I had the pleasure of playing Coyote Springs Golf Club (formerly The Chase) in mid 2011. Many thanks to the staff there, especially assistant pro Rob Sanders and pro Todd Michaelsen. Since my first trip to Coyote Springs I’ve been salivating at the chance to get back down there and test my game out a 2nd time. I had the chance to to play a 2nd round there around July, but unfortunately I had to cut a HOG World Tour trip short due to a family emergency. The emergency ended up okay, no worries, except for the heartbreak of missing out on an opportunity to play this fantastic track again.
Location Location Location?
Coyote Springs is located in the Nevada desert. If you are a golfer looking to get away from it all, this would be the place. The course is about an hour drive northeast of Las Vegas and about a 45 minute drive southwest of Mesquite. The road in to the course is very hilly and full of curves. Make sure you’re awake and sober for that one.
The area the course is situated is big. BIG. I can’t think of any other word to describe it. The sky is big, the landscape is big and the number of miles you can see is big. The views from any vantage point on the course reach for miles, with mountains framing the landscape. The contrast of the green grass and blue water features with the gray desert landscape is striking.
Jack Nicklaus Signature Design
Coyote Springs opened in 2008. The course was designed by Jack Nicklaus. The terrain the course occupies is very rugged, jagged and dry. I’m sure the harsh terrain presented many challenges to Jack when he was routing the course and shaping the holes.
The style is what I’d call a “desert” track. Many native desert areas must be carried from the tee and on a few approach or layup shots. Missing fairways or greens can result in golf balls ending up in the desert areas, which with their hard ground, rocks and cacti, present a whole different set of challenges.
Total yardage for the course from the tips (Black Tees) is 7,471 with a slope of 141. In English: “This is a big boy course.”
I played the Black Tees and it is one tough track, but not unfair.
For players who prefer a little less of a challenge, there are three other sets of tees for players of varying ability.
Tee shots at Coyote Springs are a blast. And you must blast many tee shots to get yourself into the best position to score well on the par-4’s and par-5’s. Forced carries are common.
Some tee boxes are target style grass pads surrounded by desert while the rest flow to the next tee and/or to the fairway.
The looks from the tees, both at the target area and the surrounding landscape are tremendous. The way the holes and landing areas frame up to the player on the tee are both awe inspiring and intimidating. That being said, a player playing from the proper tee will find the fairway fairly easy to hit.
There are many interesting qualities/challenges which come with fairways at Coyote Springs. The fairways themselves aren’t crazy narrow, but they still require proper placement from the tee and even better a proper shot shape.
Most of the fairways have rolling hills and humps which can cause some interesting links-style bounces. Stances on the fairways can be challenging too, such as having a fade lie and needing to hit a draw to have the best shot at getting close to the pin on the approach.
Missing fairways at Coyote Springs can mean a few challenging options may occur. A fairway missed by only a few feet will likely end up in the limited rough. Any miss beyond that and one might find a challenging fairway bunker which will make it tough to make par. Trust me. I know.
Waste areas line many fairways. These areas are made up of tiny little pebbles. I was worried about scratching my irons when I went into one, but no damage. Some waste areas are well defined, while some blend right into the ragged desert.
The green complexes at Coyote Springs are what I’d call “modern Nicklaus” design. Jack has always seemed to like guarding greens with a lot of bunkers and this course is no different. There are also many false fronts or ridges which must be carried to reach the greens. Surrounding the greens are many hills and bowls which make chipping challenging but fun.
These green’s surfaces are large and have many quadrants which are separated by tiers and collection areas. Every green has several obvious pin positions. Once again from my personal experience, it can be a tough two putt when going from one quadrant to another. Two putting is challenging put possible from just about anywhere on the green, as it should be. As logic dictates, being above the hole is not a good spot to try and one or two putt from.
These bunkers are a modern-retro-natural style. In other words, they’re not the pretty, perfectly round shaped Mickey Mouse ear bunkers you might find at a resort course. These bunkers have many jagged edges and thin fingers which can present very tough shots. These bunkers do what bunkers should do, force the player to make a great bunker shot or great putt to save par.
The practice facility is as good as any practice facility I’ve been to, including Augusta National. The range is possibly the biggest range I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a few.
But the facility isn’t just about being big. It is about being useful. There are many short game areas, practice bunkers, greens, trees and areas players can work on facet part of their game.
Since opening in 2008, Coyote Springs has won numerous awards, including:
#4 – Golf Week’s Best Courses You Can Play 2010
Top 10 Courses You Can Play – Golf.com
America’s Best New Courses – Golf Digest
Best New Golf Courses In America – GolfLasVegasNow.com
America’s Top Golf Courses – Zagat
Jack Nicklaus Interview
I’m working on an interview with the man himself, Jack Nicklaus. I’ve been in touch with his design firm and they did agree to have Jack answer some of my questions about the course design when his schedule allows. When that interview is done, I’ll be proudly posting it. Stay tuned.
If Coyote Springs was in Las Vegas, it would be priced right up there with Cascata, Rio Secco and Wynn at $300-$500 per round. I loved playing this very fun and challenging course and I can’t wait to get back there.