Located in Mesquite, Nevada is Wolf Creek Golf Club an 18-hole golf course designed by Dennis and John Rider. Popularized by the EA Sports Tiger Woods franchise, Wolf Creek has earned a cult following and has been branded as a fantasy golf course. Amongst the multitude of accolades that Wolf Creek has received since opening in 2001 is its vaunted reputation as one of the toughest courses in the world. Going into my round at Wolf Creek, I was just hoping to keep my score under a 100, however I was quite surprised by just how playable this Goliath of a golf course was.
Arriving at Wolf Creek was much easier than I expected, while staying at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas I was able to drive to Wolf Creek in just over an hour, the drive down I-15 felt like I was on the Autobahn. The fact that the drive is 98% I-15 should put Wolf Creek on the top of the list for golfers planning a Vegas trip. Once you arrive and see the view from the first tee box you’ll know the trip was well worth it. Upon arrival, a member of the staff quickly came over in a cart ready to load my bag and get me going. The pro shop at Wolf Creek offers a wide variety of merchandise including a large selection of items from Travis Matthew. I guarantee that after your round you’ll be headed back to the pro shop to pick up something if you didn’t do so before your round. Once checking in at the pro shop you’ll head over to the range, which happens to be one of the few disappointments you’ll encounter at Wolf Creek. The range is rather small featuring room for about 8 golfers at a time and only permits irons, the practice area wasn’t well thought out; you’ll see what I mean as you try to return from the range and make your way to the first tee. The practice green which is near the 10th tee is a bit of a disappoint as well but I promise once you hit your first tee shot there isn’t anything else to complain about.
Wolf Creek is truly a calendar course, you would have no problem filling a 12-month calendar with aerial photos; to be honest you wouldn’t have a problem filling out an 18-month calendar. Having played several courses in the Vegas area Wolf Creek reminds us most of Cascata which is amongst our top 10. While visually stunning and more challenging than Cascata, Wolf Creek lacks the je ne sais quoi that oozes from Cascata. Hole for hole Wolf Creek Golf Club can stand toe to toe with the best of them, each hole has its own unique feel and challenges you with every shot. What I admire most about Wolf Creek isn’t the fact that it’s so visually appealing but the fact that’s it’s a difficult but fair course. I told you coming into the visit I was just hoping to keep it under 100, believe it or not after 4 holes I was one under par. As the round continued I quickly found myself falling back to reality but I couldn’t have been more impressed with how this famously tough course played so fair, good shots are rewarded as they should be.
As we made our way around the course it was one photo opportunity after another, the photos won’t do Wolf Creek justice. The biggest shock during the round was in regards to the softness of the course. When you look at the photos of the course it looks like it’s carved out of mountains and entrenched by stone. However, it’s actually carved out of clay and any of your errant shots that go left or right won’t be deflecting off of stone, rather they’ll be swallowed up by the clay and unplayable. During the round I continued to be surprised how the clay would suck in errant shots, forcing you to take a penalty and play a lateral drop. In my mind, this soft clay is what really puts Wolf Creek over the top in terms of being a difficult course, any shot that even glances off the clay will be adversely impacted and largely the difference between laying 1 or 3 after your tee shot.
After traversing across the course and encountering the drastic elevation changes presented at Wolf Creek there wasn’t one hole that seemed to stick out in mind as the signature hole, if anything the first hole sets the table so perfectly it most likely earns my vote. Wolf Creek truly is a real life fantasy golf course and fits in perfectly to any Vegas golf trip itinerary. In fact, when you think of the larger than life shadow cast by Las Vegas, Wolf Creek is the perfect complement with it’s larger than life fantasy layout.
Wolf Creek Golf Club Course Rating 4.25 out of 5 Stars
Let me start by saying the 18-holes at Wolf Creek Golf Club are absolutely stunning, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more visually appealing or challenging layout than Wolf Creek. However, there is a lot that goes into a course rating outside of the 1st tee box and the 18th green. Some of the biggest factors impacting the rating included pace of play and quality of the practice facilities. I played the course on a holiday Monday and was forewarned I would be playing behind serval foursomes. However, even with that in mind the pace was extremely slow. While out on the course you’re out there by yourself, there is no beverage cart service because the terrain is too severe and we never saw a marshal to help push people along. Several factors seem to contribute to the slow play, top amongst them included the overall difficulty of the course and the multiple photo opportunities that are hard to pass up. All things aside, Wolf Creek Golf Club earned a 4 ¼ star rating and is what we consider a must play for any golf trip to the Las Vegas area.