Golfers have always been drawn to distinctive settings. That’s why Augusta National, Pebble Beach, and St. Andrews are the most consistent entries on any must-play list from around the world. Having the chance to go to a destination that stands out is not only the reason to go once, but the top reason to go back time and time again.
Wolf Creek in Mesquite, Nevada is one of those magical places, a golf course that perfectly blends anticipation, an off-the-chart wow factor, and lasting memories for all that they have been fortunate enough to play this public oasis in the desert since 2000. While there maybe 1000s of desert golf courses in the world, there is only one Wolf Creek.
MGM had the privilege of interviewing Darren Stanek, Wolf Creek’s General Manager and Co-owner Cory Clemetson, two titans of golf that have forged an indelible mark in Mesquite.
In your opinion Darren, what separates Wolf Creek apart from the competition?
“The golf course scenery is stunning and a main reason we have the notoriety. The conditioning of the course is top notch considering the climate, limited sunshine, and airflow to certain areas as well as limited areas cart traffic can enter and leave the cart paths. Unless you have played Wolf Creek you can’t imagine the drop offs from the teeing grounds and the fairways that look like little green ribbons of grass in the middle of red canyons. This is virtually for 18 straight holes. Some courses have a few cut out of similar terrain for us its every hole. The pictures don’t do it justice and that is saying something because the photos are incredible.”
Please discuss how your eyes are drawn to so many different vistas when playing a round at Wolf Creek?
“The course is all about aesthetics. We use specific bright white sand so the bunkers stand out with the green fairways and the red rock surroundings. The shots that you have an opportunity to try to pull off brings a challenge and fun element that other courses don’t have with the frequency. Every hole has a risk reward component and even the most conservative player will have a crucial decision to make during the round of whether to go for it or not. It’s not a long course so players of all abilities can truly enjoy their round at Wolf Creek.”
You mentioned earlier that Wolf Creek’s notoriety borders on larger than life. Any specific examples you’d like to share?
“The golf course is highly regarded all over the world. I just got back from Scotland and was amazed how many people over there had heard of Wolf Creek and that it was on their bucket list. Many also mentioned playing Wolf Creek many times on EA Sports both Tiger Woods and now Rory McIlroy. Last year we were featured in magazines in Mexico, UK, France, Australia and Canada. We also had guests from 18 different countries.”
Stanek continued: “The scenery is so amazing that we have been contacted by several major corporations to shoot major campaigns out here. Cleveland Golf and Under Armor are just a couple that we were able to work out details. This past year WGT (World Golf Tour) mapped the entire course for their online game which is coming out in 2019.”
Interview with Wolf Creek Co-Owner Cory Clemetson
Darren mentioned earlier the fame Wolf Creek has received by being featuring on EA Sports. What are your greatest memories about seeing your course as part of a video game?
“To be one of 20 golf courses feature in that game made a significant impact on our brand. To be included with Pebble Beach, Augusta National and St. Andrews – when you’re one of those exclusive courses, it really made a big difference. Since then we’ve been in World Golf Tour’s games, Under Armour has done their photo shoot several times here, Cleveland Golf was a more recent one. We get a lot of calls from people to want to photograph the course or use the course.”
The pictures of Wolf Creek are incredible; what do you want people to know about the course that can’t be seen in photos?
“I think it’s the equivalent of playing in the middle of the Grand Canyon.”
“It’s basically the golf experience of a lifetime.”
“We believe there are 18 signature holes.”
“We created a brand. And when you’re creating a brand we looked at what Wolf Creek was and the kind of course it was being so unique and we created a brand around it. We call it the ultimate golf experience. Obviously, our course is unique and a lot of fun for our guests and golfers.”
What is your vision for Wolf Creek, what is its future?
“Our goal when we took over was to be consistently ranked one of the top 20 or 25 courses in the country. I think from a fan perspective, I believe the fans from all over the world probably consider us a top 20 golf course. We get that consistently – ‘this is one of the best courses we’ve ever played.’ Obviously, our course is unique and was not made as a traditional golf course so there will be people that from a ranking perspective might not rate us that high as the fans do. But I think we’re an established golf course and that’s the one thing we set out to do many years ago. In terms of popularity, people like to come to play Wolf Creek as much as a top 20 course in the United States.”