Turn Tom Fazio loose on a piece of raw Nevada desert and pair him (for the 13th time) with the Discovery Land Company's development mastery, and the results are predictable: a huge success. After high-profile Vegas-area hits such as Shadow Creek and Wynn Las Vegas, Fazio's next bet is the Summit. And with this private course, the iconic designer has again hit the jackpot.
Located nine miles from the Las Vegas Strip, the Summit anchors a 555-acre community on the edge of the Red Rock National Conservation Area, where homesites are meant to draw high-rollers. The lots sit far above the golf holes, which essentially play up and down the sides and along the bottom of an enormous bowl. Fazio created the Summit with his son Logan and longtime associates Andy Banfield and Brian Courcelle. Together they concocted a broad-shouldered track on a massive scale. Bunkers are enormous, to "fill up the frame," in Fazio's words. Most noteworthy are the track's 300 feet of elevation change and the variety in both visuals and shot values. "It's very striking," Fazio says, referring to holes like the downhill, 614-yard par-5 sixth. "Some have the Vegas skyline in the backdrop—a great view of the Strip." Other holes, he adds, "look north at snowcapped Mt. Charleston and the Red Rock peaks. We have a lot of elevated tees that present dramatic vistas."
Holes 1 through 7 traverse a narrow valley. You then emerge from a tunnel to take on 8 through 15, an area cut into a green valley slashed with creeks. The final three holes occupy what Fazio calls "The Red Zone," an otherworldly realm where red rocks dominate. The 579-yard, par-5 18th illuminates the design virtues: There's an elevated tee, a ravine down the left side, and a bunker cluster on the right, with vivid red rocks drawing the eye for the journey.
Sucker bets abound in Sin City. Then there's the Summit—a wager that simply can't lose.