Las Vegas, Nevada
1st hole / 431 Yards / Par-4
Architect: Tom Fazio
October / 2019
by Matt Ward

If there’s one cardinal rule about Las Vegas it’s simply this — the town never stands still for long. There’s always movement. Reinvention is invariably linked to sustaining and promoting relevance.

The “new” Wynn Golf Club is a case in point.

The property previously served as the long time site of the Desert Inn Hotel. The original 18-hole layout was host location for many key professional tournaments over the years and was also the preferred venue for various high profile celebrities who enjoyed sharing company with each other with golf clearly on the agenda.

In 2005 a effort was brought forward by its owner Steve Wynn to create a “new” golf experience — one that would clearly surpass the past aura associated with the former Desert Inn. Wynn’s golf architect of choice was Tom Fazio. The duo had worked previously together several years earlier in creating Shadow Creek — a Xanadu private facility located nearby in North Las Vegas and literally built upon the desert floor.

The original Wynn GC existed until 2017 when it was closed. The golf connection came back into fruition in October 2019 when a updated Wynn Golf Club opened — again with Fazio front and center as the architect.

Like its predecessor the “new” Wynn GC is skillfully segregated with an array of trees and other landscaping additions. Incredibly, the course is also located within a quick walk to the renowned Las Vegas Strip.

The opening hole quickly captures your attention. In its previous rendition the opener turned to the left. The “new” version moves to the right. Playing 431 yards from the back teeing area — the hole requires a deft combination of both power and precision.

A massive bunker guards the inside corner. It takes a healthy poke of 320 yards to carry it. The prudent play is staying left but those venturing too far to that side only add increasing yardage for one’s second shot.

The approach shot is played to a 6,500 square foot target. The green is challenging — two distinct sections and it is crucial to get one’s approach to settle nearby in order to avoid a careless three-putt outcome. There is also a frontal bunker protecting against half-hearted efforts that fail to carry it.

Quality opening holes set the tone for the round ahead. In this case, Fazio served notice early on that players must be ready to execute immediately upon arriving at the tee. Those searching for a par to begin the round must provide high quality shotmaking to achieve that goal. Bogies are a more likely result for many. Fazio does provide playability and while doing so has inserted clear challenges for those intent on overcoming them.

Opening holes often face a difficult balancing equation — be both testing and elastic in its overall presentation. The “new” 1st at Wynn GC clearly does this in fine fashion.

Credit: Brian Oar