Historic Las Vegas National Offers More Than A Memorable Round Of Golf
The next time you are looking for an enjoyable and memorable golf experience in Las Vegas, consider the golf course that carries the town’s name – Las Vegas National.
And while you are at it, build in some time to take in the history of not only this 60-year-old track, but also of Vegas golf in general, as the Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame is housed there.
Las Vegas National, a Bert Stamps design located just minutes off the Las Vegas Strip, is maintained by Pro Turf International, a Las Vegas-based, family owned construction, landscape and golf maintenance company with over 30 years of hands-on experience in the Southwest. Led by Pro Turf International Director of Maintenance Jared Bumpus and Golf Course Superintendent Nathan Shipley, the PTI team at LVN always has the course in pristine condition.
The golf course provides a diverse experience with a wide variety of challenges. LVN is a traditional, oasis styled golf course with thousands of trees, which places a premium on accuracy off the tee. The course features fairways that meander in the shadows of proud palm trees and elevated greens that are guarded by deep, yawning bunkers. It is truly a parkland-style layout far different from most of the golf offerings of the desert region.
The course opens and closes with a pair of challenging par 5’s, and features five par 3’s that will test your iron game. The 18th is one of the best finishing holes in Las Vegas. Appropriately named “Casino,” this risk-reward hole doglegs right around two lakes, setting up the choice of playing it safe with your second shot, or going for broke to a three-tiered, well-bunkered green.
This iconic club, which opened in 1961 as the Stardust Country Club, has hosted many professional tour events, with such names as Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino and Mickey Wright claiming victories there. Las Vegas National was part of the rotation when Tiger Woods recorded his first professional victory in the 1997 Las Vegas Invitational. Tiger shot his highest round of the tournament on this course – 70.
“The golf course itself is reason enough to visit Las Vegas National,” said Bumpus. “It is challenging, but if you keep it in play you can post a good score. If you enjoy history, it doesn’t get any better than LVN. They’ve done a great job of walking you through the history of golf in Las Vegas and of this iconic property.”
A round at LVN is like a stroll through a history museum. It starts in the clubhouse, where the Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame is housed. The exhibit area features an extensive Las Vegas golf timeline that brings to life such important events as the PGA Tour’s inaugural Tournament of Champions that was played at Las Vegas’ Desert Inn Golf Club in 1953; the 1983 Panasonic Las Vegas Pro-Celebrity Classic, the PGA Tour’s first-ever tournament with a million-dollar prize purse; professional victories at Las Vegas golf events by Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Tiger Woods, Mickey Wright, Annika Sorenstam, Greg Norman and Karrie Webb; and the 1998 UNLV NCAA Men’s Golf Championship.
There are many other highlights, including photos of Hall of Fame members, and images of the Rat Pack – Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop. Stories abound of how those entertainment icons gathered around the piano, entertaining guests with songs and stories following a late day match on the storied links.
The history continues as you make it to the No. 1 tee box, where you will find the first of numerous signs throughout the course that provide the history of famous homes and people who have lived there. For instance, along the left side of the opening fairway is the house featured in the 1995 movie “Casino,” starring Robert DeNiro, Sharon Stone and Joe Pesci. It points out that the owner of the second house on the left was former CIA agent Robert Mehue, who helped Howard Hughes secure several Vegas casino properties.
Another sign at 15 tee tells the story of aviator Robert Timm, part of a duo that piloted a single engine Cessna 172 in 1959 for 64 days, 22 hours, 19 minutes and five seconds, setting the world record for the longest non-stop re-fueled flight. He lived in the first house along the fairway.
At No. 18 you learn about Fred Benninger, owner of the second home on the left. He started out shining shoes in New York before eventually becoming a successful pilot, airline executive and an officer with several Vegas hotels.
Combine the touch of history with a really fun golf course and you have one of the great golf experiences in Las Vegas.
ABOUT PRO TURF INTERNATIONAL
PTI is a Las Vegas-based, family owned construction, landscape and golf maintenance company with over 30 years of hands-on experience in the Southwest. They proudly serve the golf, sports and landscape industry to enhance quality and improve conditions in a safe, environmentally friendly manner. For more information call (702) 315-5121, or visit www.ptigolf.com.
ABOUT LAS VEGAS NATIONAL
Las Vegas National Golf Club, located less than 10 minutes from the world famous Las Vegas Strip, is a classic and traditional style 18-hole championship golf course that provides golfers of all skill levels with a unique challenge. The par 71-course features thousands of trees, well positioned sand bunkers and a few water hazards that protect lush fairways and manicured greens.
“The National”, designed in 1961 by architect Bert Stamps, has a rich history to say the least. The course hosted a number of LPGA & PGA events including the Tournament of Champions, Sahara Invitational and the Las Vegas Invitational, and was the site of Tiger Woods’ first professional victory.
During the 1960’s, The National played host to the big names of the Strip. The Rat Pack frequently played golf then spent time in the bar, entertaining around the piano. For more information about Las Vegas National visit www.lasvegasnational.com.