The Wynn Golf Club in Las Vegas has escaped the chopping block. The high-end course, which had playing fees of up to $500, will re-open next year after its closure cost Wynn Resorts 16,000 rounds and between $10 million and $15 million of domestic casino business.
The Wynn Golf Club is undoubtedly an outlier in the golf world, catering to a wealthy customer base with one of the priciest greens fees in the game. And now the course near the Las Vegas Strip is an outlier again, part of a select group that’s avoided being bulldozed after the valuable land on which it sits was earmarked for development.
The golf course was closed at the end of 2017 and its 130 acres of fairways and greens were set to be replaced by a 38-acre lagoon surrounded by a convention center, a 1,000-room hotel tower, a small casino and extensive dining and nightlife options. The $3 billion project, called Wynn Paradise Park, included a white sand beach with activities like water skiing, paddle boarding and parasailing.
Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox said on a recent earnings call that while plans to build the 400,000-square foot convention center are moving ahead, the company struggled with the second phase of the project. “We weren’t really interested in building a large public swimming pool for the Las Vegas Strip,” he said. When Wynn Resorts earlier this year purchased 38 acres of land directly on the Strip — a “far superior site to the off-strip location of the golf course,” according to Maddox — the company decided to bring back the Wynn Golf Club.
“Now that we have the 38 acres of land on the strip to develop the next great thing for Las Vegas, we can put our golf course back in as an amenity,” Maddox said.
It’s back, baby! Or at least, it will be soon. Proving that what happens in Vegas does indeed stay in Vegas, Wynn Resorts is restoring and reopening the Wynn Golf Club. The course will have a few new holes to account for the new convention center. Viva Las Vegas! pic.twitter.com/7c35LqZGeG
— Cavalier Golf Photos (@LinksGems) November 8, 2018
Wynn Resorts reached out to Tom Fazio, the course’s designer, to take a look at the holes that were disrupted by the construction of the convention center. Maddox said the plan was to design a new, 18-hole golf course connected to Wynn Las Vegas and Encore Resort and have that back in action before the convention center opens in 12 to 18 months.
“The design of that is complete, the work has commenced and the golf course will be restored and back in action by this time next year,” said Maddox.
It’s a rare stay of execution in the golf industry, where the increasing value of real estate – both commercial and residential – has dramatically raised the demand for golf course properties. After a massive building boom from 1986 through 2005 increased the world’s richest golf market by 44 percent, that U.S. supply has slowly declined by 7 percent in the years since.
So, Wynn Golf Club is indeed a rarity: a course that will re-open after being slotted for higher and better use.
“Not only did we notice we lost 16,000 rounds of golf out there, 70 percent of which were cash, but we probably lost $10 million to $15 million worth of domestic casino business – people coming in for golf trips who decided to go elsewhere,” said Maddox. “It’s a great amenity for the resort.”