Obama golfing with Derek Jeter – but Shadow Creek may be the real star

President Obama is playing golf Saturday at Shadow Creek in North Las Vegas, one of the most exclusive courses in the world. Retired Yankee great Derek Jeter is on the links with him. 

Steven Senne/AP
President Obama hits out of a sand trap at the Vineyard Golf Club, in Edgartown, Mass. during a family vacation in 2011.

President Obama loves his golf – and on Saturday, snagged a round at one of the most exclusive golf courses in the world, Shadow Creek in North Las Vegas.

On the links with POTUS: recently retired Yankee great, Derek Jeter. Rounding out the foursome are Stephen Cloobeck, a Las Vegas businessman and big Democratic donor, and Brian Greenspun, editor and publisher of the Las Vegas Sun.

But the real star of the show might be the golf course itself. Built in the late 1980s by Las Vegas casino magnate Steve Wynn, the course is a lush oasis amid the Nevada desert. Dirt dug up during construction was used to create a berm that surrounds the property, protecting the exclusive clientele from prying eyes.

“What happens at Shadow Creek stays at Shadow Creek,” Josh Sens wrote at Golf.com in 2012. “That's the unwritten rule at this hush-hush desert hangout, prime migration grounds for Las Vegas whales and Michael Jordan's home away from home.”

“Officially, of course, the Tom Fazio design is public access and has been since it opened in 1989, with greens fees pegged at $1,000 (the price has since been slashed in half). But more than two decades later, the course remains willfully under-the-radar, the golf world's answer to Area 51.”

Perhaps, some wags have suggested, getting to play Shadow Creek is the real reason Obama wanted to come to Las Vegas to give a speech Friday promoting his move to defer deportation for up to 5 million undocumented immigrants.

“Pool” reporters accompanying the president, yours truly included, rarely get a glimpse of the president teeing off, and this time is no exception. But we can report that the club house is nicely appointed – comfortable, not flashy. And they serve up a nice Arnold Palmer, a blend of iced tea and lemonade.

“To land a tee time,” writes Mr. Sens, “you not only have to cough up $500 (that includes limo transport to and from the Strip but not the caddie whom you're required to take), you also have to be a guest at an MGM-owned hotel. If your name isn't, say, George W. Bush or Justin Timberlake, play is limited to Monday through Thursday. And even then there's the chance you'll be bumped by a bigwig, someone with the clout to claim the whole joint to himself.”

We did see a limousine or two – and a Rolls Royce – drive onto the property while we (the pool) were held in vans near the main entryway for the first hour. So apparently Obama didn't commandeer the whole club for his party. Indeed, after we got into the club house, we could see another party playing the 18th hole. 

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