<p><strong>Giving Thanks</strong><br />
<i>At this time of year, golfers are wise to count their blessings. Read what several GOLF.com writers are thankful for this season.</i></p>
<p>I'm thankful that Tiger is still motivated and Phil is still unpredictable.</p>
<p>I'm thankful for <!-- --><a class="articlelink" href="http://www.golf.com/golf/courses_travel/coursefinder/course/0,28290,1377053,00.html"><strong>Oakmont</strong></a><!-- / -->, <!-- --><a class="articlelink" href="http://www.golf.com/golf/courses_travel/coursefinder/course/0,28290,1289723,00.html"><strong>Firestone</strong></a><!-- / --> and the <!-- --><a class="articlelink" href="http://www.golf.com/golf/courses_travel/coursefinder/course/0,28290,1429585,00.html"><strong>Black</strong></a><!-- / -->.</p>
<p>I'm thankful for the Shark at Birkdale (<i>left</i>) and Berganio in Arizona.</p>
<p>I'm thankful that Anthony Kim talks it and walks it.</p>
<p>I'm thankful that <!-- --><a class="articlelink" href="http://www.golf.com/golf/courses_travel/coursefinder/course/0,28290,1432718,00.html"><strong>Montauk Downs</strong></a><!-- / --> is so close and so good.</p>
<p>But most of all, I'm thankful that a good friend in the golf world
is still around fighting his battle with vigor and looking forward to
the next time we can chase the sunset. <!-- --><a class="articlelink" href="http://contributors.golf.com/golf-writers/Damon-Hack.html"><i>Damon Hack</i></a><!-- / --></p>
The 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.
PACE OF PLAY
The 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.
The 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.
Rio 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.
You 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.