LAKE LAS VEGAS, NV. – One never knows when a kid makes a decision about his life’s work but you can be pretty sure Eric Dutt was in the gallery watching the PGA Tour’s Sahara Invitational in the 1970s when the light bulb went off.
He was going to be in the golf business.
Today he is Manager of Operations of Reflection Bay Golf Club, taking on another resort community project to transition the 1,000 acres on Lake Las Vegas, including private SouthShore Golf Club, to profitability.
The real estate recession of 2008 nailed the opulent subdivision in Henderson – one day foursomes were teeing it up, the next day no one was. Reflection Bay, a Jack Nicklaus beauty, and The Falls, a Tom Weiskopf design, were closed for business.
Paulson and Company, a conglomerate founded by American hedge fund manager John Paulson, reopened Reflection Bay in 2014. The purchase included The Falls, too, but a decision was made to not reopen it.
So they fixed the irrigation system, turned on the water, and about half the brown grass came back to green. While they were addressing getting 100 percent grass coverage Nicklaus came back and removed about a dozen bunkers and changed 20 more for playability purposes.
A management company was brought in to manage the course upon reopening in November of 2014 but expectations weren’t met so the powers that be convinced Dutt to come on board and help resurrect the golf reputation of Lake Las Vegas.
Apparently, it worked as Reflection Bay was just recently named the #6 Best Course You Can Play in the state of Nevada on one of the major golf publications annual rankings.
So who is this guy?
Many consider Dutt part of a golf pioneer family in Las Vegas. He won the Nevada State Amateur as a 17-year-old, went to Purdue to help the Boilermakers win the Big 10 golf title in 1981 and on to the NCAA Tournament. His siblings were all accomplished players in their own right.
After college he probably never envisioned himself as one of the guys to be part of Las Vegas’ growth into resort golf.
He’s in the Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame and was a visionary for growth at The Badlands, Rio Secco, Cascata, Las Vegas National Golf Club, Caesars Entertainment and the Butch Harmon School of Golf. Not to mention he was involved in the Wendy’s 3-Tour Challenge, benefiting the Dave Thomas Foundation for adoption. In 1996 he generated 51,000 rounds at The Badlands, it’s first year of operations.
The new game plan — The High Performance Golf Institute
As Manager of Operations at Reflection Bay, Dutt is looking for excellent, pristine conditioning for a fun day on the golf course, but he’s also looking to expand a vision of providing state-of-the-art resort golf instruction scenarios to make good golfers reach loftier heights.
“My hope is that the High Performance Golf Institute, www.highperformancegolf.com will take, say, a very good junior player and give him or her additional skills that will move them to become a college golfer,” Dutt said. “And I’m hoping we will become the place to come in Las Vegas for golf instruction and club fitting.”
All the newest technology is here, including indoor hitting bays with TrackMan, and two PGA Tour professionals to guide you on a journey to become the best you can be. Craig Barlow, a Henderson native, and Jeff Gallagher are the two PGA Tour players who have been hired as teaching instructors. Barlow played in eight major championships, six U.S. Opens, a British Open and a PGA Championship and made 170 lifetime cuts on the Tour. Barlow had a storied amateur career in Las Vegas winning every amateur title before turning professional in 1995. Barlow’s most heralded course record is a 63 at Cypress Point that is shared with Ben Hogan.
Two of Barlow’s junior students, Michael Sarro and Morgan Goldstein just recently won the Nevada State Amateur titles this past summer.
Gallagher grew up in Indiana and attended Ball State. His brother Jim and sister Jackie both played the professional tours. Jeff turned professional in 1987 where he won twice, on the then Ben Hogan Tour, the 1990 Cleveland Open and the 2000 Web.com Tour’s South Carolina Classic. He still competes on the PGA Champions Tour.
Even though The Falls was closed, several holes have been designated for practice and instruction as part of the HPGI instruction assets. The facilities include practice holes, bunker areas, putting and chipping and pitching greens as well as on course instruction.
“I think one should focus on scoring areas of the game, 100 yards and in,” Barlow said. “I also focus on proper set up, lack of tension, and great rhythm.”
Reflection Bay is scenic, fun golf
Reflection Bay Golf Club, built in 1998, is set on luxurious Lake Las Vegas, located 20 minutes east of the Las Vegas Strip. A 320-acre man-made lake is the centerpiece of this high-end residential resort community.
Five holes stretch along a mile and a half of shoreline, with greens connecting the hillside property of the Westin Lake Las Vegas, which has been remodeled and offers Stay and Play packages. The 200-yard, par-3 eighth, showcases a peninsula jutting out into Lake Las Vegas.
The lake’s vast shoreline and terraced hillsides are home to ritzy Mediterranean residences and many unique offerings. In addition, courtyard villas, Venetian-style waterfront homes, and luxury executive homes climb the hillsides.
For more information visit www.reflectionbaygolf.com
Story by David R. Holland
Photos courtesy of Reflection Bay Golf Club and David R. Holland