12 Las Vegas golf courses above par

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If they build an entire city with the country's fastest growing population in the desert, then you know they can certainly whip up a few golf courses, too.

And the golf in Las Vegas is nearly as renowned as its gambling and partying. Although there are a few courses on the Strip (Wynn, Hilton and Mandalay Bay), most courses are within a 30-minute ride of the Strip. In order to play some of the top courses in Las Vegas, you need to be a guest of the hotel company that owns it.

Have a look at a dozen courses worth a cab ride or car rental.

1) Cascata

A Rees Jones course owned by Harrah's, Cascata opened in 2000 and lives up to its name. "Cascata" means "waterfall" in Italian and the tee box on the par-3 15th hole will tell you everything you need to know about water on this course. Consistently ranked high on all the "Best of" courses by golf publications, Cascata is a half-hour drive from the Strip. 702-294-2005 ; harrahs.com/golf/cascata-golf . Greens fee: $500 every day.

2) Shadow Creek

Mix mountains, creeks, waterfalls, pine trees and gardens and what do you get? Shadow Creek. An insanely picturesque course designed by Tom Fazio, Shadow Creek is known for its celebrity sightings on the course. The only way to play this course is to be a guest at an MGM Mirage hotel, which includes MGM Grand, Mirage, Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, Luxor, Treasure Island and a handful more. A 20-minute drive from the Strip. 866-260-0069; shadowcreek.com . Greens fee: $500 every day.

3) Rio Secco Golf Club

One of the most challenging courses in Vegas, Rio Secco takes you into the canyons, on top of plateaus and across the desert. Designed by Rees Jones and owned by Harrah's, Secco is a public course. It features little water and lots of natural desert surroundings to make every shot thought-provoking. It's also home to the Butch Harmon School of Golf. You know, the dude that taught Tiger Woods a few things about golf. 20 minutes from the Strip. 702-777-2400; riosecco.net . Greens fee: From $140.

4) TPC at the Canyons

Built to be natural and rugged, TPC Canyons is often referred to as "desert elegance." It plays more than 7,000 yards from the champions tees and with each hole, you'll appreciate the course more. In the Summerlin region, the course is within 20-25 minutes of the Strip. tpc.com/canyons . Greens fee: From $250.

5) Arroyo Golf Club at Red Rock

Red Rock Canyon may be one of the most beautiful places you'll ever see. This Arnold Palmer signature course in Summerlin takes advantage of that postcard look. A par 72 public course that plays 6,883 yards, Arroyo combines courageous bunkering and dramatic water hazards. 866-934-4653; thearroyogolfclub.com/ . Greens fee: From $129.

6) Paiute - The Wolf Course

The newest and most challenging of the three courses designed by Pete Dye is the longest in Nevada - a grueling 7,604 yards. Bring a few extra golf balls for the devilish island green on the par-3 15th hole. About 30-35 minutes off the Strip. 800-711-2833; lvpaiutegolf.com . Greens fee: From $110.

7) Revere at Anthem

If you don't routinely hit fairways, buy a few extra dozen golf balls at the clubhouse before heading out to the starter. This course will eat you up. The funny thing is, you won't get mad about it because Revere is bold, challenging and rewarding. Both the Concord and Lexington courses play more than 7,000 yards. 877-273-8373; reveregolf.com . Greens fee: From $120.

8) The Falls

The latest course at Lake Las Vegas Resort measures 7,260 yards and was designed by Tom Weiskopf. The front nine is desert-based while the back nine uses the mountains to change elevation more than 220 feet. It reaches altitude high enough to occasionally see Bighorn sheep grazing. Just hope they don't eat your Pro-V1s. The 12th hole, a par 3, allows you to tee off from a canyon high above the Strip. No. 12 is a doozy and we won't ruin that surprise. About 30 minutes from the Strip. 877-698-4653; lakelasvegas.com/golf_falls.asp . Greens fee: From $120.

9) Reflection Bay

Another of the courses at Lake Las Vegas, this is the first public course in Nevada designed by Jack Nicklaus. Five holes border Lake Las Vegas, creating some of the more majestic views in town. Enjoy the view and three waterfalls. A variety of landscaping allows you to experience Nicklaus' gift of course design. About 30 minutes from the Strip. 877-698-4653; lakelasvegas.com/golf_reflection.asp . Greens fee: From $250.

10) Bear's Best

Jack Nicklaus' greatest hits compiled on this one course! It features the best holes from various courses he's designed across the world, including Cabo del Sol in Mexico and PGA West in Palm Springs, Calif. Not bad action for a public course. 866-385-8500; bearsbest.com . Greens fee: From $120.

11) Badlands

Three 9-hole courses combine to make this Johnny Miller-designed track one of the top desert golf experiences. It was voted the Best Desert Course in Las Vegas by Vegas Golfer magazine in 2006. Set amid the Red Rock Mountains, it's 20 minutes off the Strip. 702-363-0754; badlandsgc.com . Greens fee: From $70.

12) Bali Hai

Go from desert to Indonesia simply by paying the greens fee and teeing it up on the first hole at this course at Mandalay Bay. Palm trees and tropical plant line the fairways at course designed by Lee Schmidt and Brian Curley in 2000. The island green on the par-3 16th hole often includes an audience from the Cili Restaurant. 888-427-6678; balihaigolfclub.com . Greens fee: From $199.

Find more courses and book tee times at vegasgolfer.com

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