Paiute Wolf is a course with teeth
Course puts golfers to the test with length, risks
It can be the big, bad Wolf, if you so choose.
There isn’t a longer course in Nevada than Wolf, which measures a whopping 7,604 yards from the tips. Wolf is one of three Pete Dye-designed courses on the property owned by the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe. There’s also Snow Mountain, which opened in 1995, followed by Sun Mountain in 1996. All three courses, located about 25 minutes northwest of the Las Vegas Strip, come with scenic 360-degree views of the natural, rolling landscape against a mountain-range backdrop.
“Sun Mountain is considered the most picturesque. It’s a kinder, gentler Dye,” said Christie Shaw, director of marketing. “Snow Mountain has seven water features and we think 16, 17 and 18 are some of the best finishing holes in Las Vegas. All three courses have really different designs.”
Wolf, which opened in 2001, is considered the signature course with its endless bunkers (I stopped counting at 15 traps on the par-5 third), elevation changes and sheer length.
“That (7,604 yards) is why a lot of folks want to try it,” Shaw said.
We played Wolf on a breezy, sunny afternoon from the yellow tees and it had ample distance at 6,483 yards, including four par-4s 410 yards or longer.
Three of those long par-4s create great closing stretches to both nines. On the front, it begins with the par-5 sixth that has a bunker running 450 yards along the left side before slicing across the front of a shallow, slightly elevated green.
No. 7 is 410 yards, but plays much longer because it’s uphill. Drives to the right will likely find one of five bunkers. Keep it in play off the tee and the next shot is equally challenging: typically a middle iron to an elevated green.
No. 8 is an interesting 170 yards (206 from the back tees). Miss right and you won’t see your playing partners for a while. Your ball will settle in a waste bunker some 40 feet below the green. Good luck getting that up-and-down. The diagonally shaped green can send shots that are slightly right and slightly short to a sandy resting spot.
Put a 3 on the scorecard at No. 8 and your reward is … the uphill, dogleg-right 431-yard 9th. For once, there are no bunkers to worry about on your tee shot – just a grass bunker along the right side. Bunkers protect a two-tiered green.
The back nine is equally challenging. The first water feature shows up at No. 12, framing the par-3’s right side. The par-4 14th dog-legs hard right and your first decision is determining how much distance you want to try to shave off by challenging a waste area along the right side.
No. 15, a 138-yard par-3 with an island green, is often the most memorable for first-timers, Shaw said. “If somebody makes a hole-in-one we hear about it for days.”
No. 18 is a classic, 428-yard finishing hole. Water hugs the right side before giving way to a green guarded by several bunkers.
Asked what visitors tell her after they’ve played Wolf, Shaw said, “With a smile, ‘That was hard.’ ”
Asked her approach when she plays Wolf, Shaw responded, “If I’m feeling competitive I’ll push it, but I like the fact that because of the tee-box options I can decide what I’m up for. I don’t try to beat the course; I try to play with it.”