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Played Friday, 5/19, with 12:30/12:40 tee times following our round on Stadium. Our bags were transferred over from Stadium and we drove our car across the street and were waiting for us.

Condition wise, Champions was a huge step down from Stadium. Tee boxes were level. Fairways were thinning and had some brown areas. Rough was about 1 inch, not difficult to hit out. Bunkers were a bit dried out, definitely not fluffy like Stadium. Greens were good. A little slower than Stadium, but smooth.

It definitely felt like the little brother, complete with hand me down carts (older, no GPS, no USB), and less love from "the parents." However, I loved the feeling around the clubhouse. They had a very nice patio area with a grill (Stadium is a sit down place and a half way house), lower prices, and incredible food (the burger I had was outstanding!).

My only complaint about the staff: We were booked as a 3some and 2some and a 2 was paired up. We checked with the starter beforehand and knew no one was behind us until a shotgun about a hour later. We let the added 2some played through on their own (they were happy about it), then joined up as a 5some at the 6th hole. We actually caught the 2some on 10, but no one behind us. 3 marshals drove past and didn't say anything. On the 16th green, a marshal stopped and berated us for playing as a 5. Yeah, and we finished in 4 hours, 10 minutes, no one behind us.
Played Friday, 5/19. This was the trophy course for our trip and it did not disappoint. We paid $225 for a 36 combo deal they run with the Champions course. Basically, we paid for Stadium and Champions was thrown in for free. I've been a fan of the Phoenix tour stop and have wanted to play this for sometime (minus all the times I've played on Rory McIlroy). We played as a 3some and a 2some paired with another 2. Finished in 4:15 with a 6:40 tee time.

Customer service was top notch. I had to call to make the tee times and the lady was great working with me to get the times I wanted for the 5 of us, Stadium in the morning, Champions in the afternoon. Bag drop guys were friendly and informative. Check in was easy. Starter was a great guy who BS'd with us while we waited and took our group pic, along with some helpful course tips. Large included driving range and small putting green near the first tee. Carts had GPS and dual USB plugs.

Course was typical of a TPC. Lush fairways. Rough was almost 2 inches, thick, and penal. Sand was the type you see the pros hit out off, amazingly soft and fluffy, I almost wanted to hit into it. Greens were fantastic. I read previous reviews that mentioned slow speeds, mostly due to growing them out for the summer heat. For us, they were medium-fast and rolled smooth, even with some signs of some light sanding.

Overall, I loved it! Front 9 is pretty nondescript, but the course changes on the back. 6 of 9 holes have water. The "signature" 16th was disappointing, with no stadium, it was a very bland 135 yard hole that just didn't feel like the crazy hole it should be. My favorite was 15, a 2 shot par 5 for the pros, which amazed me. The water in front of the small island green looks bigger on TV, but is like 15-20 yards, even hitting over in 3 was nerve wracking. 17 was a blast at 250 yards from the white tees, with a chance to drive the green (I yanked it left but short of the water). 18 is a tough finishing hole with water left of the tee. The long hitter bunkers at the end of the water were not in play for me. I would play here again for a price around $100, but the price was worth it to scratch it off the list.
Played on Thursday, 5/18 with tee times at 12:04/12:12 due to being 5 of us. Paid $38 booking online. It's a bit of a drive from Phoenix, about 50 minutes to the southwest, but worth it.

Customer service was great. Bag drop guys loaded the carts, quick check in, friendly staff, and a phenomenal drink cart which was around 5 times. Starter let us out early and as a 5some, since the there wasn't anyone behind us except a 3some (they played through on 8) in the next 4 tee times.

Tee boxes were level and relatively divot free. Fairways were wide and carpet like lush. Rough was cut just a bit longer to give definition. I did not like the bunkers. Sand was heavy in deep bunkers, just made it difficult for me to get out. Greens were firm and smooth, some roll after shots into them. Speed was close to fast.

Loved the course! I had not heard of it and wasn't on my trip radar until a few weeks ago, and I booked it mainly because of the price. Absolute gem. Catching it after the prices went down but still not hot helped a lot. I recommend it at the price I got, a steal.
Played on Wednesday, 5/17, as we drove from Vegas to Phoenix for a weekend of golf. Excellent course to start off the trip. I was excited for it after reading and talking to Sixpez about his trip here.

