This past week, I boarded a jet plane and headed Southwest to Las Vegas, Nevada. It seems like each time I arrive in the desert, there is always something new. A new luxury resort, a new show, or another well thought-out way to leave a guy with less money in his pocket when he boards his return flight home.
Whenever I am in town I have certain spots that I like to get to each time I visit. But just the same, I make it a point to try something new that I haven’t done in the past. This trip, that something new was an evening round of golf with a ParMate, at the Royal Links Golf Club.
What is a ParMate?
In the most simplistic terms, a ParMate is a female caddy.
The caddy’s are models from the Henderson, Nevada, based Platinum Modeling Agency who work in partnership with Walters Golf. Walters Golf manages three golf courses in the Las Vegas area: Bali Hai (right on the strip near Mandalay Bay), Royal Links, and Desert Pines. Guests at any of the three Walters Golf properties can hire a ParMate for their round of golf. A ParMate really has only one goal and that is to provide you with one of the most enjoyable and memorable rounds of golf you’ve ever played.
What a ParMate is NOT
A stripper, your date for the night, your buddies date for the night, your next wife, or...you get the point. When I told my wife about this program, the first thing I said was, “It’s not what you think.” They are professionals - beautiful professionals who know their golf courses inside and out.
Enough talk Zinger, tell me, what was it like?
I pulled up to the gates of the Royal Links Golf Club and was “buzzed” in by the attendant. I met Charles Bombard, General Manager, who treated me better than the staff at my home course back in the land of sky blue waters. I headed out for the practice facility which was well appointed with plenty of targets and was well cared for.
Like my complexion, I was hitting them pure. About 15 minutes before my tee time, Katie, my assigned ParMate, arrived and introduced herself to me. My introductions are always the same with people I meet in the industry:
Since it was 110 degrees, I hit a minimal amount of balls and asked, “Are you ready for this?” She grabbed my bag filled with Callaway, and went to work.
If it’s not evident already, Katie is obviously an attractive human being. There is no need to get into the details of her attractiveness, nor mine for that matter, as the photographs speak for themselves. That aside, I have to admit, standing on the first tee of Royal Links, I did not know what to expect.
Was this going to be analogous to taking the hostess of a nightclub out for a round of golf with me? Would I be able to concentrate on golf?
Does she think I am just a toolbox in a pink shirt?
She walked up on to the tee box, pulled my driver and started giving me the wind direction, yardages to hazards, and recommendations for shot placement. I didn’t have time to think anymore. Attractiveness aside, she was for real, and adrenaline got the best of me. To this day, I have no idea what happened, but I landed the tee ball in the green side bunker of the 339 yard par four first.
In the name of X-Forged, this was going to be a good day.
The ParMate Katie Experience
After the first hole, Katie said when the temperatures get up to 110, ParMates can take their shirts off. Well, I mean, they can wear less than they started with, by way of a tank top.
Let me tell you a little about about Katie. She is a first class professional with a graduate degree and an interest in sports psychology. From the practice tee to the final putt on 18, she made me feel as comfortable as I ever have been on the golf course. She has got to have one of the best personalities in the desert which made the experience of the round at Royal Links sincerely enjoyable.
Everything you would expect from a professional caddy Katie provided. Wind direction, hazard yardages, yardages to the front and back of the greens as well as to the flag. She cleaned my clubs after each shot, read greens with remarkable accuracy, filled divots, cleaned my balls (settle down)...the list continues. Literally, everything you would expect a caddy to do, she did.
In fact, Katie has actually caddied on the men’s professional mini-tours. To my pleasant surprise, she was the real deal in every way. It just was not what I was expecting, but the girl could caddy. I can’t tell you how helpful it was for someone to line up each putt and tell me where to aim, and how much it was going to break. She did it with remarkable consistency and accuracy. Katie can play as well, and after a few holes, I demanded that she hit some tee shots.
Not only can she caddy, but the girl has some game.
But this is only half of her job. In addition to providing exceptional caddy service, she’s also an ambassador of fun. She makes the round enjoyable by conversing as if you were friends for years. Katie provided fun facts about Royal Links and it’s unique holes, recommendations for night life, and kept the round interesting between shots. As a guest from out of town, I could not have had a more enjoyable experience on a golf course.
The Royal Links Golf Club is a unique course in that it is designed to reflect some of the most famous holes in golf found in the British Isles. The layout is inspired by a variety of historic golf holes from The Open Championship venues over the years. Some of the holes are taken right from St. Andrews, Royal Troon, Carnoustie, and Royal Birkdale, to name a few. Royal Links has their rendition of the “Road Hole”, “Postage Stamp”, and realistic bunkering you would expect to find on the authentic courses.
I’ve never played across the pond, and do not have vivid recollection of specific holes that I’ve seen on T.V. However, I can tell you that Walters Golf did a fine job in creating a challenging links-style layout in the middle of the desert. Granted, it’s not next to the ocean, and weather conditions are far from “British.” Nonetheless, it offers something I do not really have the opportunity to play at home in Minneapolis. I found the course conditions to be remarkable given the drastic Vegas temperatures. The lone drawback remains the location. It’s about a 20 minute drive from The Strip.
The Conclusive Details
Although pricing seems to vary by the time of day, you can expect to pay around $100 to play Royal Links this time of year. The ParMates service will run $225 per caddy, which does not include gratuity. The recommended tip for this service is between $100-300. For a foursome, after your greens fee, you could generally expect to pay around $100 a guy for the caddy and tip.
Is this worth the cost?
Well, you’re in Las Vegas, and nothing is cheap. If there is one town in America you can charge a little bit more for something you won’t find at home, this is it. You are paying for about 5 hours of an individual's time and services. The decision is one you will have to make but I can tell you this, I did not leave thinking there was something missing from the experience. In fact, as I have mentioned, I was pleasantly surprised at the level of professionalism, golf knowledge, and entertainment that was packed into the experience. I sincerely enjoyed it.
The ParMates Service was better than expected and I would do it again, next time I come to town.
ParMates/Royal Links Gallery
Katie Says Hi to the MyGolfSpy Readers
:: Website: (www.royallinksgolfclub.com)