350 acres. 27 holes. No houses. Dense forest. Dramatic undulations. Large elevation changes. Tough test. Big course.
Today was the last leg of the 2014 HOG World Tour Michigan trip. The venue is was Shepherd’s Hollow Golf Club in Carkston, Michigan. What a place.
Shepherd’s Hollow Golf Club
Unfortunately the last three days have been very rainy, with literally no blue sky. So my photos are not great.
I’ll post a review and photo gallery of Shepherd’s Hollow soon. Stay tuned.
We tried to get a round in today at Michigan’s Northville Hills, but Mother Nature had other plans. On the 7th tee a black cloud hit with high winds and severe rain.
18th Green – Northville Hills
The rain hit us just as we were ducking for cover in the clubhouse. In just a few seconds we were drenched. Unfortunately there was no chance of getting in the remaining 11 holes.
Today’s World Tour stop was at a great university golf course here in Michigan designed by Rick Smith. The course is the R&S Sharf course, a very difficult 7,225 yard course which rates at 75.2 with a slope of 145 from the tips. I played from the Grizzlies tees, one up from the tips. Those tees rate at 73.1 with a slope of 141, still very difficult. I was happy to shoot a 77 in very high winds, after starting with a double.
R&S Sharf Course Michigan
This is quite an amazing piece of land and the holes are fantastic. I just wish the skies would have cooperated for better photos. They were gray most of the day.
Stay tuned for more HWT posts this week while I’m in the great golf state of Michigan!
What a tour stop today for the Hooked on Golf Blog World Tour. Today was a round of golf at the University of Michigan Golf Course. This course was designed by Alister MacKenzie, the architect who designed Augusta National Golf Club. Check this photo out:
University of Michigan Golf Course
It has been a long day of traveling, and experiencing some great Michigan golf. It has been especially draining due to the humidity. I’ve already got a bit of a headache, due to being a bit dehydrated.
Stay tuned for more on the HWT and more from Michigan!
There are many amazing golf choices in Las Vegas and I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing quite a few. For non-residents the cost of a round of golf in Las Vegas can be quite painful, upwards of $300-$500. There are great values to be found in the area though. With great weather most of the year, conditioning is usually quite good even on courses which are not as expensive. Today’s review features one of the lesser known and better values in Vegas golf, Rhodes Ranch Golf Club.
Rhodes Ranch Golf Club – Aerial photo © by Tony Korologos – click to zoom
Rhodes Ranch Overview
Rhodes Ranch is roughly a 30 minute drive southwest (depending on crazy Vegas traffic) from the Las Vegas Strip. From the south end of the Strip it could even be as short as 15-20 minutes.
Rhodes Ranch opened in 1997. The course occupies over 160 acres which feature very undulating topography. Those undulations were masterfully used by course architect Ted Robinson Sr., to produce fun challenges and interesting shot options for the player.
The course measures 6,909 from the tips, not terribly long. Length is great, but the course plays better with a more strategic approach. There are many risk/reward opportunities and holes which one can take conservative approaches or opt for more aggressive play. Much of the course is lined by tall, mature palm trees.
First hole heads toward the Las Vegas Strip – click to zoom
Tee shots at Rhodes Ranch are visually pleasing and not extremely threatening, barring a few forced carries. Landing areas are usually obvious, some tempting the player to cut the corner of doglegs.
Errant tee shots will be rewarded with odd lies on the rolling hills which frame the fairways and may be stymied by adjacent palm trees. Poor tee shots will find the Nevada desert. In both errant tee shot cases, players are able to recover without sending their scorecards into oblivion.
The fairways at Rhodes Ranch are wide and inviting, with undulations which can produce challenging lies. Some undulations require some strategy in shot placement for the player, who must pick a proper landing spot in order for the shot to finish in a flat area or a position with a good look at the green.
There are fairway bunkers, arroyos, and a few other challenges which can be penal to poor shots, but not scorecard busters.
One of the best parts about the fairways at Rhodes Ranch is the conditioning and maintenance. See in the photo below how perfect the grass is. Having walked the grounds for the Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club many times, I can say without hesitation that the fairways at Rhodes are a very close second. When I asked regulars who play the course often about the conditioning, they told me the course is perfectly maintained year-round.
Look at how perfect the fairways at Rhodes Ranch are!
The green complexes are very scenic. Many feature beautiful landscaping, palm trees, and are framed by fine bunkering.
Putting the greens at Rhodes Ranch was just as fun as playing the perfectly groomed fairways. The conditioning was fantastic and they rolled true, albeit slower than the mountainside greens I’m accustomed to.
The greens were smooth, yet completely receptive to golf shots from even long irons.
Rhodes Ranch Scenic 3rd Hole – click to zoom – © Tony Korologos
The clubhouse at Rhodes Ranch is impressive. On one side is a fully stocked pro shop with lots of great gear and apparel. On the other side is the restaurant, a great place to have a beer or other cold beverage after the round. In my case, make that two.
The practice facilities are top notch, with a large desert driving range and a very large practice green which could accommodate dozens of players.
For a non-resident player during a primetime slot, rates at Rhodes Ranch hover around $100. That’s very reasonable for Vegas. If players are willing to brave the heat, twilight rates can cut that cost in half. Resident rates hover around $60 with twilight rates in the $30’s.
Rhodes Ranch Golf Club Las Vegas
From the moment I pulled up to the bag drop to the time I finished off my 2nd frosty beverage in the restaurant, the service level at Rhodes Ranch was excellent. All staff courteous, attentive, and helpful. A special mention goes to the great service of assistant pro Jeff Bricker in the pro shop.
Before booking a round of Vegas golf at the Wynn Golf Club, Bali Hai, Rio Secco, or Cascata, consider Rhodes Ranch. The course is fun to play, manicured brilliantly, and will not beat you up. Plus, you could play this fun course several times for the cost of playing the expensive Vegas courses once.