Let’s face it; all golfers want their buddies or couples’ trips to be memorable. But how do you know if a course is truly better than the rest in any given area?
Media publication ranking lists are a great start, and word-of-mouth praise can never be underestimated. But maybe the pinnacle is when your course is featured on every simulator program from here to both Georgias (yes, the state and the country that intersects Europe and Asia). That’s when you know the property you are about to play has reached epic standards.
So other-worldly is Wolf Creek in Mesquite, Nevada that many thought it was only a computer programmer’s fantasy when it debuted in EA Sports’ Tiger Woods video game over a decade ago. But then golfers started to scourer the internet for real live photos, and a legend was born.
Inevitably, pictures of Wolf Creek do a remarkable job of setting the stage for the anticipation that awaits. With emerald green fairways, white sand bunkers, and red rock framing each hole, there is a stunning contrast that only few courses in the world can match. Think desert golf on steroids.
Case in point, there are 200-250-foot changes in elevation throughout the property. So perilous is the route to the tee box on No. 2 that two mowers are kept in storage there because it is so difficult to transport them to that spot. And for good measure (in the perilous category), the Mesquite Municipal Airport lies 300 yards from the first tee serving as a hub to not only corporate guests but also to skydivers. Imagine the view of the course from that perspective.
“Our goal when we took over was to be consistently ranked one of the top 20 or 25 courses in the country,” began co-owner Cory Clemetson. “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 as 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. We’ve accomplished that goal… In terms of popularity, people like to come to play Wolf Creek as much as any top 20 course in the United States.”
Midwest Golfing Magazine had the privilege of interviewing Darren Stanek, Wolf Creek’s general manager on a wide range of topics including the positive impact the Pandemic had on the course and what’s in store for 2021.
1) How did the Pandemic affect your business in 2020 and have you already seen an uptick in 2021 stay and play packages with the hopeful vaccine rollout?
We were off to a great start last year until the pandemic hit with the mandatory shutdowns. For us, this was in the middle of peak season, March and April. It was obviously a difficult time for our staff, guests traveling to play Wolf Creek, safety concerns and all the uncertainty. Throughout the rest of 2020 we focused on the adherence to state, local and national pandemic guidelines. It was important for the staff to deliver a world-class experience at the same time keeping everyone as safe as possible. Once we opened, we saw increased year over year play. Still no international travel and those having to fly in were slow to come out but those from the southwest would make the drive. In 2021, we are seeing some solid prebook numbers and are optimistic that this positive momentum will continue this year.
2) Have you found more Americans are willing drive 4-8 hours to play Wolf Creek since the Pandemic started due to more airline restrictions? Where are you finding most of your play is coming from?
Yes, we are seeing more regional play, especially from California. However, we are still seeing guests from all over the country make their way out here via airplane. The airfare rates and lodging rates in Vegas, Mesquite and St. George are providing guests an affordable world-class golf opportunity and many guests are taking advantage of that.
3) You mentioned last year that due to the Pandemic you were able to close down the course a few extra weeks and make a series of renovations/changes that really improved the quality of daily play. Can you go into those alterations a bit more and now happy you are with them?
We had a chance to work on the details and step up the conditioning. The detail work included new sod collars, cart path work, crisp delineation between desert and golf course, cleaned up waterways and ponds, added bunker sand and worked on irrigation system. We are very pleased with the balance of the one-of-a-kind aesthetics that is unique to Wolf Creek with the conditioning and playability that guests expect when playing a facility like this.
4) Is there anything else new on the horizon for the 2021 season you’d like our readers to know?
I’m not sure if you mentioned it in last piece, but you can play Wolf Creek on WGT (World Golf Tour) and Ultimate Golf Games that are online. We are one of the elite properties that these companies selected to be part of their online games. We appreciate all our fans from all over the Midwest and we are excited to deliver the best Wolf Creek experience ever. We hope to make them part of the 2021 Wolf Creek experience.
For more information on Wolf Creek, visit their website at www.golfwolfcreek.com