If you are like me and, I think, most Boulder citizens, you don’t know much about that golf course on the north side of the highway as you head out to Railroad Pass. If you’re looking closely in the morning, you will see a pretty 418-foot waterfall in the hills and you might also notice that there is a series of clusters of tall palm trees. Since palms are not native to this part of the world you might cleverly deduce that these denote the various greens on the golf course.
Even though I have never golfed a single stroke that wasn’t into one of those little windmills or plaster shark heads, I decided it would be fun to learn more.
I drove out west, turned north at Veterans Memorial Drive and took a left below the Southern Nevada State Veterans Home. Just past that, you will find a dead end and will have to do a U-turn at the bicycle path.
The real entrance to Cascata is farther west, cleverly hidden at the junction where U.S. Highway 95 turns south toward Searchlight. You turn north instead, which brings you right the big double gates and a combination lock. Push the call button and a voice asks you what your business is. You say something clever like “restaurant” and the gates will silently swing aside to let you come hither.
A short drive puts you in sight of the very handsome Tuscan-style clubhouse where you may have to search for a parking place.
Ron Chu got me a seat in the uber-classy dining hall. The restaurant seats 42 but only one table was taken at 12:30 p.m. Two more filled up before I left.
When I was done with my burger, Joe Fleming, PGA assistant golf professional, joined me at the table. Between Chu and Fleming, I got a notepad full of details.
The name Cascata means waterfall in Italian. It was built in 2000 by Caesars Palace for its VIP guests who were driven out to golf on a very beautiful course. But in the 2017 bankruptcy of Caesars, the club was taken over by Vici Properties, which now owns and operates four such clubs. It is open to the public; there are no membership fees.
Greens fees can be in the $300 plus range at peak season, but the owners do want to encourage players from Boulder City. Fleming said they can arrange fees as low as $99 for locals. There is a dress code. Reservations are needed for both the restaurant and the links.
The restaurant serves breakfast and lunch only. It opens as early as 6 a.m., when golfers first tee off, and closes when the last golfer finishes for the day, which can be at 4 p.m. or later. The $15 burger I had was good; other choices range from $12 to $16.
The setting is very classy. This is where you would want to take important business associates or a promising new date.
One local golfer told me the most impressive thing about this Rees Jones-designed course is that each manicured hole is separate from the others, slotted into ridges in the hillside. That sounds beautiful, if marginally scary, but the required caddy will know how to guide you safely around. Look on Google Earth to see how spectacular the course really is.
There is a once-a-year community day at Cascata organized by Boulder City.
Friends related to me the tale of a Boulder City woman who was killed eight or nine years ago. She was driving a golf cart, offering drinks to golfers, and it tipped over alongside the fairway and she was killed in the fall.
The waterfall itself would be dry most times of year, but Cascata has a big pond below the clubhouse from which it pumps water back up to the top. It then falls naturally in a beautiful cascade, which runs underneath the clubhouse near the restaurant. The pump is turned on at the first tee time and off after the last tee time, which is usually shortly after noon. That is why you see it only when you drive by in the mornings.
Dave Nelson retired to Boulder City in 2003 after a career with the FICO score company. He is vice president for the local Sons of Norway.