Wynn Resorts to Reopen Upscale Tom Fazio-designed Golf Club in Vegas
By Scott Kauffman
Upscale Tom Fazio-designed golf is making an encore along the Las Vegas Strip. And it’s an old friend: Wynn Golf Club.
Ironically, this high-end course makes a return to the famed northern stretch of the Strip, less than a year after casino mogul Steve Wynn stepped down and sold his shares in the company after allegations of sexual misconduct. Wynn Resorts new chief executive officer Matt Maddox confirmed the golf-related news during the company’s third-quarter earnings call Nov. 7, saying golf is a “great amenity for the resort” and too profitable to keep closed.
“We actually, not only did we notice we lost 16,000 rounds of golf out there, 70% of which were cash, but we lost probably $10 million to $15 million worth of domestic casino business,” said Maddox, whose company closed the golf club last December. “People coming in for golf trips, they have decided to go elsewhere.”
Meanwhile, Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ: WYNN) decided to put the proposed Wynn Paradise Park lagoon and entertainment-themed complex elsewhere - on a less valuable 38-acre parcel purchased in late 2017 across from the Strip. Plans for a new 400,000-square-foot convention center forge ahead on the prime 130-acre golf property accented by lavish waterfalls and lush fairways and greens.
“So what we’ve done is we actually went back and reengage Tom Fazio, who is the original designer of our golf course,” Maddox said, “to come in and take a look at the couple holes that were disrupted by this 400,000-square-foot convention center and see if we can design a new 18-hole golf course connected to Wynn in Encore and have that back in action before our convention center opens.
“ The design of that is complete, the work has commenced, and the golf course will be restored and back in action by this time next year.”
As for the proposed 38-acre lagoon where Wynn guests can one day lounge on a white sand beach and enjoy a host of water activities from skiing to paddle boarding and parasailing, Maddox said the company will be starting the likely two-year design and development work next year.
Back on land, golf has long played a rich role on the Las Vegas Strip.
For years, this tourist mecca had two memorable courses to play: Bali Hai Golf Club on the southern end of the strip next to Mandalay Bay and historic Desert Inn Country Club on the opposite side. Of course, the famed Desert Inn Hotel & Casino and namesake course, which opened in 1952 and played host to the PGA Tour for 14 years, eventually closed in 2001 after Wynn and his namesake company acquired the defunct casino hotel and course.
Wynn eventually brought in Fazio to redesign the course and create a new world-class layout in April 2005 to compete with Wynn’s famous Shadow Creek layout he co-designed with Fazio in 1989 but ended up losing 11 years later during a hostile takeover of his Mirage Resorts casino empire.
The former Wynn Resort and Country Club, which featured a sparkling new hotel, luxury golf villas and high-roller green fees as high as $500, lasted for 12 years but was put to rest last December when Wynn Resorts decided the lush green fairways had a much higher and better land use: further casino real estate development.
Thankfully for golfers, however, Wynn Golf Club is getting a mulligan