Course has a private club feel to it. You pull up to a guard gate to enter the community the course runs through. The club house, pro shop, and event areas have a western motif to them and just feels laid back. There's chairs, couches, a fire pit all around so you can watch play as you relax before or after the round. There's some yacht rock type music pumped through speakers near the practice green. Practice facility is great. Large driving range which is included. Large putting green with lots of undulation (if you want to practice a putt that drops like 5 feet, here's your chance). Practice green was consistent with the course.

Course was in great shape. A mild spring has kept the course in fantastic condition. Lush green fairways with no thin/brown areas. Rough was about 1 inch or so and easy to hit out. Bunkers were a bit crispy, with some pebbles. Greens were super firm, but smooth and fast. You had to just hit to the front and let it roll up. Tee boxes were pretty good, some damage on the par 3s.

Great course and worth the drive. It's in a housing community, but they're not really noticeable. A nice variety of holes. The uphill 9th is incredible, along with a couple of elevated tees. We paid $80 for a 11:40 tee time, basically had the course to ourselves, played in just under 4:30. Great customer service.
Met JohnnyGK for a round yesterday, 5/25. First time playing here since the renovation, and hadn't played the old Desert Rose layout since the days of playing 2-3 times a year, so I did not remember a lot of the old course. We played as 2, with a single skipping through, had the whole course to ourselves on a Thursday teeing off at noon, and finished in a just under 3 1/2 hours. Fantastic Vegas golf day, temps in the 90s, but a good wind.

Practice area was nice. Driving range has one of those long, semi-soft astroturf type mats to hit from. Easy on the irons, but difficult to put a tee in, unless you like to tee it really high. Cool feature: a large "777" sign for the 150 yard flag, which we took aim at a couple of times, unsuccessfully. A two tier putting green with about 8 holes, which was the same speed and condition of the course greens. They also have a chipping/bunker area.

Onto the course. Back in the day, it was nicknamed "The Ditch" for the Las Vegas Wash which runs along the right side of all but 3 holes and factors in almost every shot. Due to still spring like conditions, the ditch was as green as the fairways and made choosing a line of the tee in the wind difficult. We just couldn't figure out where the edge of the ditch started. Fairways were a bit thin in places, due to the drought resistant, salt resistant grass they use tee to green. The grass grows better in warmer weather, so summer should be great. Rough is cut to fairway height. Bunkers were pretty good. I was in 2 green side, neither were too fluffy or too firm, they were just right and easy to get out (I used a putter for one for fun). The greens were the best part of the course. They were incredible. They felt soft under my feet, but I only found 1 ball mark all day. Glass like smooth, medium fast and tricky undulation.

Overall, I absolutely enjoyed the course. With the firm, fast fairways, wind, and no trees, it played like a links course. The ditch is to the right and there's houses all along the left, but they are set far enough back from the fairways. There's red dirt between the cart path and houses, so prepared to hit some low runners out if you end up in it. It's a fun course to try some shots you wouldn't normally try to hit. With it's current rates under $30, it's a steal.
Played on Friday, 5/12, with a 6:30ish tee time, with John_T, his dad Larry, and bro-in-law Jay. Thanks to not setting the alarm, I rolled up to the starter right at our time and he let a 2some out in front.

Conditions were pretty good to great. Tee boxes were in level areas with some divot damage on the par 3s. Fairways were mostly lush, with a few fairways having a brown spot or 2. Rough was about 2 inches, shorter in some areas, longer around the greens. Greens were smooth and ran medium-fast. They were not as firm as normal. I wasn't in a bunker, but they looked as they normally do.

Customer service was typical. No one was out to pick up the bag. Golf shop guys are great, nice and talkative. Drink cart started around 8, and was around 2-3 times. Only weird thing was the marshal pulled up while we were on #6 to tell us we were 10 minutes behind (not accounting for the late start) even though the closest group was a 2some a full hole behind us. I will admit our 4some was not keeping up with the 2some ahead of us, playing the tips and shooting in the 70s (total sarcasm). The next 2 times by he did not say anything.

Another fine day at AP. I find the Mountain to be a good challenge, especially the last 3 of each 9. We paid $41 with the OB card.
Played in the GK event on 5/7. I'm going to break it down a little different, viewing the course as someone who breaks 100 about half the time:

Practice area: Nice grass driving range. Had to wait a few minutes for a spot but most days are not going to have 44 people trying to warm up at the same time. Decent chipping area. Thought the practice green was a little small, and faster than greens on the course.

