Course Review: TPC Summerlin, Las Vegas – October 24, 2023

I played at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas in the last week of October. Summerlin is an upscale planned community. It is partly within the city limits of Las Vegas and partly within unincorporated Clark County.

The course is about a $45 Uber or a $70 cab ride from the Vegas Strip and is next door to TPC Las Vegas .

TPC Summerlin, the home of current PGA Tour stop The Shriners Children’s Open, is rated the number one private course in Nevada by Golf Magazine. This tournament, won for the second consecutive year by Tour phenom Tom Kim, is considered a minor Tour stop. 

Tom Kim PHOTO: PGA Tour/Getty Images

The 2023 tournament was just completed from October 6-9th and the course was in top shape.

The total Tournament purse from this month’s event was $8,400,000 and the winner won $1,512,000.  Compare that vs. the 2023 Traveler’s Tournament in Cromwell, CT. ~ a designated PGA Tour Elevated Event ~ where the total purse was $20 million and winner Keagan Bradley took home $3.6 million. For as long as I can remember, the PGA Tour winner’s share is 18% of the total pursue.

This was my second visit to TPC Summerlin this year, having played the course in mid-February.  I was hoping for a similar golf outcome and a better, more welcoming guest experience. 

As I noted in my February 2023 review in GolfNewsRI, Summerlin is a great golf course, but the staff puts out a feeling of not welcoming outside guests.  I wasn’t anxious about this visit, but hopeful to experience a more friendly environment.

While I was waiting for my ride outside the Bellagio, a woman came up to me and said she noted that I was playing golf and gave me wrist beads to give me great luck while I was playing today.  Then she asked for money.  I thought to myself: maybe I do need this for good golfing luck!  So I gave her the $20 she wanted and she went on her way.  

Spoiler alert:  they didn’t help.

As we are heading to the course, I recalled that guests needed a special gate code to enter the property and I received it over the phone.  At the time we arrived, the gate was temporarily opened and we did not need it (we did need to provide the code to the Uber driver who picked us up after the round).

We arrived at the bag drop and were warmly greeted.  My guest was only playing one round in Vegas so we rented a nice set of new Titleist clubs from the course which were complimentary. We checked in at the pro shop and then went for lunch on the patio.  Still being on East Coast time, we had lunch at 11:00 a.m.  The food, drinks and atmosphere were excellent.  After lunch we headed over to the range.

The range is very nice, and long enough to host PGA Tour players but, like my February visit, only a fraction of the range is open and players must wait to get a spot to warm up.

After warming up, we head to the 1st tee to get into the very short queue to tee off.  In my last few rounds, I have not been playing my best so I was hopeful to turn my game around.

TPC Summerlin First Hole PHOTO: Course Reviewer

We are paired up with Brendan from Minneapolis.  He plays out of TPC Twin Cities (home of the PGA Tour 3M Open and also a course on my list of places to play).  He is a good player and even nicer person to play with. A highlight of the day is Brendan found some reserve power and hit his tee shot measured at 304 yards on the par-5 ninth hole.  

I killed mine and was 25 yards behind him. 

Probably the only real negative of the day was the starter, who desperately needs more training.   He is not your typical high end course starter. He runs though the right things ~ hole location, breaking of the putts, discusses that the course is still in difficult tournament conditions, but he has this annoying habit of commenting on everyone’s tee shot. 

He did this to the previous group and did it to our group.  

When it came to my turn, he commented “you blocked that one and didn’t complete your swing.” What almost came out of my mouth was “ if you stopped talking while I’m hitting, I bet I would have made a better swing.” I didn’t say that and got into the cart and went on my way.  I hit a great hybrid on the green, but three putted.

A couple of things really struck me about the day:

1 – the course was in magnificent condition. The greens were excellent (we were told 12 on the Stimpmeter), fairways beautiful and everything else that you would expect from the best private course in the state.

2 – the weather was perfect – sunny, temps in high 70’s and no wind.

3 – I was surprised how many holes I remembered.  TPC Summerlin is a fantastic layout.  The course was busy but speed of play was excellent.

4 -the temporary stands, etc. for the tournament were virtually all taken down in quick order.  The only stands that were left were on the 18th.  I was surprised and pleased that we were able to experience tournament course conditions with no ongoing construction teardown, etc.

TPC Summerlin’s 18th hole PHOTO: Course Reviewer

I had my moments but did not play well.  There were a couple of tough holes for me in February that I played really well this time but not enough of them.  I wanted to finish strong and I hit a great tee shot on 18 and had only 140 yards in.  I hit a solid 8 iron that fell a foot short and rolled back into the water. 

I wanted to go back and find that lady outside of the Bellagio and give the beads back.

After the round, we went into the locker round to clean up and ran into Mr. Guerreo, the locker room attendant.  

When he was done, our golfs shoes were cleaner, like new, than when we started the round.

We had plans after so we went to the bar and grabbed one drink to sit out on the patio.  The waitstaff could not have been nicer to us.  We ordered an Uber and headed back to the strip.  We chatted up the driver and learned a lot more about Vegas than I previously knew.

All in all, it was a nice day of golf and we enjoyed perfect weather and a truly outstanding course.

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