Hole Number 3 on the Diablo Course
Badlands Golf Club
The Beware of Snakes Sign
Upon arriving at Badlands Golf Club on a moderate November morning, I noticed that the area loosely defined as the "course" was chiefly comprised of sand and rocks, with green patches here and there. Then I noticed the "Troon Golf" logo, and read that Troon Golf "provides extraordinary experiences at the greatest golf properties in the world". Extraordinary experiences, huh? Ok, I was game for some of these, so I went into the pro shop and checked in. Since I was running late, I did not have time to warm up or hit any balls, but did get in a little putting waiting for my playing partners to get to the starters location. The starter informed us that we would be playing the Desparado and Diablo courses, and we were in for a treat, since they were the most difficult combination of the 3 nine hole combinations at Badlands. Immediately, I regretted staying up until 3 am playing poker.
Standing on the first tee box (Desparado) looking out at a very narrow dog leg right 316 yard, par 4 hole, I thought, well, if I can hit it very straight, it won't be too bad. Too make a long story short, I shot a 105 (have a 22 handicap), and my partner shot 95 and had a 6 handicap. Hitting the ball straight every time is a bit more difficult than it appeared, but that is the key to this course, if one can putt. The greens are very difficult, and it is always a good idea to put the ball close to the pin on this course, or at least on the same level as the pin, or perhaps on the uphill slope. If not, I saw many balls roll off the green on missed puts.
The Desparado/Diablo combination has a slope rating of 137 from the back tees, and a 127 from the middle tees (ones I played from). The course is 6,800 yards from the back tees and 6,341 from the middle tees. The signature hole is hole #9 (Diablo), a 473 yard par 4, with elevated tee box, 220 or so yards of rocks and sand to hit across to reach the fairway, and plenty of rocks and sand on each side of the narrow patch of a fairway. The green is a sand island, surrounded by the rocky desert. I shot bogie, and was thrilled to only get a 5 on this hole.
I also played the Diablo/Outlaw combination, which has a slope rating of 129 from the back tees and 116 from the middle tees. The outlaw 9 holes looks like a golf course, since it actually has grass on most of it, and is by far the easiest of the three 9 hole courses. However, one still has to play Diablo (the most difficult) or Desparado (slightly less difficult than Diablo) in combination with Outlaw. I shot 97 on this easy combination, with my 22 handicap, that was only 3 over par (net). Not bad, especially when compared to shooting 11 over (net) on the Diablo-Desperado combination.
The Badlands is just a mile or so from Angel Park, another Vegas favorite golf course, and I will add it to my play list when I am in town. I enjoyed the Diablo-Desparado "experience" and even though it was much more difficult than Outlaw, enjoyed the challenge presented by these narrow ribbons of grass in a sea of rocky desert. It is a great course to play, and the "experience" was worth loosing a few golf balls, and keeping an eye out for the rattlers.
The link below is a Windows Movie Format video with photos of the course. It will play in Windows Media Player when clicked. The video is about 7 MB.
Badlands Golf Club Video