Take a trip along the Las Vegas hotelscape and be transported to nearly anywhere in the world for the privilege of depositing some hard-earned greenbacks. You like Italy, head to the The Venetian. Prefer France? Check out Paris Las Vegas. How about Egypt? Stay and play next to a sphinx at the Luxor. Or be taken for a rollercoaster ride right here in America at New York, New York. Rest assured, however, no matter where you stop on this corridor of illusions, the exchange rate remains the same.
If you prefer the magical greenery of a golf course, so far away, yet so close to these international gambling halls exists a slice of the South Pacific at Bali Hai Golf Club, adjacent to Mandalay Bay and the setting for round two of the Golf Road Warriors’ Vegas adventure. Upon first steps onto the grounds it’s visibly apparent that from the replica British Open holes at Royal Links GC to the sensation of the Carolina’s at Desert Pines GC, the tropical oasis of Bali Hai GC provides Walters Golf a trio of properties in Las Vegas more diverse than my trip mates.
Just a chip shot from fairways to runways, it seems a wonder the FAA provided clearance for 18 to be nestled in across the street from McCarron International Airport. Be that as it may, the project provided easy fly-in, fly-out access for the Schmidt-Curley design team that managed to transform the barren desert land into an exotic island retreat with white sand bunkers, cascading waterfalls surrounded by volcanic rocks and 4,400 Polynesian palms lining the wide-open fairways. Don’t forget to smell the 100,000+ tropical plants.
All aesthetics aside, Bali Hai GC does deal a powerful deck of holes. Try beating a strong hand of five par 4s, each over 460 yards, including holes 3 (468 yards), 8 (482 yards) and 13 (468 yards), plus a 1-2 finish of 484 yards at the 17th and 486 yards at No. 18.
Mai Tais anyone?! If you didn’t get enough on the course, head straight to Bali Hai’s ace in the hole, Cili Restaurant serving up plenty of tropical liquids along with American cuisine combined with Asian and Thai influences.
Playing Bali Hai GC may not be the easiest task while trying to block out the constant overhead aircraft but if you keep the mind focused on the ambiance, you can hear the Bali Hai lyrics from the musical, South Pacific, whisper, “Here am I, your special island! Come to me, come to me!”