|The Wolf course at the Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort is the longest of the three courses at the 54-hole complex. Being a Pete Dye creation (in collaboration with Perry and Cynthia), it wouldn’t be complete without an island green at the 182-yard 15th.|
I remember when I first found out about Las Vegas Paiute, it was the first time I learned about the legendary course designer Pete Dye. Learning about him, it put The Wolf course on my bucket list, which I chose to save for my College graduation. It’s also that he built these courses for the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe, giving the Native American Tribe a good source of income and kudos to them for allowing Pete Dye to do what he does best. As for if it lived up to my expectations…
The course is overall an amazing desert course design, with many wide-open fairways, some big waste areas, and the occasional water. There aren’t any overwhelmingly memorable holes (except for the obvious, see notable hole), it’s just solid golf design from one of Golf’s best architects. And the back tees will allow the pros to get a good challenge, but I wouldn’t call it a particularly brutal design, though that might have been because I played very well when I visited.
-15th: If this weren’t a Pete Dye design, they would be getting sued for plagiarism for this hole. Yes, it’s an almost exact re-creation of his famed TPC Sawgrass 17th hole. Much like that hole, your shot must be perfect to get on, otherwise a par will slip from your grasp.
I wouldn’t call The Wolf Course a must-play for Vegas golf tourists, just because faces some extremely stiff competition. But for Dye enthusiasts or those looking to Experience the knock-off TPC 17th at a fraction of the genuine article’s price, you won’t be disappointed. For those who frequent Vegas, it’s a worthy addition to the bucket list of courses to play.
The Wolf is the most heralded of the 3 courses at Paiute and is a Pete Dye design. Getting there is not for the faint of heart as it is almost an hour from downtown Las Vegas. The terrain surrounding the course is surreal, devoid of houses, which is great. I felt like I was playing golf on the moon. Also, when the water hazards have whitecaps it is EXTREMELY WINDY.
The first hole is welcoming. Slight dogleg left favor the right off the tee as there is a lot more room and you take the left fairway bunkers out of play. The 2nd is also a slight dogleg left, one of the shortest and easiest holes. You can drive thru the fairay, so definitely plan on cutting some of the corner. The first par 5 is only reachable by the stoutest of stout. Off the tee favor the left side to avoid the fairway bunkers right and then on your second shot favor the right to avoid the fairway bunkers left. It is absolutely not the 3rd hardest hole on the course. The first par 3 is long and uphill, with bunkers left and one right. The fifth is a tight dogleg right. Bunkers on the inside elbow and thru the fairway. The green is protected with a pot bunker front middle, bunkers left and rear right. The 6th is a good risk/reward par five. The green is reachable, but you will need to reach inside for some intestinal fortitude to carry the desert in front of the green. For the non-gamblers, and heck, you are in Las Vegas, right is safe but the green is very shallow. One of the easiest holes is followed by the toughest. A long uphill par four. To give yourself a chance, avoid the fairway bunkers right and take an extra club on the approach. The 8th is mid-distance par 3 that plays at least a club less. Aim for the left side of the green as the ball will channel right on this multi-tiered green. The front ends with a very long dogleg right. Cut as much as you can on this par four that is almost 500 yards from the tips. This is another multi-tiered green with a BAB on the right side.
The back starts with a reachable par 5. The key is avoiding the middle fairway bunker. The 11th is a birdie oppty, a short par where you should consider laying up. The 12th is a demanding Florida par 3 with water carry and all the way down the right side. Bailout is left. The 13th is a straight away par 5. Off the tee aim over the left side of the right fairway bunker. Another two-tiered green. The 14th is a sharp long dogleg right, the more aggressive the better. This two-tiered green is protected by 6 bunkers. The 15th is the signature hole, an island green. This one is much longer than Sawgrass and also much bigger and it is much windier. Our group, collectively, deposited 11 balls in the water hazard. I think a knock down shot is the best play. Oh, this is a three-tiered green. The 16th is an uphill dogleg right with 3 bunkers on the inside elbow and one thru the fairway. Make sure you take an extra club to this elevated green. The 17th is a long tough par 4. The preferred drive is down the right side, to avoid the crossing arroyo. If you are left, or short, it is deja vu all over again. You will need to carry the second crossing arroyo. The closing hole is a long downhill par four. Water right off the tee. On your approach there are bunkers front right, favor the left side of the green.
I am glad I played The Wolf. I would not necessarily describe it as fun, as I was whooped when the round was over. Probably, the windiest round I have ever played. I still highly recommend it.
A ways from Vegas but do not let this deter you from playing Paiute. Offers good golf for a good price. Good greens and fairways. An excellent value.
When we played the Wolf at Paiute I hadn't actually realised it was a Pete Dye course, but looking back it was clear to see his handiwork.
The course is an oasis of green plonked in the middle of barren desert. When you drive to the complex you struggle to see where 54 holes could be.
