The TPC golf courses—operated by the PGA Tour—were developed to give golfers a chance to experience golf as the professional tour players do on a weekly basis.

It allows the golfer to walk the same fairways, play the same set of tees, putt the same greens, use the same locker areas and relax in the same bar/restaurants as the pros.

When planning a golf trip, if there is a TPC in the area, it is almost always a must-play. The TPC Las Vegas is no exception.

Since opening in 1996, the course, formerly known as the TPC Canyons, has hosted numerous PGA Tour events. The name change makes sense because the Las Vegas name carries more impact than Canyons, but if you want an accurate description of the course, Canyons hits it right on the head.

Designed by Bobby Weed and Raymond Floyd, the course is for shot-makers. It is a traditional desert-golf course with forced carries on almost every hole, as the green grass on the course contrasts starkly with the desert.

Winding through arroyos and barranca, the course plays between 2,000 to 2,500 feet of elevation, giving the golfer a little extra yardage. The maintenance staff does a wonderful job with the course, keeping it in PGA Tour conditions throughout the year. Of course, that means the greens are quick!

The contrast of the terrain makes for some dramatic holes and it does not take long for the first of those to appear. The 2nd hole, a 184-yard, par 3 is a wonderful hole where you tee off from the edge of an arroyo to an island-type green.

After your shot, you wind down the cart path to the green, taking in the scores of wildlife around the property. During our round, we had a coyote stalking several rabbits from a position on the green.

The next hole also is one to remember. The par-4, 452-yard hole features a daunting, forced carry tee shot that is followed by a tough, uphill approach to the green. Once you have played the hole, there is little reason to doubt that it is the No. 1 handicap hole on the course.

But, any strokes lost on the third can be gotten back on No. 4. The 518-yard, par 5 plays through a canyon the entire length.

While the front 9 plays longer–3,421 yards as compared to 3,348 on the back—the closing side seems to play much tougher.

The two-hole tandem of Nos. 13 and 14 are the teeth of the back nine. The 13th is 396-yard, par 4 that has a sizeable forced carry off the tee and can play into the wind. Known as Death Valley, the hole can, and most often, will play over par.

The 14th plays only 356 yards, but the par 4 has a split fairway. Play to the right and you might have 100 yards into the hole, but go to the inviting left and you will have 150-175 yards in and an approach back over another gorge.

The closing two holes are not easy, but playing downwind allows for the golfer to close strong.

The 17th plays at 421 yards, but the fairway is wide open and calls for you to tighten your shoelaces and go for broke. The 421-yard 18th is also downwind, but there is a decent forced carry off the tee. There is also water in play to make it a strong finishing hole.

The TPC experience also should include spending some time in both the pro shop and the grille. Great customer service sets the tone in both. The grille is spacious and features a collection of PGA Tour wines.

Our stop at the TPC had us feeling like country club members for a day, starting from the moment we got out of the car right until we left.

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By Dennis Miller