Formerly known as TPC at The Canyons, the course at TPC Las Vegas is one of the few PGA Tour tracks that are available for public play.
Designed by Bobby Weed with help from Raymond Floyd, the 7,104-yard course – described as “desert elegance” – opened for play in 1996 and was built in an environmentally friendly manner where dramatic carries over deep arroyos and desert scrub provide for a testing and memorable round, especially when the wind blows as it so often does here during the spring months.
In its first ten years of operation, TPC Las Vegas (then TPC at The Canyons) played host to Champions Tour events and the Las Vegas Invitational (now the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open).
Even though we were playing Wolf Creek and the Wolf course at Las Vegas Paiute, in the same week, we were still quite excited to be playing an ex-PGA Tour course to see what the top pros had to face.
And we certainly weren't disappointed. TPC Las Vegas is an absolutely cracking course. We played it in 40 degrees in mid June and the course was in perfect condition. You got plenty of run on your drives and felt like a tour pro with the distances being achieved from the tee.
After a gentle first hole, the 2nd is a knee trembling par 3 with an island green, devoid of water. This had a rather disconcerting effect as you wondered what the rulings might be if your ball failed to find the dancefloor!
As with a lot of desert courses, there is gorgeous backdrop which in this case is provided by the Red Rock Canyon, so if your round is going west, you can always take in the majestic scenery.
The front 9 is solid and the course is quite a technical one with strategic bunkering and sloped greens to make you think but it is the back 9 when TPC Vegas truly comes alive.
The par 3 12th is a fine hole but extremely difficult. You have to hit over a canyon and then try to get enough loft to keep your ball on the green. The 14th is a scary drive over a canyon to a fairway which angles sharply to the right. Not only do you have to contend with keeping your ball airborne you also have to consider how much of the canyon to cut off. Following the tee shot you're likely to play your approach shot over the same canyon. What makes the canyon so special is that it looks like a tectonic faultline running through the back 9 which has a real visceral impact.
The 18th finishes with a drive that requires a carry and your first contention with water which runs along the left hand side of the fairway and a nice way to finish a great round of golf.