The course was in immaculate condition and just has that really inviting feel to it. A lot of the drives are angled off the tee and quite a few are over some scrubland, dependent upon the tee boxes you choose to play from. As others have already said it is likely to be windy if you play in the afternoon as it was for us.
The only signature hole is the par 3, 15th with a TPC Sawgrass style island green. I managed to succumb by hitting a skimmer across the water which didn't quite jump up high enough to get onto the green much to the delight of my playing partners.
Most of the holes have gentle undulations and interesting topography which keep you entertained during the round.
To summarise, the Wolf is a lovely course to play without there being any standout holes apart from the 15th.
There's been plenty said about the Wolf Course -- I enjoyed playing it and I see the course in the second tier of top courses that Pete Dye has done. The stunning aspect of the Wolf is the panorama provided when playing. It is clearly mesmerizing because there's no housing clutter. The key thing for those who are thinking in playing any of the three (3) courses at the facility is book one's tee times in the morning. You can be sure that by early afternoon -- sometimes it happens in the late morning -- the winds will really pick up. What kind of velocity? Try 5-6 club wind when it's really whipping about. The only way to succeed in such situations is to literally hit 5-foot high ropes that keep their head down at all times. When you stand over a putt you'll feel like the airmen who guide planes to take off from a carrier as the wind whips your pants wildly.
The Wolf mandates fine driving -- both length and accuracy at key times. Much is made of the island par-3 15th -- it actually makes the more famous 17th at TPC / Sawgrass as child's play -- because of the added length and hellacious crosswinds you'll encounter when playing.
I really enjoyed the concluding holes -- a good mixture of quality holes. The ending hole is reminiscent of the last hole at TPC / Sawgrass but without the hard movement to the left off the tee. Water hugs the right side here in the same manner as a youngster grasps his mother on the first day of school.
The Wolf has several holes where you either must deal with turning points of the fairway or where fairways taper down considerably. The best advice I can offer is to be smart about one's limitations and play one tee box in front of what you usually do. Survival is no small feat accomplished when playing in the afternoon here.
by M. James Ward
I've been lucky to make a couple of trips to Vegas and so have played quite of few of the many golf courses around the area. After the confections of Royal Links and Bali Hai and playing some of the other members courses, I discovered the Paiute resort and am very glad of such. The attention to detail is excellent, the golf is challenging and interesting and with a little flexibility, the rates are reasonable.
Whilst this Wolf layout is very good, I actually preferred the Sun Mountain course with its swales and bumps. Whichever course of the three you play here, I'm sure you'll enjoy the course, the desert views and the quality setup. Highly recommended.
Played here the day after Wolf Creek during a trip to Vegas, and whilst not in the same league as Wolf Creek, Paiute Wolf, did not disappoint.
As you drive to the complex, despite there being 54 holes, you cannot see the golf course. It's amazing. This doesn't stop during the round, with subtle undulations in the rocks and desert, every hole is individually set giving a feeling a tranquility unspoilt by other players.
Conditioning wise, the place was immaculate. We paid $95 all in (range balls, buggies included) on the first twilight time available for the day.
Well worth the trip north out of Vegas, offering much better value than any of the more local courses.
As a U.K. Native, you simply won't ever get the chance to play golf like this at home.
We would rent a car in LA and drive across the Mojave. We would stay in suites in the Hard Rock Hotel. And, I would play some golf, laughing while I did at my European friends hacking away in the mud while I reveled in the desert sunshine. My travelling companion isn’t a golfer, but I knew he’d happily sit in the bar and get himself slowly inebriated while I indulged my passion, so it seemed like the perfect holiday.
The only trouble is that, while I didn’t know it at the time, Las Vegas is actually rubbish. If you’re a celebrity with a million dollars to spend, I’m sure the craic is mighty, but to an average person it is a financial succubus of monumental proportions. The hotel rooms are next to nothing during the week, but the room fee includes nothing. There is an extra resort charge on every room for every night, you have to pay to use the swimming pool and the restaurants are all high end affairs which charge a fortune. We had lunch in Ceasars and it cost $200. We had dinner at The Venetian and it cost $300, without drinks! I tried to play blackjack in the Bellagio and it was $100 PER BET.
Yes, I know, you can go to other casinos off the Strip and do it cheaply, but when you’re in town for 2 or 3 days you want to go to the places that you’ve heard of. When you come home no-one says “Oh, did you go to Binions Gambling Hall?” They want to know what the MGM Grand was like, and so did I (scruffy, in case you were wondering).
So, I figured out pretty quickly that I wasn’t going to get away lightly from a round of golf and I needed to do some research. It seemed most of the courses downtown, like the Wynn and Bali Hai and the Las Vegas National were in the $300 - 500 a round area. A little too rich for me, especially as you can play at Pebble Beach for the same money. I also hadn’t brought clubs and by the time you added the rental on it was crazy money. On top of that most of them offered equally expensive caddies who are young, beautiful and scantily clad women and while I would normally shun such base objectification I (naturally) felt it would be a real shame to turn them down on the first tee when they were pouting for some business. Best to avoid the potential problem altogether.
