The Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational Golf Tournament: Celebrity, Philanthropy, and the Allure of Shadow Creek
The Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational Golf Tournament hosted by Aria Resort And Casino, was recently held at the Shadow Creek Golf Course in North Las Vegas. Luxist attended the event this past weekend and experienced first-hand the unique blend of celebrity and philanthropy. However, this year the event took place at one of the most alluring, mythic, elite golf courses in the U.S., Tom Fazio's Shadow Creek. And for the first time, the course opened to the general public.
A little more on this golf course: unlike many famous courses, this one is hard to imagine, out in the middle of the Nevada desert, and even harder to find. From the Las Vegas strip, it's about a half hour away -- north on I-15 to Craig Road, then go west, then north again, and finally, through some imposing guard gates. And then, there it is, beyond the gates -- the 350-acre, $60 million plus, exceptionally private, painfully green, Tom Fazio course looking more like courses at Pinehurst, or Kiawah, or Augusta. Anywhere, almost, but Nevada.
Shadow Creek boasts quiet streams, rushing brooks, weeping willows, waterfalls, ducks, pheasants, rabbits, and stone bridges that look eerily like the old Swilken bridge at St. Andrews. Indeed, Shadow Creek, has an untouched, impossibly perfect, movie-set look, as if few mortals would ever dare to actually play the course.
For many years, adding to this ineffable allure, is fact: for years, and even now, ONLY MGM Resort guests are permitted to play Shadow Creek. Green fees are listed at $500.00 -- with limo service to and from the course. And the players must schedule tee times at least an hour apart, giving the impression that golfers are on the course by themselves. All of this plays into an image of ultimate elitism combined with escapism, creating a course intrigue that involves rarity, mystery, and sanctuary.
The course's route runs mostly north and south so the sun's glare would miss the golfer's eyes, and Fazio with his builders, dug 50 feet into the low desert to provide for elevation changes and enough dirt to build hills around the entire property to provide another dimension of privacy. One of the stories heard, perhaps apocryphal, was that many who live close to the golf course don't know of its existence.