Bears Best Las Vegas

By Jeff Alexander

Whether you live in Vegas or are vacationing here for our incomparable 3-G’s  (Golf, Girls, and Gambling), you should make Bear’s Best one of your golf destinations.  Consisting of 18 memorable holes chosen from the many notable courses that the Golden Bear has designed, Bear’s Best gives you a replication of golf holes that exist from Mexico to Montana, Arizona to California.

It’s a bit pricier—for example, they require that a “forecaddie” accompany your foursome as a guide to distances, club selection and the history behind each hole.  He’s worth the price at this truly premium course that pays attention to every detail.  You get the impression at Bear’s Best, that Nicklaus just did an inspection of the course and facilities—that’s how meticulously well-kept the place feels.  The practice range is massive and gives you the opportunity to hit every club in your bag.  Get there early to warm up.  The course has good length, and its difficulty will be a solid test of your golf game.  Playing 6043 yards from the white tees, 6628 from the blue and 7194 from the gold, it’s a very playable course for any level of golfer, and enjoyably difficult from the gold tees for better players.  

Nicklaus seems to design his par 4’s as the “meat and potatoes” of his courses, while the par 5’s and 3’s are simply desserts and after-dinner drinks.  At Bear’s Best this holds true with six of the ten par 4’s handicapped at 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 7.  The others are at 11, 14, 15, and 18.  So you better score on those latter four par 4’s and the easier par 3’s and 5’s, because the other six par 4’s are long and difficult.  Except for the 599-yard eighth hole, the other par 5’s are shorter and reachable in regulation.  Three of the par 3’s are rather long, but it is the par 4’s that toughen up the course.  Just two of the holes have water running the length of their fairways (#1 and #18), while all the other holes at Bear’s Best are bereft of any water whatsoever.  Number one is a straight drive over water to a beautifully plush, green fairway and a second shot to an elevated green, with water left and protected by large bunkers in front.  Hole number 18 is a spectacular long par 4 with sand and water parallel to the right side of the fairway.  As the #2 handicap hole, it requires a straight drive to its narrow fairway and a precise second shot to its water-protected elevated green.

Details, details, details.  As you play holes duplicated from LaQuinta, Cabo Del Sol, Desert Mountain, El Dorado in Mexico, Las Campanas in Santa Fe, Castle Pines in Colorado and Old Works GC in Anaconda, Montana, you’ll be impressed by the almost fanatical attention to detail of each hole.  An example is the Old Works hole, which is a clone of Hole #7 at that course in Montana.  Even the sand traps are filled with black sand, to replicate the sand prevalent in that area of the country.  I’ve played the four holes from Desert Mountain in Arizona that are reproduced here, and as I stood on the tees, they felt and looked as though I was right back there;  an almost eerie feeling of déjà vu.  The fairways are plush and brilliantly green.  The greens are large and soft enough to hold approach shots.  The desert areas are possible to shoot from if you stray from the fairway.  All in all, Bear’s Best is a pleasure to play.  It’s a one-stop tour of vastly different golf holes from all over North America.  You might even catch a day when the “Golden Bear” is visiting—checking out the details and parring the course as easily as we bogey it.  

Bear Tracks (Open – 7:50 pm) Monday – Thursday $149 Friday – Sunday $159

Solid Gold (8:00am-11:50 am) Monday – Thursday $179, Friday – Sunday $199

Twilight (12 pm – 2:50 pm) Monday – Thursday $129, Friday – Sunday $139

Bear’s Best 11111 W. Flamingo Las Vegas, NV  89135 

702-804-8500 -

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