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Through The Gates And Into The High Life

Where: 5050 Spanish Trail Lane [map], 89113
November 16, 2012 at 4:45 PM | by | Comment (1)

The text message arrived on Tuesday at approximately 10:35 a.m. PST and simply read, "Spanish Trail at 8:30 on Thursday" in such a matter-of-fact manner that we couldn't help but immediately clear our schedule and spit shine our clubs. Opportunities like this were meant to be seized.

Behind a guarded gatehouse intended to both intimidate and intrigue lie 27 holes of championship golf that will test every facet of your game. Founded in 1984, Spanish Trail Country Club was designed by the highly regarded Robert Trent Jones Jr. (Princeville, Chambers Bay) and offers three different nine-hole layouts (named Canyon, Lakes and Sunrise) with ratings ranging from 72.9 to 74.0 off the blue tees.

For the uninitiated, that means this place is no walk in the park. And, even if it were, it would be a park that you would need connections to access because Spanish Trail has one distinguishing characteristic from all the other courses we've reviewed here at VegasChatter...

It's private.

Lucky for us, we're friends with a member who offered up the opportunity to get behind that aforementioned gatehouse for a very reasonable price. Guests pay $69 in green fees before 11:00 a.m., $49 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and $39 for any tee time after that. Based on the current rates around town at this time of year, that's a steal.

Especially when you get a good look at the surrounding real estate, because Spanish Trail is pretty much the top of the food chain when it comes to gated communities in Las Vegas. Some of these homes will blow your mind, not to mention send a cold shiver down your spine when you realize their proximity to the fairways and greens. The last thing we were looking to do was send an errant Calloway screaming into a multi-million dollar slice of paradise.

Spanish Trail isn't your typical southwestern, desert-style layout. In fact, it isn't a desert tract, at all. It's more of an east coast, parkland-style course complete with a variety of strategically placed bunkers, multi-tiered greens and water hazards that come into play on six of the nine Lakes holes, five of which guard the green. But, don't panic because the course is designed in a manner that gives the golfer multiple options with which to attack a number of the holes. This won't make your round any easier, but for those of you who live in fear of dunking one too many in the drink, Robert Trent Jones Jr. has offered you a few outs.

It didn't take long before the first Greg Maddux-style curveball (he's a member) landed at our doorstep. The club championship was set to begin roughly 24 hours after our tee time, meaning longer and thicker rough as well as lightning-quick greens. As if the game of golf weren't already difficult enough, try venturing onto a tricked-out course conditioned to play even tougher than usual. Where some would scoff at the notion, we embrace it. How else are you going to know what kind of game you truly possess?

While our short game was nothing to write home about, cruising the links at Spanish Trail certainly was. From the impeccably well-manicured course and the impressive surroundings to the speed with which we were able to complete our round (less than four hours!), this was one of our most enjoyable outings of the year. In fact, the nine holes that make up the Lakes layout can go toe-to-toe with anything we've seen in town. The Par-5, 514-yard second is a beautifully designed dogleg right that narrows towards a green that includes an impressive waterfall backdrop.

And, it only gets better one hole later on the Par-3, 150-yard third, which features a forced carry over water (not to mention two more waterfalls) to a sizeable green with strategically placed sand traps at the back and on the right. It's a hole that is meant to intimidate the golfer when standing on the tee box, unless you're able to find the zone and tell yourself that it's nothing more than a 150-yard shot.

Easier said than done.

For those interested in the country club lifestyle, junior memberships at Spanish Trail begin at $350 per month, which includes just about everything. There's no club storage fee and no minimum spending requirement for the clubhouse restaurant.

But since we're on a mission to take a spin on every course in town, we'll just sit patiently by the phone waiting for that next text message to arrive.

ADDRESS: 5050 Spanish Trail Lane, Las Vegas, Nevada, 89133

CONTACT: 702-364-0357

WEBSITE: Click here

DIRECTIONS FROM THE STRIP: Head west on Tropicana Avenue for approximately five miles. The entrance to Spanish Trail will be on your left.

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Stucco

Those beautiful spanish style homes are stucco and it's a good thing,too. I used to live on a golf course and was constantly replacing chipped siding, a couple of cracked windows and had dings all over my car. The upside was unlimited golf balls.

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