One of the stated purposes in the bylaws of the Western Golf Alliance is "to promote and conserve the best interests and true spirit of the game of golf as embodied in its ancient and honorable traditions." This is not just some collection of buzzwords - it is a call to action we take seriously. This has inspired our efforts to assess and promote that which is best about west coast golf. Therefore, when we sought to identify the best golf resorts in the western United States, we began by asking ourselves one question:
Where would we recommend to our best friends, work colleagues, clients, and bosses if they asked us
where to spend their hard-earned money on a golf destination vacation?
In other words, we wanted to determine, if our personal reputations and professional courtesy were on the line, what golf resorts would we proudly recommend to others? Beginning in 2015, we chose to further refine "golf destination" to mean ... a golf casino resort! In selecting our choices for the 12 best golf casino resorts, we ultimately identified six key criteria:
1) Location: The resort must be located in Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, or Nevada. These are the states that comprise the Western Golf Alliance, and we are going to stick with our regional expertise.
2) Ownership model: We are talking about golf and casino resorts. The golf, casino, and resort need to be collectively owned, or at the VERY least a casino resort with a FORMAL stay-and-play. A hotel with a casino across the street and a concierge that can get you tee times doesn’t count.
3) Quality of golf: If you're taking a golf trip, golf is the most important element of the golf/casino/resort components. We are a golf organization talking about golf – a weekend golf trip needs to have great golf first and foremost. As you will see, this really comes into play during some head-to-head comparisons.
4) Quality of resort: The resort needs to be a … resort. We care about good restaurant and bar/pub options. It’s nice to be able to grab some quick grub on the way to the course, power back great craft beer post-round, then settle in for steaks and wine at night! A spa and other services are nice, especially if you need to keep some spouses happy.
5) Quality of casino: When it comes to gaming, the more Vegas-like, the better. We aren’t looking for converted bingo halls that now have slots and keno. We need good table games, regular entertainment/shows, sports books, etc. If that gives actual Las Vegas resorts an advantage … too bad.
6) Overall stay-and-play value: Paying less is ALWAYS better than paying more. Beyond rack rates, group-friendly stay-and-play packages help make golf trips easier. If they will allow you to customize the package to fit your preferred courses, tee times, and tournament/wagering needs, all the better.
The result of this analysis? One of the most comprehensive evaluations of west coast golf casino resorts anywhere. We are proud to present to you our Western Stars – the 12 best golf casino resort destinations in the western United States.