Course Review: Bali Hai Golf Club, Las Vegas – October 26, 2023
On my recent late October trip to Las Vegas, I was able to squeeze in three rounds of golf. One of them was Bali Hai Golf Club. I regret that choice dearly.
Bali Hai is a well-known Vegas area golf course which actually boarders McCarron Airport ~ so very close to the strip.
The planes fly very low over the course which I guess is neither a good or bad thing depending on how you feel about that.
The course is fairly straightforward and conditions are slightly above average, but it’s key asset is its location.
The online info indicates that the course is five minutes from the strip, but it is more like 15-20 minutes depending on traffic.
Still on an East Coast internal time clock, I finished my work very early in the day and with an open afternoon, I left the Bellagio Hotel and took a cab to the course.
When I arrived, I was warmly greeted and dropped off my clubs and checked in at the Pro shop. I had prepaid my greens fee through the Bellagio concierge desk and was ready to go.
I went over to the driving range and was simultaneously disappointed and accepting that the range was a simple expanded net with distance limited balls (no land available to dedicate to a real practice range).
I wondered why the club would bother with distance limited balls when patrons are hitting them 40 feet into a net.
Nevertheless, I warmed up using the net and felt good about my ball striking.
I almost never play as a single, but circumstances made that necessary. Every golfer knows that you take your chances when you are matched up with new people. Some of them think etiquette is a small town in France. This time I got slightly fortunate. I was paired up with a young couple from Canada celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary and another gentlemen which will be identified as player B.
We got to the tee and introduced ourselves. As I do when I play with brand new people, I wrote their names on the scorecard to make sure I did not forget.
Player B was a little late to the tee as he was waiting for his caddy. While we were waiting, I teed off first and hit a lousy pulled tee shot that provided a very favorable bounce and fell into position A. The Canadian couple both hit poor tee shots and then player B finally got want he was waiting for ~ his caddy that was about 1/3 of his age with barely any clothes on.
Bali Hai Golf Club calls them Parmates ~ young girls who apparently know nothing about golf but are good for men who may have trouble getting any at home. The website indicates that they cost about $300 for a round ~ plus tip I imagine.
Player B hits a poor tee shot and at this point I don’t know if this is his side piece or an actual caddy. Eventually Player B gets the ball on to the green for a 6. The Canadian couple hacks their way up the 1st hole and the husband makes a miracle par. The wife them almost picks up and I am estimating an 8-9 for the hole. I hit a great approach and badly miss a birdie putt and settle for par.
Then two very interesting things happen ~ one good and one not so good. The Canadien couple just keep getting better by the hole. Eventually on the 9th hole – after 4 birdies – I ask the husband his handicap and he says plus one.
I have played a lot of golf and I have never seen anyone start off so poorly and bring it on like that. His wife settles down and hits an occasional poor shot, but also keeps hitting better and better.
Player B starts losing interest and his game goes to hell in a handbasket, but the Parmate keeps his mind off his tremendous lack of golf talent.
Unfortunately, for the other 3 players, Ms. Parmate behaves like she has never been on a golf course before. She non-stops talks – yells in our backswing and is hands down the most clueless person I have ever seen a golf course. I backed off my tee shot on 4 straight holes and she never had a clue and Player B never said anything to her.
By the 8th hole, Player B is two sheets to the wind and can’t make any reasonable contact. He gives his club to the pseudo caddy and she starts flailing away taking 7-8 shots to get out of the fairway bunker.
As we come to number 9, I inquire to make 100% sure that the 9th ends at the clubhouse because I’m tapping out. I finish on the par three but before I leave, I take the nice Canadian couple aside and tell them I’m walking off the course. They are hiding their disgust more than me but they too are in dismay.
I cannot comment on the back nine as I had no interest in staying there. I left, called an Uber and went back to work in my hotel room.
I’m not sure I have ever disliked or enjoyed a round of golf less than my first and last nine at Bali Hai. It wasn’t a cheap round of golf. My discounted round was $249. Full price is up to $400. I think a round of golf at Bali Hai Golf Club is worth less than zero.