When I first visited Las Vegas in 1994, it was to see if the lights and attractions on the Strip would in any way blind me like a deer in headlights. At that time I did not play golf so the visit was purely for the "glamor" experience: to check out the myriad of marquees, dress for dinner, see top entertainers perform, visit the sites and to try my luck at the variety of casinos.
The question was, how does the City of Lights, which is an approximate six hour connecting flight from my house compare with Atlantic City, only two-and-a-half hours from New York? Is Las Vegas worth a return trip?
There are so many new mammoth-sized hotspots in Las Vegas filled with undeniably dramatic touches that it boggles the mind! In recent years travel from casino to casino got much easier with the creation of a new monorail system than when I initially rented the hottest Ford Mustang I could find those fifteen years ago.
In Atlantic City, you can easily walk the boardwalk in an hour or so (depending on how fast your feet travel) without stopping in a casino, which dominates each hotel. On the other hand, during the summer, the beach is laden with bars and live music so you might walk a few hundred feet, stop for a Malibu Bay Breeze and a snack and then stroll to the next. Flying a kite and watching sculptors create visions in the sand are Atlantic City staples too...
But, Mandalay Bay has created its very own beach, complete with lazy river!
Even though Las Vegas is in the desert, the sand cannot possibly be the same, however the attractions are all bigger and never stop, from one oversized vision to the next!
The hotels in Las Vegas trump the boutique-sized ones in Atlantic City, that's a fact.
Caesar's is probably the largest connecting group of hotels on the A/C boardwalk encompassing Bally's and the Wild West Casino but, in comparison to say, Caesar's in Las Vegas, you may be able to fit it inside the Nevada structure! Also, the moving statues in Caesar's Las Vegas mall are unbelievable and just one of the amazing attractions to keep mouth ajar during a stay on the Strip.
Resorts complete with casinos featuring the hottest action, the greatest gastronomic delights and high-energy nightlife every night (try to find live music to dance to during an off-season weekday in Atlantic City) can be found in both cities but the hotels in Las Vegas create a spectacle at every turn. From the artwork at the Venetian to Cirque du Soleil at Bellagio, you would have to stay at least a month to see everything there is to see and you would never have to leave the Strip to do so.
Also, now that I am a somewhat "respectable" golfer, able to play from any one of different length tee boxes and challenges, I was happy to see that there are so many golf courses in Las Vegas' surrounding areas. Of course my chances of competing at the 2009 RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship is slim and none, but, with over 10,000 competitors attempting to qualify for the finals, golf must take on a whole new meaning now in Las Vegas.
Wolf Creek Golf Club in Mesquite, Nevada, is the venue for the RE/MAX World Golf Championships and is said by Cory Clemetson in VegasGolfer Magazine to "put a smile on people's faces. That's our goal." That is my desire too, Cory...that is to smile after 18 holes instead of hiding my golf card in the sand!
Bali Hai Golf Club directly on the Las Vegas Strip is legendary and a place where celebrity-sighting is not unusual. Accolades from "America's Top 40 Resort Courses" by Golfweek to "Best High End Resort Course in Las Vegas" by VegasGolfer makes this public course a must-see while in Nevada.
Angel Park Golf Club boasts spectacular Red Rock Canyon views and bloody-nose elevation. This public golf course has also received strong praise and is more "reasonable" than other area courses, without giving up it's natural splendor.
For a golfer, finding the perfect vacation courses, fair prices and a good deal of challenge while, at the same time a memorable experience, can be just as important as choosing a hotel on the Strip. Each hotel/casino has a theme and, if conducive to what you picture from a hotel, it is easy to determine if your picture suits reality.
With the myriad of options available of hotels, casinos and golf courses, the mostly beautiful year-round weather available and the non-stop entertainment, Las Vegas is certainly an attractive must-see for all vacationers. Be prepared to spend about a week and make sure to bring your golf clubs!
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