View From Vegas: Vegas Golf

Meeting Planning

"We call it the ‘Vegas flu,’ because people have a tendency not to get out of bed the next day,” says Andy Anderson, director of business development for Walters Golf, an operator of four golf courses in Las Vegas. “That can become kind of a problem, because when they no-show, they’re stuck with the fee.”

Tip #1: Set up wake-up calls for all your players. Really loud wake-up calls.

Still, the higher-than-average likelihood of no-shows is just one of many factors to keep in mind when planning a golf event in Las Vegas. Here are a few others:

Tip #2: Beat the heat. For most of the world, summer is golf’s high season. Not in Vegas, and for good reason. Unless you want to watch your group collapse into a sweat-soaked heap on the 18th green, think twice before planning a golf event during July or August; no matter how lush the greens, the desert air is brutal and unforgiving.

If you’ve got die-hards on board, plan a summer event as early as possible in the morning. Or you can take advantage of twilight (late-day) fees available at most courses.

Tip #3: Schedule selectively. During September, many courses close for re-seeding. And book mid-week if possible. “When the hotels are busy, we’re busy,” says Anderson.
As a quirky alternative, consider a round at the “Cloud Nine” at Angel Park Golf Club (, a par-3 course with lighting for night golf.

Tip #4: Get away. Some of the best courses around are outside the city limits. Reflection Bay Golf Club, at Lake Las Vegas Resort (, was the first public course in Nevada designed by Jack Nicklaus. And the Paiute Indian Reservation, just 30 minutes north of downtown Las Vegas, has three excellent courses. Also about 20 minutes out of town is “Bear’s Best,” a course made up of replicas of the best holes from Jack Nicklaus’s desert courses around the world.

Tip #5: Get Help. Several Las Vegas-based specialty golf services are available to make your event run smoothly. Walters Golf, for example, manages Stallion Mountain, Desert Pines, Royal Links, and Bali Hai, and also operates golf desks in many of the larger hotels in town, adjacent to the concierge. TravelGolf Vegas ( and Golf Vegas ( offer a wide range of incentive and corporate services, and also sell golf packages that are ideal for multi-day, multi-course incentive trips. The Las Vegas Golf Alliance ( offers packages through partnerships with the Lake Las Vegas resort. Excellent, detailed articles and reviews of the dozens of courses in the area can found at, and for up-to-date information for locals, listen to a broadcast by the “Golf Guru,” Dennis Silvers (

Group Activity of the Month

For a fun team-building activity in the Vegas city limits, consider a scavenger hunt. Several companies run hunts around the Strip, including Dr. Clue, US Scavenger Hunt, and Urban Diversion, which offers entire vacation packages based on multi-day scavenger hunts.

The Vegas hunt organized by one operator, Scaventures, demands that groups find objects like a $2 bill or a pink feather, take a photo with a celebrity look-alike, dress in a toga in Caesar’s Palace, or form a human pyramid in front of a Cirque du Soleil poster.

“In Las Vegas, the world is at your fingertips,” says David Goldstein, whose official title is “Chief Cook and Bottle Washer” at Scaventures, a division of Boston-based TeamBonding. “The photo opportunities that groups can get in a three-block radius beat out whatever they can do in almost every other city.”

Scaventures offers customized hunts by foot or by limousine. Scaventures’ hunts last between two to three hours. Groups are divided into teams of six to eight people who earn points by performing various collaborative tasks along the way. Each hunt concludes with a wrap-up party for a discussion of themes, as well as a presentation of all the photos taken during the experience.
“Some of the hunts are competitive, but some are cooperative where they open a treasure box at the end and everyone wins,” says Goldstein.

Event Site of the Month

Can’t afford a celebrity for your next event? Consider the next best thing: a waxy recreation which has all the looks, but none of the entourage or whiny demands.

Located in the Venetian, Madame Tussauds Interactive Wax Attraction has models of about 100 celebrities located in six rentable theme rooms, including a Hollywood party with Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt, a sports arena with Shaquille O’Neal and Tiger Woods, and the “Rock and Pop Room,” with a usable dance floor and statues of Mick Jagger and Madonna. The “Marry Clooney” experience lets visitors pretend to wed (wax) bachelor, George Clooney. For parties, DJ’s and flesh-and-blood look-alikes can also be arranged.

Madame Tussauds features more than 30,000 square feet of event space on two levels, and can be used for sit-down and buffet dinners, receptions, spouse luncheons, breakfast functions, and more. The Spirit of America room, with historical figures, holds up to 125 people and can be rented for approximately $3,000; the price includes admission for all guests to the rest of the museum. A complete buyout of the museum, for up to 1,000 people, ranges from $12,500 to $16,500 (price depends on catering). The Museum is part of the Venetian; groups staying there can apply the event toward their food and drink minimum (702-862-7805;

Hotel of the Month: Stratosphere 

The Stratosphere Hotel may have recently shut down its tower roller coaster, the “High Roller,” but it was only to make room for a “more exciting ride,” according to the Associated Press.

The Stratosphere has 2,444 guest rooms and 100 suites, along with more than 8,100 square-feet of flexible meeting space. Other function areas include two larger meeting rooms on 24th floor, indoor and outdoor observation decks on the tower, as well as a new patio area at the tower’s base overlooking the Strip. The hotel casino’s “Theater of the Stars” can be reserved for dinner shows for up to 600 guests, and can be reserved for morning meetings, breakfasts, and occasionally for Thursday evening events when the show is dark.

And while the roller coaster is gone, several other rides are still in operation, including the aptly named Insanity. Whether you’re at the Stratosphere or not, you can arrange for group rates on tickets to these rides as a fun giveaway for your event. For more information, contact Convention Sales at 888-967-2537, ext. 2.

In this monthly column, we offer up a round-up of tips and ideas about meetings in Las Vegas. Got a comment, question, or a tip on a horse? Contact Lucky Chuck at