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Just outside Las Vegas, Boulder Creek Golf Club offers 27 holes of tranquility and challenge

BOULDER CITY, Nev. -- The formula for success at Boulder Creek Golf Club is simple: 27 stunning golf holes, a hospitable staff and a tranquil environment. Add in challenging elevation changes and ideal conditions and you've got the perfect spot for a Las Vegas golf getaway.

"We're a fair and challenging golf course," said Andy Schaper, head professional at Boulder Creek. "Like on any course, you've got to hit it straight, as the desert area around the fairways does provide quite a test if players do miss the fairways."

With 27 holes, Boulder Creek -- located about 30 minutes southeast of Las Vegas -- offers not only challenging layouts, but plenty of variety as well.

The Desert Hawk Course mixes desert landscaping and water features perfectly, especially on the opening and closing holes which will be the key to a successful nine holes.

The ninth hole, one of the toughest in the Las Vegas area, is a 480-yard par 4 that brings water into play twice. Off the tee, players must avoid a pond along the right side. Cut off as much of the corner as you dare to set up the shortest shot possible into this elevated green that's guarded on the right side by a huge bunker. It's a beautiful -- yet deadly -- golf hole.

"You don't have to hit driver off the tee on every hole on Desert Hawk," Schaper said. "Here you've got to play the course a little smarter and play for position. It's a great test of yardage control for players."

Over at Boulder Creek's Coyote Run nine, wide fairways greet golfers but with arroyos coming into play, distance control is a must -- especially off the tee -- if players want to score well.

"The par 5s on Coyote Run are the most challenging," Schaper said. "One of them is 635 yards so the distance alone makes it quite a challenge. It takes two great shots to reach the green."

That long-range golf hole would be the monstrous seventh. It's not only long, it's also well protected with seven bunkers (including a huge one left of the green) and that ever-present arroyo that must be dealt with either on the second or third shot. It's a par 5 so players will be looking for birdie here, but this one requires three great shots just to get a chance at a birdie putt.

Boulder Creek's Eldorado Valley nine is as scenic as it is challenging. There's no water on this nine but it's still got its share of challenges with plenty of bunkers and doglegs coming into play. Driver is okay off most tees, but be sure to double check your aiming points as the doglegs will run out if players don't take the proper angles.

And don't forget to take a few moments to glance around at the beautiful surroundings on this nine, highlighted by creeks, wildflowers and beach-like bunkers.

"The par 5s are more reachable on the Eldorado Valley nine but you've still got to be careful," Schaper said.

With its location away from the Las Vegas Strip, Boulder Creek Golf Club's isolation is priceless. There are no houses on the course -- it's just you, your clubs and the golf course.

"You get to enjoy the natural beauty of the Vegas area and play a very nice golf course," Schaper said.

It's a course that has been rated in the top 50 in Golfweek's best municipal courses twice.

Before or after your round, check out the wide array of food and drink options at the Boulder Creek Grill. And with an 8,000-square-foot pavilion that seats 350 guests and overlooks the golf course, it's an ideal spot for that special event.

"We've always looked at ourselves as a public facility with a country club atmosphere," Schaper added. "It's just a very comfortable golf course that people really enjoy."

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