Bill Walters's Themed Golf Courses in Las Vegas

Bill Walters loves golf and Vegas but hates desert golf. "I don't like target courses where if you miss a fairway you're fighting a rattlesnake for your ball," he says. High-stakes sports betting netted Walters millions.

He also bet a few dollars on golf, and once won $450,000 in a single round. "That was 30 years ago," he says, smiling. "They paid me with sacks of money. A limo picked me up and took me to the Horseshoe casino, where I proceeded to lose it all."

Since 1996, Walters, 57, has developed themed courses on and around The Strip, listed below. His latest venture is Las Vegas Golf Getaways (lvgg.com), which offers stay-and-play packages. For more on Walters Golf, call 888-427-6678 or visit waltersgolf.com. [BR Clear]

Bali Hai Golf Club

The only course of note on The Strip, Bali Hai offers a memorable taste of the South Pacific with green fairways, black volcanic rock, white sand and blue lagoons, 100,000 tropical plants and 2,500 palm trees. Given the cost and the course's seven acres of water features, it's a round best enjoyed sans hangover after a good night at the tables. Greens fees: $245-$295

Desert Pines Golf Club

Walters's first track pays homage to Pinehurst, and while Desert Pines won't be hosting the 2005 U.S. Open, its thousands of transplanted pine trees and bales of straw support the illusion. Sprayers will struggle — this layout's not long on elbow room — so hit balls before you play. A two-tiered, 55-stall driving range features auto-teeing and (aaah!) climate control. Greens fees: $135-$175

Royal Links Golf Club

Less pricey than a jaunt across the pond — with guaranteed better weather — Royal Links features replicas of 18 renowned holes from the British Open rota. The Road Hole at St. Andrews and Royal Troon's Postage Stamp are here, as are testers from Turnberry, Carnoustie, Prestwick and Muirfield. Forecaddies provide wise commentary; ditto the many plaques around the course. Tiger Woods holds the course record of 67. Greens fees: $225-$250

Stallion Mountain Country Club

Chip Beck shot 59 here in the 1991 Las Vegas Invitational when Stallion Mountain was Sunrise CC. Walters took the reins in '97, renamed the club and tagged its three 18-hole tracks Secretariat, Man o' War and Citation. The latter two were recently put out to pasture (sold off and razed for homesites), while Walters upgraded the stud, now simply Stallion Mountain. No replica theme here, just solid golf and fine service. Greens fees: $155-$195

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