BOULDER CITY, Nev. – Any time you get the chance to play a golf course that’s hidden away behind a remote-controlled gate go for it.
Cascata, an Italian word for waterfall, is one of those experiences. Golfers arrive by limo or private car and that’s when the first-class golf adventure happens.
“The overall experience is very high end,” said Neil Setchell, a tourist golfer from Birmingham, England. “I was very impressed by being greeted at the front door by Jeff Krohn, Vice President, PGA Golf Operations and Andy Elliott, PGA Head Golf Professional & Tournament Director. The facilities are top notch, and very reminiscent of a 5-star hotel.
“The golf course was in immaculate condition and I found the layout to be challenging but fair. My advice to anyone playing there for the first time would be to listen to the forecaddies’ advice!”
Cascata, designed by Rees Jones, is set in the craggy foothills of the River Mountain Range, approximately 30 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip. Cascata is rugged, scenic, has slick greens and you will experience sightings of desert critters and Bighorns during your upscale trek.
Towering 3,200 feet above Las Vegas’ desert valley, the par-72 course has vast vistas at every turn, including the 3,600-foot peak at Red Mountain, lush fairways, lakes, and streams. Class A PGA professionals attend to equipment, fashion or instruction needs, and players are accompanied on-course by a Tour-class forecaddie for a bargain $50 mandatory fee.
Actually Cascata’s birth in 2000 was very limited in availability. Its’ $500 green fee was to rival Las Vegas’ Shadow Creek, but eventually the gates opened for anyone who had the cash and subsequently the price tag has dropped a bit with off-season fee and a package with Rio Secco.
When one sees the 417-foot waterfall cascading down the back of the practice facility and running through the center of its clubhouse you definitely take notice. You are in the desert and the plants, each with a drip system, include Joshua trees, yucca, palm trees, poplar trees, and wildflowers and flowering shrubs.
The 37,000-square-foot Tuscan-styled clubhouse affords panoramic views of the surroundings and there’s full-service dining room and bar, banquet facilities, golf shop, a cigar room, and locker rooms.
Don’t be surprised to see a celebrity you know like Charles Barkley, Michael Jordan or Julius Erving who also participated in a Tiger Jam charity fundraiser at Cascata that included a concert entitled Bon Jovi and Friends. Noted instances of celebrities gone wild include Bobby Flay and Barry Bonds. You have to laugh out loud when these kind of guys snarl at golf course staffers.
“I call it ‘desert links’ because all of those rock outcrops are almost like dunes. It really was the perfect site. We routed the holes through the canyons and between the ‘dunes,’ so each one is different and there are many places on the course where you can’t see any other holes,” said Jones.
“And the site was large and diverse enough where we thought we could do a lot with it, but we also used helicopters to find the holes.”
Eric White another travel golf enthusiast said: “This course is perfect; the maintenance of this course in the middle of the desert is pristine. The beautiful waterfall-stream running down the mountain that intersects thru some of the holes and even runs under and through the clubhouse is amazing.
“I was shown to my locker that had my name on a metal plate! When I was ready they showed me to my cart, which was parked inside the bottom floor of the clubhouse and my forecaddie was waiting for me next to the man-made river that runs through the building from the range. Playing as a single was nice and completely not rushed; my caddie even had my iron distances dialed in by the third hole where he was making recommendations for me on what and how to hit shots,” White said.
The first time I visited Cascata the slogan displayed atop the scorecard read: “Respect the game, the course, and each other…enjoy Cascata!”
Cascata is pricey, but if you like being pampered from front door to SUV door leaving the grounds this is a great way to spend a sunny day in Nevada.
Story by David R. Holland