\nThe pro shop staff was snotty about charging full price for an absent member of our group (the course was empty!) and also in calling a cab for our return to the Strip. At least the beer-cart lady kept us informed about the pace ahead.
\nPACE OF PLAY
\nThe steep green fees weed out a lot of casual golfers, so play was swift on a summer Sunday morning. We had time to check out Butch Harmon's school beyond the first green, but with Natalie Gulbis nowhere to be found, we high-tailed it to the second tee.
\nThe forced carry at the par-3 third hole is the only drama on a pedestrian front nine, but designer Rees Jones lit up the back nine. Elevated tees, target-style fairways that ribbon through desert canyons and an unusual 5-5 finish yield a memorable round.
\nRio Secco is only cheap by Vegas standards. But the course was in great shape, the back nine's a stunner, and you might bump into one of Butch's students. It's worth your money, despite the service issues and an ongoing drainage problem at the 16th green.
\nYou can hire a fabulous babe called a "T-Mate" as your caddie which is reason enough to visit for most Vegas golfers. Tiger's course record of 64 is seldom in jeopardy, but Rio Secco is worth the wake-up call after a night on the Strip.