In the end I found the Paiute Resort, which is in the desert just outside of town. They have three courses and the best of them, the Wolf Course, was a mere $150. By all accounts it was worth playing and so I booked the tee time online and drove out there early the next day.
I have to say that I was glad I did. The first thing that strikes you is that this is the desert. The Strip, everyone knows, is technically in ‘the desert’ but amidst all the lakes and fountains and watering holes you kind of forget. At Paiute, you can never escape it. It’s bleak, rocky and dry. The beautiful lush golf courses are framed by the ochre browns of the surrounding desert and in the distance you can see some pretty imposing mountains shimmering in the heat haze. If you look above you, there is the rather intimidating image of vultures circling. At least I think they were vultures. They were definitely birds and this is the kind of place that deals in fantasy.
It’s another great course built on Native American land and is run by the tribe. Like other courses of a similar heritage the clubhouse has a Grey Owl vibe, but the friendly staff stop it from being overly ridiculous. My $150 green fee already paid, I just had to hire my clubs, shoes and a golf cart, which I believe was mandatory (something which I have discovered to be quite common in US courses of a certain pedigree). I also realized there were no balls in the bag, nor tees and of course I needed a hat to stop being blinded by the sun. All in all this came to another $150, so about $300 all in.
To the range, which was big and well laid out, using the grass instead of mats, which is always nice. It was busy and the big American fellow next to me started to chat amiably, the way they do. I was trying to groove my hired driver and he told me that he had to change the shaft in his driver because before it was all over the place and “Now it’s a weapon, my friend. Now it’s a WEAPON” which was nice for him. I think. I’m not quite sure what kind of weapon he thought it was though as he kept hitting his drives into the rocks way off to the right, but hey, we all know Americans are better with volume than accuracy when it comes to armoury.
I mosied up to the first tee and the starter took pity on me playing alone and sent me out with three regulars who knew the course. It was a nice touch and frankly helped a lot. There’s nothing like a little local knowledge though I thought they were joking when they told me to watch out for rattlers when searching for balls in the rocks. It turned out they were deadly serious! Local fauna.
The desert here is rocky, not sandy and like a lot of desert courses you have the lush green of the fairways and then about 6 feet of rough before you hit the hard stuff, which means that you need to be accurate. I had a mixed day to be honest, but I hit a lovely drive on the first, which helped ease me into my new fourball. I actually hit the green in regulation but I was in for a lesson in desert greens. They are like glass and the ball rolls and rolls and rolls. I hit a putt that back home in Hertfordshire I would expect to roll about 10 feet. It didn’t roll ten feet. It didn’t roll 15 feet. It didn’t even roll twenty feet. It rolled about 35 feet, swinging left and right and eventually coming to rest off the green. I swore profusely and my companions roared with laughter. “Welcome to the desert!”
My abiding memory of the course was that it was well laid out, with interesting holes and hazards. I enjoyed it immensely, even if I didn’t play that well and the little touches are done very well. The tee markers are prodigious and well made, the signage is great and the paths and non playing areas are just as well maintained as the fairways and greens. It really is a class act that in Europe would be regarded as a top class facility. It’s most notable design features are the undulating fairways, which give it almost a links look, and the numerous bunkers. You would have thought that a course in the desert would have enough sand around it, but Pete Dye, who designed this course, is a bit of a nutter and evidently felt that he would carry the sandy design motif through the fairways and around the greens. Some of them are so deep they give the Hell bunker at St Andrews something to think about.
Pete Dye is famous for Sawgrass, home of the card wrecking 17th island green. Legend has it that it was his wife who suggested surrounding it with water instead of sand and it would be interesting to see if his wife had any hand in repeating the 17th island green here at Paiute Wolf with an island green on the 15th. I was feeling pretty anxious about this if I’m honest but I managed to hit my best shot of the day and planted it 10 feet from the hole. Result…and relax.
Dye’s philosophy appears to be that one should never leave a golf course to follow the flat terrain of its origins when you can instead move millions of tonnes of earth to create something wild and crazy. It’s course design at the extreme end but when you stand on the tees and look across at the topography he creates you can’t help appreciating the man’s vision. Paiute Wolf is no different and by all accounts his other two courses here, Sun and Snow, share the same design merits.
I had a lovely morning here and would play it again. It doesn’t have the cache of playing at Shadow Creek or the Wynn, but it’s a fraction of the price, the golf course is fantastic and your day will be just as memorable.
For me, however, I’ll probably not be back. I just can’t afford it again. Vegas took so much of my money in three days that I’ll still be paying the mortgage when I’m 75. And for the record, nothing naughty happened in Vegas, but my money definitely stayed there.