be inclusive for all tourists instead of exclusive as a country club for golfers only.  We felt compeled to keep this story posted.

Encore Wynn Las Vegas is the sassy sister of the Wynn Las Vegas

Exterior of Encore Hotel

Recently Steve Wynn opened the new Encore Wynn Las Vegas Hotel, considered the opulent Wynn Las Vegas’ sassy sister.  If you haven’t been to Vegas lately or you have and just haven’t been by, then you should put the Encore on your list of  “must see places to stay and see.”

For the golfer, Steve Wynn has created a picture perfect golf course just out the back door of the Wynn and Encore Hotels.  The Wynn Golf Club is the only course on The Strip in Vegas and is considered one of Tom Fazio's best creations.  It should be stated that Steve Wynn was very much involved with designing the course.  Fazio also created Shadow Creek golf course (a property of the MGM/Mirage Resort) which is also considered one of the top three “high end” courses in Las Vegas.  The other course is Cascata (part of the Harrah’s operation) a Rees Jones design that opened 2000. 

 

Just out the back door is the Wynn Golf Course

Water comes into play quite frequently on the Wynn Golf Course

The Wynn Golf Club is built where the famous and storied Desert Inn Golf Club once was located.  From 1952 until 2002, the Desert Inn Golf Club staged matches and tournaments for some of the biggest celebrities of its time.  Construction on Wynn Golf Club began February 11, 2003 and concluded on April 22, 2005.  The first day of operation for the Wynn Golf Club was opening day of Wynn Hotel on April 28, 2005. 

The 137 acre layout will rival most, if not all courses with unlimited acreage.  For the golfer who wants a beautiful, challenging and close to all the action in Vegas, then this is your golf course.  Service to the guests is over the top. 

Upon checking in, you are greeted and introduced to your caddie.  From there, you are escorted to the changing lounge and offered refreshments and a pair of golf shoes, in case you did not bring a pair.  By the way, use of the latest Callaway Golf clubs and Foot Joy shoes are included in the price of your greens fee.  The caddie gratuity is not included, but is suggested during check in.
  
Having a caddie is always a treat no matter what the course.  But having one of the 30 caddies on the Wynn staff that knows the course and can read the greens is even better.  These well trained individuals also provide refreshments, bunker raking, suggest clubbing, and will gently tell you little pointers that will help your game. Craig Fuher has been a caddie at Wynn Golf Club since opening and knows the course like the back of his hand.  Prior to Wynn, he worked at Southern Highlands Country Club for some five years.  He carries a 4 to 5 handicap, has shot a 71 on this course.  Craig’s favorite hole is #15 of the Wynn which is a 167 yard, par 3. 

This 7,042 yards (tips) and 6,464 yards (forward) par-70 course is right on the famous Las Vegas Strip.  Over 800,000 cubic yards of earth were moved to create the dramatic elevation changes.  For instance, over 100,000 new shrubs were planted and roughly 1,200 existing trees were salvaged and relocated from the former Desert Inn Golf Course.  Many of these were more than 50 years old and over 60 feet tall.   Each tree and major shrub is tagged and numbered for inventory and caring purposes.  In addition to these features, water comes into play on 11 of the 18 holes with 4,600 lineal feet of stream and two marshland areas using natural groundwater.  The course culminates with a magnificent 37-foot waterfall as the focal point of the 18th hole.  You’ll notice there are no ropes, no stakes, no ball washers or trash cans on the Wynn Golf Club course.  Yes, the caddie takes care of all of these unsightly items.

When looking at the layout of the old Desert Inn Course, most all of the holes went east and west.  The Wynn Course primarily runs north and south.  Putting surfaces are Pennlinks II Bentgrass while the fairways and tees are Tifway II Hybrid Bermuda. The golf course is overseeded every fall with Palmer Prelude Ryegrass when the course is closed for 21 days to allow for growth and appearance.  We should note that the Wynn Golf Club boosts of having six  Class A members of the PGA on its staff.

The affable Brian Hawthorne is the director of golf for this very upscale operation.  A native of Ocala, Florida and a graduate of the University of Florida, he put some quality time in at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra 1995-97), TPC Heron Bay (1997) Florida and eight years at the TPC Summerland Las Vegas (1997-2000) and Cascata (2000-05) prior to heading up the Wynn Golf Club beginning in 2005. 

Playing a round in Vegas can mean a lot of things to a lot of people.  But playing a round of golf at the Wynn Golf Club is one of those experiences of a lifetime.  This is the way golf is intended to be played and enjoyed.


FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Wynn Las Vegas
3131 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV, 89109
Reservations Required
Hours of operation and Tee times vary seasonally.
Phone Number Pro Shop, 702-770-3575
Reservations, 702-770-4653
Website for Wynn Golf: www.wynnlasvegas.com/#golf
Website for Encore Wynn Las Vegas Hotel: www.encorelasvegas.com 
Website for Wynn Las Vegas Hotel: www.wynnlasvagas.com