Shadow Creek was the vision of casino magnate Steve Wynn, who acquired a flat, 300-acre tract of desert to the north of Las Vegas in the mid-1980s then brought in Tom Fazio to fashion a high-end golfing oasis for his resort guests, spending around $50 million to create the top manufactured golf course in all of America – take a look via google maps if you‘re in any doubt about how differently this layout looks in relation to its immediate surroundings.
Fazio’s huge budget allowed him to move millions of cubic yards of dirt to build hills, creeks, lakes and ponds, and to plant mature pine trees around and within the property to isolate the holes from one another – and keep the outside world at arm’s length. The entire layout is totally artificial but you would never know, such is the skill with which the whole project was put together.
Darius Oliver had this to say about Shadow Creek in his book Planet Golf USA: “The creation of Shadow Creek reset the benchmarks for modern golf, and it seemed to encourage other developers to throw vast amounts of money at projects in the hope of emulating its success.
Large budgets alone, however, can only guarantee expensive courses; they provide no assurance of quality. Without the assistance of more fertile golfing terrain, the reality is that very few courses built on such barren land will ever match what Steve Wynn and Tom Fazio achieved at Shadow Creek.”
Once the preserve of the limited few, Shadow Creek can now be shared. You’ll need a few dollars, but you’ll start your journey as a guest of the MGM Mirage™ Resort and they’ll rest you overnight in one of their suites and after breakfast you’ll be taken by stretch limo to the course where your caddy will be waiting for you. Sounds yummy eh? Well, we are now frantically saving up.
Shadow Creek opened for play in 1989 and Tom Fazio & Andy Banfield sculptured it out of the rugged Nevada desert. It’s set in the most breathtaking location with the majestic mountains as the backdrop and seeing really is believing. With Bermuda grass summer fairways and winter rye, the playing surfaces are quite stunning throughout the year.
Words don’t do Shadow Creek justice. “Shadow Creek may be the most spectacular golf course this side of heaven” is how the course is lauded in the marketing material. But more importantly, we’d love to hear what you think about the whole Shadow Creek experience.
Revisiting my post from my first play, I still can remember 17 - it is memorable, but so was my blind date with ...
Memorable just as balls-to-the-wall hard isn't a good thing in and of itself, hideous is memorable
My opinion of Shadow Creek remains pretty much unchanged, it is now architecturally nothing special, It is a Fazio golf course. He being a man who I directly heard say , proverbially mouth to ear that "There was no golden age of golf architecture", He said he can do whatever he wants (and as long as someone pays him or doesn't stop him - he will.
This course when new was a remarkable effort to satisfy a wealthy man with macular degeneration (special sight deficiency) very costly at the time. Great.
Historically, I suppose if you think that's cool - good for you, but Fazio has proven to not understand golf architecture and show proper respect. He created several visual monstrosities at Pine Valley denigrating the place and it all started here at Shadow Creek.
17 remains a stinker.
Someone here says "This is Fazio at his best" - let's call him a plastic surgeon - if you like that sort of result, great.