If they build an entire city in the desert, then you know they can certainly whip up a few golf courses, too.
And the golf in Las Vegas is nearly as renowned as the city's gambling and partying. Although there are a few courses on the Strip (Wynn, Hilton and Mandalay Bay), most courses are within a 30-minute ride of the Strip. In order to play some of the top courses in Las Vegas, you need to be a guest of the hotel company that owns it.
Have a look at a few courses worth a cab ride or car rental:
Cascata: A Rees Jones course owned by Harrah's, Cascata opened in 2000 and lives up to its name. "Cascata" means "waterfall" in Italian and the tee box on the par-3 15th hole will tell you everything you need to know about water on this course. Consistently ranked high on all the "Best of" courses by golf publications, Cascata is a half-hour drive from the Strip. 702-294-2005; harrahs.com/golf/cascata-golf. Greens fee: $500 every day.
Shadow Creek: Mix mountains, creeks, waterfalls, pine trees and gardens and what do you get? Shadow Creek. An insanely picturesque course designed by Tom Fazio, Shadow Creek is known for its celebrity sightings on the course. The only way to play this course is to be a guest at an MGM Mirage hotel, which includes MGM Grand, Mirage, Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, Luxor, Treasure Island and a handful more. A 20-minute drive from the Strip. 866-260-0069; shadowcreek.com. Greens fee: $500 every day.
Rio Secco Golf Club: One of the most challenging courses in Vegas, Rio Secco takes you into the canyons, on top of plateaus and across the desert. Designed by Rees Jones and owned by Harrah's, Secco is a public course. It features little water and lots of natural desert surroundings to make every shot thought-provoking. A 20-minute drive from the Strip. 702-777-2400; riosecco.net. Greens fee: from $140.
Arroyo Golf Club at Red Rock: Red Rock Canyon may be one of the most beautiful places you'll ever see. This Arnold Palmer signature course in Summerlin takes advantage of that postcard look. A par-72 public course that plays 6,883 yards, Arroyo combines courageous bunkering and dramatic water hazards. A 15- to 20-minute drive from the Strip. 866-934-4653; thearroyo golfclub.com/. Greens fee: from $129.
Paiute - the Wolf Course: The newest and most challenging of the three courses designed by Pete Dye is the longest in Nevada - a grueling 7,604 yards. Bring a few extra golf balls for the devilish island green on the par-3 15th hole. About 30-35 minutes off the Strip. 800-711-2833; lvpaiutegolf .com. Greens fee: from $110.
(Find more courses and book tee times at vegasgolfer.com.)
Mark La Monica writes for Newsday.