For Eric Dutt, the Reflection Bay Golf Club director of operations, hosting college golf tournaments jogs his memories back to his playing days at Purdue. Some four decades later, his college experiences seem like yesterday, and Dutt also hopes the young men and women playing in several tournaments over the next few weeks reflect back upon their time at Lake Las Vegas.
“Watching these young players does bring back very fond memories of playing in college, and hopefully these kids in 45 years will remember playing here at Reflection Bay, whether they win or lose,” Dutt says. “College golf is a special time and I hope they understand that and take time to enjoy it.”
The first college event on the Reflection Bay schedule for 2023 was the Lake Las Vegas Intercollegiate hosted by the University of Louisiana Ragin’ Cagins. When head coach Theo Sliman heard Dutt’s comments about creating memories, he was in full agreement.
“This is an incredible opportunity, not only for our university to host this event, but for these other 14 universities to come out here and compete on a championship golf course in (Henderson) over a three-day period,” Sliman says. “What all of this is about is creating memories. Sure, we want to win and compete at a high level, but playing college golf allows young men and women a chance to see the world, in many cases. We had the opportunity to go to Maui as a group and now we are in the beginning of our spring season in Las Vegas. Something that we try to preach to our boys is appreciation, and I know that Eric is the same way. I love his philosophy that just a simple handshake and a simple thank you goes a long ways. I can assure you that the University of Louisiana is extremely thankful to have the opportunity to be the host, but more than just being host, we appreciate the opportunity to come and play here. This is a high-dollar green fee golf course that these kids are getting four or five rounds on, and that is pretty cool.”
Dutt’s college career was highlighted by playing on the last Purdue team to ever win a Big 10 golf title. His team defeated goliath Ohio State in 1981. The loss for the Buckeyes was the only time the team was defeated in the conference tournament during an 11-year time span. Dutt says Ohio State featured plenty of high-powered, future PGA Tour talent.
“I was fortunate enough to be playing at Purdue when Ohio State was one of the top teams in the country and they had John Cook and Joey Sindelar, and I think at one time they had six all Americans on that team,” Dutt says. “We were fortunate enough to beat them in the Big 10 Championship at Minnesota in my senior year to win the Big 10 title. Every once in a while, I run into Joey or John, and we joke about it and reminisce. Purdue managed to catch them on a short, tight golf course, otherwise we wouldn’t have had a chance. Purdue has never won a big 10 title since, and my teammates and I let the coach and the team know that when we go back for reunions. That is very a special memory and they can’t take that away, but there are so many other great memories as well. That is part of what makes hosting college events so enjoyable for my staff and I.”
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Other teams playing in the Lake Las Vegas Intercollegiate include South Florida, Arkansas State, Arkansas-Little Rock, Rocky Mountain, Winthrop, Middle Tennessee State, Alabama Birmingham, Michigan, Pacific, Kansas, New Mexico State, Central Arkansas, Kansas City, Stetson and Long Beach.
The Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate at Lake Las Vegas is scheduled for March 6-8 and will feature men’s and women’s teams, including many of the top NAIA schools. Playing for Rocky Mountain are two Las Vegas locals, William Dexheimer (Shadow Ridge) and Jake Johnson (Gorman).
The final event for 2023 is the Frontier Conference Championships from April 16-19. It will feature the top teams in the conference, with the lineup to be determined in mid-March.
When Dutt thinks about his college days, he is also impressed with how much the talent has evolved over the years.
“College golf has changed so much in the last 45 years since I played and these kids are so good,” Dutt says. “They hit it so far and the technology is obviously a lot better, so some of these courses are just too short for them. What we try to do here is make the kids think and not get up to the tee and bomb it every time. We don’t set the course up the same way each day. The players will see three different course rotations with some very good hole locations. Overall, we like having them out here and we want them to feel welcome.”
The teams stay two minutes away at the Westin Lake Las Vegas and breakfast and lunch is provided. The Reflection Bay staff assists in other ways and minimizes the planning the coaches need to do.
“We really enjoy it all out here, and it is also good for the players to handle a challenging course and the way they set things up,” Sliman says. “Reflection Bay will show her teeth at times and I like that. I like to expose these young men to some adversity and see how they handle it.”
About Reflection Bay Golf Club
Reflection Bay Golf Club is set on luxurious Lake Las Vegas, located 20 minutes east of the Las Vegas Strip. A 320 acre man-made lake, Lake Las Vegas is the centerpiece of this high-end residential resort community. Built in 1998, Reflection Bay Golf Club was designed by 18 time Major winner Jack Nicklaus. The course is designated as a prestigious Jack Nicklaus Signature Design. Reflection Bay played host to the Wendy’s 3Tour Challenge from 1998 to 2007, showcasing the talents of such champions as Bubba Watson, Fred Couples, John Daly and Phil Mickelson. Also onsite is the High Performance Golf Institute led by PGA Tour players Craig Barlow and Jeff Gallagher.
Reflection Bay Golf Club is a LasVegasGolfInsider.com partner course.