Natalie Gulbis’ home town is Sacramento, California, where her father taught her to play golf on local public courses. She eventually moved to Las Vegas where she took up residence next to the Jack Nicklaus-designed Reflection Bay Golf Club. As of the date of publication, her home course is Rio Secco Golf Club in Henderson, Nevada.
Gulbis was a golf prodigy, first playing at age 4, winning her initial tournament at 7 and first breaking par at age 10. When she was 14, Gulbis won the California State Women’s Amateur championship and became the youngest player to qualify for an LPGA Tour event. Her feat was later topped by a 12-year-old Michelle Wie. Gulbis, who was an All-America at the University of Arizona, joined the LPGA Tour in 2002.
Gulbis moved to Las Vegas in 2001. Among the conveniences of living in Las Vegas is Gulbis’ access to her swing coach Butch Harmon’s golf school at Rio Secco Golf Club in nearby Henderson, Nevada. Gulbis soon became “a part of the Las Vegas community,” including working with local charities, according to GolfLasVegasNow.com.
Reflection Bay Golf Club
Natalie Gulbis’ first home course in the Las Vegas area was the 7,261-yard, par-72 Reflection Bay Golf Club. “Golf Magazine” ranked Reflection Bay in its top 100 public courses in the United States in both 2000 and 2002. Unfortunately for Gulbis, financial problems eventually sent the course’s owner into bankruptcy. As of 2012, the course is closed. Surrounded by desert, it borders 320-acre Lake Las Vegas. When it was open, players had to hit over the lake to reach the eighth green.
Gulbis spends plenty of time at Harmon’s Rio Secco course. She speaks to her swing coach regularly, and practices daily at Rio Secco when she’s not on tour. Harmon’s facility includes memorabilia from Gulbis’ Solheim Cup appearance, as well as the 18th hole flag she received after her first LPGA tour victory in 2007.
The Wendy’s 3-Tour Challenge, which is played each fall in Las Vegas, supports the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. Thomas, founder of the Wendy's hamburger chain, died in 2002. The tournament features three-player teams from the LPGA, PGA and Champions tours. Gulbis first played in the event in 2006. Gulbis, Cristie Kerr and Morgan Pressel led the LPGA team to victory at Reflections Bay in 2007. Gulbis, Kerr and Suzann Pettersen won at Rio Secco in 2009.