Reflection Bay Golf Club at Lake Las Vegas is the only Nicklaus Signature design in Nevada and it hosted the now defunct Wendy’s 3-Tour Challenge (1998 to 2007), when 3-person teams from the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour and Champions Tour played each other in a unique event.
It's amazing how Reflection Bay started on the most grandiose of plans. The concept was to create a second city with Reflection City at the epicenter. Then the housing bubble burst in the 2007-2009 period and what was going to be Shangri-La turned out to be a near ghost town.
The Jack Nicklaus layout actually closed for a period of time but has been resurrected. The same cannot be said for the companion Tom Weiskopf course which was shuttered a few years back.
The Nicklaus team created a very ambitious routing that takes you up and down and throughout the property. There's sufficient width given the resort status but there's also enough challenges to keep the better players interested. The first six holes are satisfactory but it's at the par-4 7th where things begin to ramp-up. The dog-leg right is brilliantly strategized with a pesky creek that runs on an angle in the drive zone. The green is also well done -- bunkers protecting it and with sufficient contour to punish the amateurish putter. The following par-3 8th brings you back to Lake Las Vegas and is done well. The closing 9th hole for the outward half is a quality par-4 that turns left in the drive zone with water hugging close enough ont hat side.
The inward half is a rollicking adventure. After a good mid-length par-4 at the 10th you ascend hillier terrain with a routing that smartly goes back and forth until you reach the par-3 17th which is identical to the 8th -- the main difference being Lake Las Vegas is now on your right. Nicklaus concludes the round with a first rate par-5 working its way back to the clubhouse and with the Lake all the way down that side.
Reflection Bay is a quality layout but the key will be in getting the turf quality up to where it was originally. When I was there the speed and consistency of the green was suspect. Ensuring there are level tees on all the holes is also needed. If all can be rectified there's no reason why Reflection Bay cannot return to an even higher level. The work team Nicklaus did provides for a quality routing and a good variety of holes. The conditioning dimension will only heighten those elements in a big time manner. We shall see.
by M. James Ward