Conditions: Overall excellent. Never a bad tee box. Nice fairways. Rough about 2 inches in most areas. Greens were firm and rolled nice. I did not see many ball marks all day. Only complaint I had were the bunkers, however, they did have strong gusts the night before and that's bad for loose sand. My example is the large 100 yard long bunker on the left side of #5, which ends about 7 feet below the elevated green. Just no sand to get under the ball. I hit the liner (a few times). Just found a variety of sand conditions in the many bunkers I was in.

Customer service: Pretty good, bag drop was busy when I pulled up. Parked then walked up and stood with my bag for 5 minutes before someone grabbed it. I was offered a ride over to the practice area. Drink cart was around about 4 times. Grill service was ok, but it was a big group. I wasn't a fan of how they consolidated about 35 orders on the ticket though.

Overall: I loved the course. I played the 6200 yard combo tees and it was probably a bad idea. Should of stuck to the 6000 yard whites. This is the 3rd Nicklaus course I've played and probably the toughest off the tee but the most flat greens I've seen him use. However, those bunkers are ridiculously hard. I would definitely go back and would be an awesome pairing with the Stadium course.
Played on Saturday, 4/29, with GK'ers Noeldaof, John_T, and John's dad, Larry. Noel and Larry played the golds (6602 yards, 71.2/131) while John and I stuck to the Ruby tees (5864 yards, 68.4/125) We had a 6:40 tee time and we ended up being the 1st group out around 6:45. I didn't think we slow played, but we finished just over 4:30, with the group behind pushing us a little. I have no idea why the pace was such, we would pull away, they would catch up, didn't spend much time look for lost balls.

Atmosphere: Royal Links opened as a high end course, with the tourist in mind, ran by Walters Golf (Bali Hai, formerly of Desert Pines). The holes are "inspired" by the British Open, including a few no longer in the rota. In November, the course was bought by Scottsdale Golf, who is now targeting locals, with residents pricing and player cards. When you arrive, you have to ring the bell to get the gate open, possibly due to the neighborhood (I grew up around here, I know it can be tough). You pull up to the castle, drop the bag, and either park or valet it. I found the outside staff kinda "eh," but it could of been due to the early morning. Pro shop staff was good, checked us in and directed us back out and to the range. They have a cool looking Irish pub, but wasn't able to enjoy it because of family plans. Drink cart came by twice while we were on the back 9, and she was awesome. Thanked us for coming out on the first pass and again as we were on the 18th tee.

Course: Full grass driving range included with the green fee. Big, rolling practice green with huge elevation changes. I found the practice green faster than the course and threw me off on pace for part of the front 9. Tee boxes were lush and pretty level. Even the par 3s had minimum amounts of divots. Fairways were good, and kept to the theme. Not carpet like, but not thin and dried out. Rough was crazy and loved it. From 1 inch to the desert version of gorse. Bunkers were good. Thick heavy sand, but most of the time you're hitting out sideways. Greens were ok. Firm with almost no ball marks. Medium speed. The most of greens on the back 9 were having maintenance done on their collars, with large sod pieces being laid down.

Overall: Royal Links fits in Vegas. Of course we can have a Scotland/England inspired course in the middle of the desert, we have an Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty, and a pyramid. There are lots of trees along the perimeter, but the interior is pretty barren. There are lots of mounds throughout. And I don't think I ever played a course with as many blind shots as this one (probably why we played a little slow, trying to figure where to hit it). We paid $75 residents rate, which I thought was a bit high for the course. I would definitely recommend it to someone visiting if they can find a rate they like. I don't know if I would play again, maybe as an once in a great while, or if I get a very nice rate.
Played Friday, 3/31, with John_T and his dad, thanks to a free 4some from gary00 via tonybarrett. Thank you gentlemen, and thank you Johnny and Aliante/Troon for providing it during a GK event.

With winds hitting close to 70 mph in the area last night, I was expecting a mess on the course. I saw a couple of maintenance vehicles hauling off lots of big limbs as I pulled in, but there was no sign of any damage to the course. Great job by the staff. Due to the weather the last few days, tee boxes were a bit shaggy, mostly level, and some divot damage. Fairways were in great shape and best part of the course. Lush, no thin or brown areas. Rough was rough, bermuda just coming back. Coverage near the desert areas have really thinned out or died. Bunkers were bad, just hard packed, thin, with pebbles in them. Greens were pretty good. As a reminder, they lost almost all of them last summer and were a bit shaggy in November when I played. Firm today, medium speed, with some bumpiness.

