Let’s get ready to rumble! Another heavyweight golf bout is on its way to Las Vegas, but this time around, the venue won’t be Shadow Creek. When brawny rivals Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau go head-to-head the day after Thanksgiving in the fifth edition of The Match, they’ll do so at Wynn Golf Club, behind the casino hotel of the same name. Like Shadow Creek, which hosted the first iteration of The Match, a $9-million extravaganza starring Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, the Wynn is an impeccably manicured Tom Fazio design that commands a hefty price tag. But unlike Shadow, it hasn’t been the backdrop for any recent high-profile televised events. If you’re thinking of playing the course — or just watching the event — here are seven fun facts to stuff into your trivia bank.
1. It’s a strip tease
Though it doesn’t cost as much as Shadow Creek, which recently bumped its peak-season greens fees to $1,000, the Wynn still charges plenty: $600 a round. It does so with convenience as a calling card. As the lone resort course on the Strip, it’s the only spot in town where you can roll out of your penthouse suite, ride the elevator to the ground floor and stroll directly to the first tee.
2. It was going to be a water palace
Nearly four years ago, when then-CEO Steve Wynn closed the course, blueprints were in place to transform the site into Wynn Paradise Park, a lavish aquatic playland. But Wynn wound up resigning amid sexual misconduct allegations (he no longer has any involvement with the property), and the new brass determined that a pristine golf course made more sense than what amounted to a giant swimming pool.
3. It’s a Fazio, redux
Often, when a golf course gets reworked, a new architect is called upon. In this case, though, the ownership turned to the original designer, Tom Fazio, who carried out the job with his son, Logan.
4. It has a Rat Pack past
The Strip is not St. Andrews. No one would call it hallowed ground for golf. And yet there’s history here. Long before this property became the Wynn, it was home to the Desert Inn, a resort and casino with a course of the same name. The PGA Tour, Senior Tour and LPGA Tour all competed regularly on its fairways. So did Frankie, Dino and the boys.
5. The caddies are sticks
The Wynn’s loopers aren’t just pack mules who can work a laser. The caddie corps includes former collegiate golfers, mini-tour players and assorted others whom you wouldn’t want to face in a money game. In short, you can count on savvy insights, to say nothing of some very Vegas-sounding counsel, such as: “Take this one off the Barry Manilow sign.”
6. It’s a mix of old and new
Though the rebuilt course has new greens and fairways and eight entirely new holes, it covers mostly the same footprint as its predecessor, and it preserves elements from its past, including more than 120 mature trees that date to the days of the Desert Inn. A dramatic waterfall still flows behind the 18th green, just as it did on the original Wynn course, though the hole, once a par-4, now plays as a par-3. Though Bryson and Brooks won’t be playing all 18 (theirs will be a 12-hole match, on a yet-to-be specified routing), you can bet they’ll be playing the closer. It’s just too much of a Vegas spectacle to omit.
7. Aces are wild
The odds are slim (roughly 12,500 to 1) but the payoff is fat. Anyone who makes a hole-in-one on the par-3 18th at the Wynn walks off with a cash prize of $10,000 from the resort. That rule does not apply to Brooks and Bryson, who will getting paid far more for their time in Vegas, whether they make an ace or not.