Rio Secco is home to the Butch Harmon School of
Golf, at which several famous PGA Tour players
frequent from time to time. Tiger Woods’ 64 is still
the course record from the tips. But Rio Secco is
also known for its T-Mates, very attractive young
female caddies. A T-Mate for your foursome will
run you $200 (plus tip) and reservations must be
made in advance.
Las Vegas has had its share of financial difficulties since the recession of 2008 but appears
to be resurrecting itself. Wynn paid for several
billboards in town that said simply, “Welcome
Back,” with his signature. Still, casinos are quite
empty during the week and it’s on the weekends
that casinos are doing the most business.
That’s partly why tourism officials are trying
to market the Nevada desert as a golf destination, knowing the lure of the casinos is still a
“We hope people will want to come play golf,”
said one official. “And we’d hope they’d throw a
quarter in a slot machine while they’re here.” l
LAS VEGAS | You might be surprised to know that
Las Vegas is a city of 2 million people. And like most
other large cities, the locals usually know where the
best places are to play golf, dine and gamble.
So, we turned to Adrian Little, the chief concierge at the Four Seasons Las Vegas. He has held
that post for 13 years, since the hotel opened
on the Vegas Strip. Little, who spent a career
in show business before making show tickets
magically appear for hotel guests, has lived in
Vegas for 20 years.
The locals are fond of the three golf
courses owned by Walters Golf and longtime Vegas entrepreneur Billy Walters
– Bali Hai, Royal Links and Desert
Pines. Bali Hai is located right on the
Vegas Strip and bills itself as a “visit
to paradise.” Royal Links, just south
of the city, is a tribute and attempt to
recreate some of the great holes of the
Open Championship. And Desert Pines,
also on the south side, reminds some of
the Carolina Sandhills.
Rhodes Ranch is another course highly
rated by the locals. Situated west of town
in the Vegas Valley, Rhodes Ranch was created by Ted Robinson in 1997. Siena Golf
Club, an extension of Red Rock Country
Club, was built in 2000 by Lee Schmidt and
Brian Curley, is west of the city and offers stunning
views of the Vegas skyline. And Dragon Ridge, in
Henderson, is another favorite of the locals.
Dining in Las Vegas has exploded the past few
years, Little says. “Just a few year ago, about the
only choices we had were chain restaurants,” he
said. “Now, some of the top chefs of the
great restaurants in the big resorts
have left to open their own restaurants.
That’s terrific for our city and it gives us
many more options.”
Two of the best Asian restaurants in
Vegas are in Chinatown. Raku offers Japa-
nese cuisine; right across the street is
Monta, which specializes in ramen
noodle dishes. The best pizza in
town, Little says, is at Settebello
in nearby Henderson. The owner,
a former Mormon missionary,
lived in Naples, Italy, learned
the language and how to make
authentic traditional pizza.
Little says the lines are out
the door on weekends.
Marche Bacchus is a French Bistro and wine
market in the Desert Shores community in Sum-merlin. Little says it started as a “hole in the wall”
and now offers stacks of unusual wine at half the
price of other restaurants. For pastry, Little says
to visit the Bread and Butter in Henderson. Chris
Herrin is the founder and chef, and came from the
renowned Bouchon bakery in the Venetian Hotel.
The locals like to spin the wheel, throw the
dice and turn the cards at Station Casinos, which
have ringed the Vegas Valley. Aliante Station is as
far north as you can go in Vegas, and the Red Rock
Station, Little says, offers the best views. The M
Resort, developed by the original owner of Rio,
is located in south Henderson and is becoming a
great favorite of the locals. M.P.