Staff was great. No drink cart today, but you go past the bar/grill on the way to the 10th tee, with great prices. Weather kept everyone away, played in 3:45, letting a 2some through early. I do love this course, happy to see it coming back but it still has some work to do. Not a destination, but worth it for under $50.
Played Thursday, 3/23, with a 9:25a tee time. I won a free 2some in twitter contest Arroyo/Siena sponsored with UNLV Basketball which was good Monday-Thursday. Arroyo is the public side of the Red Rock Country Club, with it's private Mountain course in the same area. Each course has it's own clubhouse and practice area. When you pull into the parking lot, carts are set up at the bag drop and it's a very short walk to the pro shop to check in and a pretty large restaurant attached. There's a very small putting green outside of the pro shop which was the same speed as the course. If you want to hit the driving range, the Arroyo range is on the far side of the private range and you need to drive up the side of it to get there. When you do, you find 6-8 stations in a worn out area next to another private area. Yes, you can tell the difference but it's fine for warming up. We were paired up with a local couple and we finished in about 3:45, excellent pace.

I last played here almost 3 years ago and I remembered I really enjoyed the course. Shocker. Enjoyed it today. While it does route through housing, they are "mostly" out of play. Outside of 8/9, no 2 holes repeat, nice variety of par 3s (including a 200+ yard into the wind).

Conditions were Ok, not bad, not great. Most tee boxes were good, but #7 (the signature par 3) was completely dirt at the blue tees. Fairways were firm with little amount of thin areas. Rough was about 2-3 inches. Greens were weird. Ran at a medium speed, they appeared to have a few different grasses in them. There was a few bumpy putts today. My only complaint are the bunkers. Just like 3 years ago, the liners are exposed in the bunkers, all on the front 9. The sand was ok, but had little pebbles. If you had a putt anywhere near a green side bunker, you had lots of pebbles around you.

Overall, I really really want to like this course. Customer service is great. Drink cart was around 4-5 times. It's just the little things like some of the tee boxes and those bunker liners that bother me. Would I play here again? Yes, if I was paying about $40.
Played on Friday, 3/17, with a 9:10 tee time. If you love college basketball and have never been to Vegas for March Madness,you are missing out. When I worked in the sports books, this weekend was bigger than Super Bowl. The whole town is packed, including the golf courses. AP was packed, but I was able to make a tee time online Sunday night.

Checked in at the starter and paired up with a father/son duo from New Jersey before being sent to the 1st tee, which had 2 groups waiting. Finally teed off around 9:20ish and finished in almost exactly 4 1/2 hours, which was expected. When we paid in the pro shop at 8:20, the group ahead of us had a 8:25 tee time. We waited on almost every hole, but everyone was moving along. I knew it would not be a less than 4 hour round and planned for it. Beautiful Vegas day with temps in the 80s, a slight breeze, and the drink cart around at least 5 times.

Conditions similar to 2 weeks ago. Great fairways, they're starting to grow out the rough, and decent desert sand (both bunkers were kind of heavy). The only change was a slight top dressing of sand on the greens. Only noticeable when you marked your ball and the greens still rolled pretty smooth with a medium fast speed.

I will not complain about paying $43 with the OB card, but I don't know what the "rack" rate was today.
Friday, 3/3, with a 11:26 tee time for the $30 replay rate. Second part of a 36 hole day. Enjoyed a great breakfast in the restaurant between rounds, topped off with an excellent spicy bloody mary. We watched the 1st tee of Palm while we ate and saw nothing but carts continuously stacked up. Checked in, sent to the tee and joined by a local couple with only the wife playing, and finished in just under 4 and 1/2 hours, waiting on the 3 ahead of us most of the day, but nothing horrendous.

Conditions mirrored the Mountain course. Decent tee boxes with minimum divot damage. Fairways were nice and lush. Bunkers were OK, typical of the desert, with some pebbles. Rough was about 1-2 inches and not penal at all. Greens were smooth and fast, probably as fast as I've seen them. Any faster and it would be difficult to putt downhill without it running completely off.

Drink cart was around 3-4 times and the halfway house snack bar was open. Marshall was out and kept it moving on a busy Friday afternoon.
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