Play 21 Holes of Shotgun Golf

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Look for off-the-rocker things to do for a stag trip in Las Vegas - I'm thinking playing golf with shotguns qualifies. Going to have to try this out...

 

 


Experience

Too many "tourist" attractions are lame. I'm always insanely skeptical, almost to a fault - but usually for good reason. You know of what I speak - you show up in a small town and pull up Tripadivsor (or heaven forbid walk down Main St) and what do you find? Mini-golf courses where beady-eyed critters steal your ball the second you hole-in-one the windmill, country fairs with safety questionable looking teacup rides full of sick looking children, and inevitably, some localized fairy tale twisted horribly to maximize the sale of souvenirs to young, old, and bored alike.

So much to my excitement, I found this little gem while planning an 8-day stag for a buddy. Now, to be fair to all those other towns, we happened to be in and around Las Vegas, a locality designed with one thing in mind - to remove you from your hard earned cash, or vice versa. Usually, you end up regretting it. But there are a few things that really are worth it - and Shotgun Golfing is one of them.

The premise : 18 "hole" course, each armed with 2 automated skeet shooters in the desert. Check. Golf Cart. Check. 12 Gauge Beretta Shotgun. Check. Case of Shotgun Ammo. Ker-blamo! I was sold the second I saw a golf cart and shotgun in the same picture. The fact that they have these awesome holsters on the golf cart made me so giddy I could hardly wait. Any time I get that childish sensation of anticipation at a ripe 36 years of age, I know it’s going to be good.

So after negotiating ourselves to the course, half hung-over or maybe it was half-drunk, we were greeted by two gorgeous hosts (Viva Las Vegas!) and talked through a 15 minute orientation. Guess what - you don't need a firearms license here - God Bless America! Surprising, the only restriction I remember hearing was to not shoot at the cactus on the course. Apparently, cacti don't like lead and grow back very slowly, detracting from the stark, desert scenery. 

After a few mandatory golf cart peel-outs and fender benders with the others, we made it to the first hole. It's a wooden structure, mostly to protect you from the heat, which has a remote control button that activates the skeet shooters. For those of you who don't know, these are basically mechanical slingshots that wing a clay pigeon into that air like a frisbee - giving you about 3 seconds to blast it with your gun. Each hole is designed differently, with varying terrain, and the skeet shooters launch unpredictably into the air, and even bounce the clay targets off the ground and down gullies so you can blast away at a simulated "rabbit" situation.

You're probably wondering how to win at this game (like it's not awesome enough already). Each hole has two launchers. Your golf partner pushes the button, and if you blast both clay targets before they hit the ground, you get two points. The highest score at the end of the round wins and everyone buys them a beer. Now here's the kicker. The Desert Hills Shooting Club is the only Shotgun Golf club in the world that has a licensed bar at the clubhouse. Now, they are quite clear that drinking before playing is not allowed. But afterwards, hell ya!

Despite the bruised shoulder from too many frenzied blasting sessions (yup, I'm a big girl apparently), and a touch of heat stroke exacerbated by twenty or so beer afterwards, it was quite possibly one of the best tourist-oriented activities I’ve ever done. The stag was a hit, and surprising no one got in a fight that night – I guess we had dispensed enough aggression on clay pigeons and the occasional cactus.

Tips / Recommendations
  • Book in advance for large groups and check online for coupons (they often have free shotgun rentals, etc.)
  • Check out their website http://www.deserthillsshootingclub.com/ which frankly doesn't convey the sheer awesomeness of the Shotgun Golfing (they call it a sporting clay course) - give them a call to set up your visit
  • Count on a well-worth $80-100 day depending on how much you want to shoot
  • Rent a car a drive out there - its an easy 45 minute drive either way (or book a limo van if you plan on getting lit at the clubhouse afterwards - you will want to...)

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