Golf and gambling have always been inseparable. Casinos just took a while to catch on. They've learned to cater to our dual-addiction: torturing us at the felt tables while tempting us with velvety greens. Today's top casino courses rank among the best public layouts in the country. And whatever the fee, odds are it's cheaper than five hours at the slots. These are three worth your money.
Circling Raven Golf Club
Coeur D'Alene Casino Resort, Worley, Idaho
Par 72, 7,189 yards; Green fees: $40-$95;
\nOn Gene Bates' layout, most holes are entities unto themselves: you take in lots of nature, but not the rest of the golf course. The design places a premium on your driver, a club you might consider on the par-3 13th, which stretches 253 yards over marsh. Punishment has never been so pretty.
Barona Creek Golf Club
Barona Resort and Casino, Lakeside, California
Par 72, 7,088 yards, Green fees: $80-$200;
\nCreeks, lakes and scrub oaks interlace this Nationwide Tour venue, which buckles through the foothills just east of San Diego. Go-for-broke par-5s present the risk-rewards of a double-down in blackjack, though these long shots require more skill than luck.
Beau Rivage Resort and Casino, Biloxi, Miss.
Par 72, 7,487 yards; Green fees: $200;
\nThe first big oak you see isn't fallen. It's the target for your tee shot on the par-5 first hole. This stunning opening serves as an apt prelude to a new layout that has all the leading critics cooing. Fallen Oak would qualify as a destination course, even if it weren't at a resort.