The idea of casino properties with their own golf courses isn’t something new, but it’s something that’s making more sense with each passing year. This is due effectively to the changing nature of casino entertainment, for which there are a few different reasons and explanations.
One is a younger clientele. One need only look to Las Vegas, the greatest casino tourism hot spot in the world, to find recent articles about visitors’ shifting priorities. Vegas is evolving to suit millennial interests, which typically means lighter emphasis on gaming (just try getting someone under 35 to take real interest in a slot machine), and more of a focus on shops, restaurants, and side entertainment. This sort of evolution is particularly visible in Vegas, but it’s something we’re seeing in casinos around the world, at least to some extent.
Another reason for these changes is the expanding availability of casino game offerings on the internet. Various game providers hosted in countries around the world present every conceivable casino game in digital form, and offer bonuses alongside the games. The games are simpler to access, often cheaper to enjoy, and sometimes innovative or engaging in ways casino floor games can’t match. This too is driving real-world casino visitors to take interest in side offerings; the games just aren’t necessary anymore.
All of these changes lead to a lot of focus on a lot of different things, some of which were mentioned just above: restaurants, shows, shopping opportunities, bars and clubs, alternative video games, interactive museum displays, themed pools…. Casino resorts and towns are by no means short on amusement beyond their gaming floors. One aspect of their enduring appeal that doesn’t get quite as much attention, however, is golf. It’s by no means true that every casino resort has a golf course – but a growing number seem to, and in an era when we’re looking to these destinations more for comprehensive amusement and recreation than just for gaming, the ones with great golf courses are going to stand out more and more.
Given this, we’re taking a brief look at some of North America’s best casino golf courses.
Salish Cliffs – Shelton, Washington
The state of Washington in general is probably underrated when it comes to golf. A famously beautiful state, it’s home to a few particularly nice courses any globetrotting golfer would do well to put on his or her list. Where casino golf courses are concerned though, Salish Cliffs at the Little Creek Casino & Resort (pictured at the top) is the place to go. Ranked for years among America’s best golf courses, it’s a gorgeous place to play, bordered on all sides by the lush green surroundings of the area, with low mountains in the distance.
Eugene – Cranbrook, British Columbia
St. Eugene is an odd sort of place when compared to your average casino attraction. That’s because the casino itself has something of an old-world feel to it – not bright and twinkling and overflowing with attractions, but rather elegant and refined. It almost looks more like an oversized private residence than a casino resort, and is frankly unusual among American casino properties. The golf course itself, meanwhile, was voted one of Canada’s best new courses in 2001, and features a nice blend of low-key rustic appeal and striking surroundings (such as the St. Mary River and Fisher Peak).
Ocean Club Golf Course – Nassau, Bahamas
The Ocean Club Golf Course in the Bahamas isn’t in and of itself a renowned course, like some of the others here. However, its association with the Atlantis Resort & Casino makes it a sort of natural magnet, and its position alongside the captivating, turquoise waters of the Caribbean give it a quality almost unique among North American golf outings. It’s a fun place to play, at least once in your life!
Pete Dye Course – French Lick, Indiana
The French Lick Resort is a relaxing getaway in Indiana, and something of a gaming haven where people might not expect to find legal casinos. Not unlike St. Eugene it has a more authentic, almost historic vibe to it, and does not take after the gaudier modern casinos you can find at more famous gaming hubs. To match this vibe, the Pete Dye Course rolls gently through the surrounding hills and embraces the surrounding nature in a way that’s actually stunning to behold. It’s a subjective matter, but this may ultimately be the prettiest course on this list.
Shadow Creek – Las Vegas, Nevada
If Pete Dye is the prettiest course mentioned here, Shadow Creek is the most famous. It’s not associated with any one casino resort, but is arguably the premier course in the Las Vegas area. It’s somewhat exclusive, but not entirely off limits, and was made all the more famous just last year when it served as the venue for a Thanksgiving week match play contest between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson!