Why a reigning Masters champ was denied a round at an exclusive club

Billy Ray Brown made a name for himself as a pro with three PGA Tour wins in the ’90s. But these days, he might be better known as a broadcaster, covering the action on both the PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions for Golf Channel and CBS.

One of Brown’s great attributes as a media personality is the fact that he is a contemporary of many of the players he covers on the Champions Tour, and knows many of them personally from his own playing days.

That means Brown has some pretty entertaining stories from his early career, including one particular time when he was denied a tee time at an exclusive club, despite the fact that he arrived with reigning Masters champion Fred Couples.

On this week’s episode of Subpar, he broke down how the situation transpired to hosts Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz.

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“Fred Couples and I went out to Vegas to watch a good buddy of ours, [college basketball coach] Rollie Massimino, had just taken the UNLV job, and he was playing John Thompson from Georgetown in the opening, at the Thomas & Mack center, the first game,” Brown began. “So we went out there. And of course [Jim] Nantz was there.”

Brown explained that he, Couples, Nantz and college basketball broadcaster Billy Packer went to Shadow Creek to play a round golf.

“We come to the gate to go play, and basically the guard says, [to] the reigning Masters champion (Couples), since you’re not staying at the Mirage, you’re not allowed to come out here.

“We had to change plans and go out to Spanish Trails to play golf because Fred was not staying at the Mirage. So they wouldn’t let him in to Shadow Creek. The Masters champion!”

“The green jacket only goes so far,” Stoltz quipped. “Eventually you gotta book a room at the Mirage.”

Shadow Creek, which opened in 1990, remains ultra-exclusive to this day. Tee times cost upward of $600, and in order to play, you still have to be a guest at an MGM resort property.

Guess some things never change.

For more from Brown, including what it’s like to face off against Tiger Woods (and experience an embarrassing moment in front of him), check out the full interview below.

jessica marksbury

Golf.com Photographer

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on GOLF.com.