When discussing Dye-dedicated destinations, one cannot forget the public-access trove that exists just north of Las Vegas: The Paiute Golf Resort features 54 holes, all designed by Pete Dye, along with his son Perry and his niece, Cynthia Dye-McGarey. The first of those three courses to appear is now known as Snow Mountain.
Although considerably shorter than The Wolf, Snow has in some cases simply replaced the need for distance with the need for strategy. For example, both nos. 7 and 13 offer a chance to go for the green from the tee — by carrying a series of bunkers and a desert waste, respectively — but that doesn’t mean golfers should. This design strategy keeps scoring possibilities equal for those of lesser distance, even if the overall yardage seems short.
The resort also advertises the par threes at this 18 as the best on the property...a bold claim. Still, the 7,100 yards from the tip offer plenty of challenge for the average golfer, and a series of lakeside holes create the potential for disaster from any set of tees.
The third course at Paiute is its other "mountain" course: Sun Mountain.
The most pressing issue when coming to the 54-hole facility at Paiute Resort is being able to successfully cope with heavy wind velocities you're most likely going to encounter. The three courses are set in a valley floor bracketed by mountains in the distance and the result often means wind speeds easily exceeding 25 mph. If you want a clear picture of the scene -- think of the guy who stands on an aircraft carrier's deck signaling fighter jets to land -- pants flapping in the breeze and you'll get the idea on what being at Paiute can be about at certain times.
It's not a stretch to say those teeing off in the early morning will face a far different course than one played in the afternoon period.
Snow Mountain and Sun Mountain are the handiwork of the renowned Pete Dye. The other 18 called Wolf is the creation from Pete's son Perry Dye via Dye Designs.
For whatever reason, in Pete's later years a number of his designs featured an assortment of elements that clearly went over the top. -- see his effort at French Lick as a clear case study. The insertion of bunkers became a bit much -- ditto putting surfaces that looked like three-dimensional chess. Fortunately, the end result at Snow Mountain is clearly more subdued but still offers worthy challenges given the daily realities in where the courses are located.
The opening hole is clearly meant to get the golf muscles in working order as a par-4 just under 400 yards. Matters pick up considerably over the next few holes. The par-4 2nd is a fine dog-leg left hole and the par-5- 3rd that follows reverses direction and is exceptional for the risk/reward elements encountered. Holes 4-6 are very good -- mixing adroitly a par-3, par-4 and par-5 combination. The final hole on the outward half turns right around a water penalty area and showcases a green with several different internal movements.
The inward half commences with a fine cape-like hole. Golfers have to decide just how they wish to cut-off the water penalty area that lurks down the left side. The combination of holes is good and you do get a superb conclusion with the final trio -- a devilish par-3 at the 16th with the green deliciously placed just across a water penalty area and that appears smaller than it actually is. A penultimate par-5 that permits player to recoup a stroke before facing a strong two-shot hole with a water penalty area encountered on the drive and even more so with the approach to a green set behind a rock wall that will swiftly punish for eternity any half-hearted approach shot.
Snow Mountain showcases playability but not by acquiescing sloppy play. Pete's provided challenges that can be taken on by those believing they have the wherewithal to succeed. As I mentioned at the outset -- far too many of Pete's later courses were over-the-top creations doubling-down on the overkill eye candy elements. Snow Mountain is not vintage Pete Dye but it highlights a clear balancing act promoting sound golf without the inane theatrics. One final note -- all of the courses at Paiute are bolstered by the lack of housing or any other intrusive element that would interfere with the golf. Very few Vegas area courses can say that.
M. James Ward
54 hole complex worth your while! All the courses here are great.
Snow was the first course at Pauite. I think it is the weakest. The first hole is a welcoming dogleg left. An expansive fairway but favor the left side off the tee. Fairway bunkers left and right and one greenside right. The 2nd is another dogleg left with a split fairway. There is a fairway bunker on the inside elbow. The left fairway shortens the hole considerably but the risk is a wee bit higher. The first par five is reachable for big hitters but I do not think the risk warrants it. Fairway bunker right and two left and a water carry of you are going to go for it. Smarter play lay up left and hit an attack wedge into this well protected green. The 4th is a Florida par 3, mid-length and just about all carryover water to a redan green. The 5th is a long uphill dogleg left and the toughest hole on the course. Bunkers on the inside elbow, you want to cut as much as you can. Tough hole. The 6th is a par five that doglegs right. There is a generous landing area, however, the hole tightens significantly as you approach the green. The right greenside bunker is not a greenside bunker. The 7th is a fun hole, especially if you drive the green. Dogleg right with a gaggle of bunkers between the tee and the green. If you play safe, leave your driver in the bag. The 8th is a mid-length par 3 with a plethora of bunkers greenside right. The 9th is a dogleg right with a water hazard all the way down the right side. There is ample room left off the tee.
The back starts off with the opposite hand of the 9th, dogleg left with water all the way down the left side. The 11th is a long dogleg left par 5. Don’t even think of it. The drive is the easy shot to a large landing area. After that the hole tightens up and you will need to hit two good shots to have a chance at birdie. The 12th is a dogleg right par four with a bunker on the inside elbow. This is one of the more undulating greens and is protected with greenside bunkers right. The 13th is opposite hand the 7th. Short dogleg left, potentially driveable without as many sandtraps to carry. The 14th is a forgettable par 3 with bunkers right. The 15th leans right. Off the tee aim at the right hand side of the left fairway bunker. The par 3 16th is opposite hand the 4th just about all carry. The 17th is a long uphill left leaning par 5. As with most of his par fives, a broad landing area that tightens up the closer you get to the hole. On your second shot the line of flight is just inside the left fairway bunker. This will give you a great angle with an attack iron. The 18th is a good finishing hole. Long with water all the way down the left side with the green perched in the water hazard.
A good course but predictable, seemed like Dye was following a formula