Best Golf Courses in New Mexico

The State of New Mexico is located on the south side of the U.S., bordering with its namesake country, Mexico. While not being a state quite known for golfing, partly due to its desert land and dry terrain, you would be surprised to know that there are lots of golf lovers there. There are more than 100 courses to play and most of them public.Here are our top ten golf courses of the Land of Enchantment. Check them out and make your choice!

Best Golf Courses in (Province/State)

1. Paa-Ko Ridge (Sandia Park)

Rating: 5.0/5.0

Located in the Sandia Mountains, really close to the city of Albuquerque, Paa-Ko Ridge is by far the best golf course in New Mexico. It opened in the year 2000 with 18 holes designed by Ken Dye, and in 2005, another 9 were added completing a magnificent 27-hole championship course. Its location gives the course some challenging and fun elevation changes, which can be quite punishing if you can’t find your accuracy from the tee box. However, this is compensated with the short game, featuring large greens which tend to be fair to the player. About its conditioning, it is close to perfect, with bluegrass fairways and bentgrass greens really well-groomed and taken care of throughout the 27 top holes. Lots of times golf courses brag of having 18 signature holes as marketing purposes, which made this sentence gradually lose its power. However, in this case it couldn’t be truer. Ken Dye made sure that every hole had their own unique style and character, making this course an absolute gem. (Shaterfield, s.f.)To choose one signature hole between all these signature holes, we will go for maybe the most memorable one: the par 3 8th. This hole, called “Panorama”, counts with a scenic mountain background, a green surrounded by trees and beautifully shaped bunkers. Apart from this one, the best one in the back nine may be the 17th, with the best views of the course and landscape. This par 4, called “The Ridge”, starts on an elevated tee and features a green also a bit elevated and surrounded by some small bunkers.About the rates, Paa-Ko Ridge counts with an 18-hole green fee of $135, a 9-hole rate of $65 and a full-course green fee of $160.

2. Black Mesa (La Mesilla)

Rating: 4.8/5.0

Located in the little town of La Mesilla, north of Santa Fe, Black Mesa features a course crafted on a high desert, rocky and full of creeks and sandstones, which make it a beautiful inland track that sometimes reminds of a Scottish classic links course. With almost no trees, undulating terrain and changing winds, Black Mesa will leave you speechless throughout the whole 18-hole course.Baxter Spann, its designer, made sure of creating some innovative holes which made it a golf course totally different to the conventionally designed ones, all of them accompanied by more than 100 bunkers spread throughout the whole track. The best holes are the par 5 16th, the par 3 11th and the par 4 2nd. Apart from the course, Black Mesa counts with a full pro-shop, a grill and a great practice facility including a range and two putting greens. Rates here are way cheaper than Paa-Ko Ridge, with green fees which range from $36 to $60. (Golf On the Santa Fe Trail Website, s.f.)

3. Twin Warriors (Santa Ana Pueblo)

Rating: 4.7/5.0

Only 30 minutes to the north of Albuquerque, in the Santa Ana Indian Reservation, lies this great course. Opened in 2001 and designed by Gary Panks, Twin Warriors offers one of the best conditionings you will see in the whole New Mexico State. Set on a high desert rocky terrain, this course is quite fair to the player, having some gentle elevation changes and some generous fairways and greens. Its best hole may be the 4th: a stunning par 3 which is said to be one of the best in New Mexico. This one-shotter plays from the tee over a pond to a green with some waterfalls on its left.Rates here oscillate between $79 and $119, including access not only to the golf course, but also to its many facilities: a well-stocked golf shop, a golf cart, practice balls and a bag tag. However, if wanting to play in the practice facility, you must pay an extra $25. (My New Mexico Golf, s.f.)

4. Pinon Hills (Farmington)

Rating: 4.6/5.0

Situated in the so-called ‘Four Corners Region’, due to its proximity to the point where the borders of New Mexico, Utah, Colorado and Arizona meet, Pinon Hills is a bit far away from the main cities of the state, but absolutely worth the drive. Designed by Ken Dye, the course setting was greatly respected, being built according to the rugged desert terrain and moving only around 100,000 cubic yards of land. (Top 100 Golf Courses, s.f.)Check out the par 3s here: the 6rd is said to be its signature, and plays with some sandstones, creeks and boulders. Apart from this one, the 15th is beautiful but tough, where club selection is essential. Best thing about this course: its price. With green fees between $40 and $60 for non-residents, this is the best golf course you can experience in New Mexico if you want some affordable golf.

5. University of New Mexico (Albuquerque)

Rating: 4.5/5.0

The University of New Mexico golf course is the most classic course in the whole state. Opened in the year 1967, it was designed by Robert ‘Red’ Lawrence, and it is located only 3 kilometres from the airport of Albuquerque. This hilly course offer some rolling terrain, however, is easily walkable and enjoyable for all kind of players.The opening hole is its signature, setting the tone for what is about to come. This impressive par 5 has some panoramic views of the city of Albuquerque, and presents some undulated terrain and a dogleg to the left. However, long hitters may reach the green in two, so it is also a great opportunity to start your round in a fantastic way.The condition of the course is really good, having into account the low rates which range from $30 to $70 per round. (New Mexico University Courses Website, s.f.) A must play!

6. Cochiti Golf Club (Cochiti Lake)

Rating: 4.4/5.0

Cochiti Golf Club is located halfway between Santa Fe and Albuquerque, in the Cochiti Lake. This Robert Trent Jones Jr designed course opened for play in 1981, and features a beautiful round, very secluded and surrounded by wildlife and jaw-dropping views of the mountains and desert. With a set out being challenging but forgiving, it counts with some generous fairways, but dangerous if you miss them, and some demanding greens. With multiple greatholes, we may affirm that the front nine is a bit more forgiving than the back. With that being said, the best holes may be the par 5 opening hole, the scenic 13th, the dramatic and challenging 14th and the closing par 4, which plays over a pond from an elevated tee. (Texas Outside , s.f.)Rates at Cochiti are pretty affordable, with a general public green fee of $55 that will give you access not only to a 18-hole round, but also to the many amenities it has: a pro shop, a practice facility featuring a driving range, chipping area and putting green, and a grill and bar called Stone Kiva. (Cochiti Golf Club Website, s.f.)

7. Red Hawk Golf Club (Las Cruces)

Rating: 4.3/5.0

This links-style course is located in the city of Las Cruces, on a total desert terrain that seems quite hard for a golf course to maintain. However, the golf architect Ken Dye took the challenge and built a magnificent 18-hole layout featuring 76 bunkers, 5 lakes and some generous greens and contoured fairways.About the holes, it counts with fantastic par 3s, all of them featuring lakes, bunkers and some elevated tee boxes. Apart from these ones, check the par 4 6th, which plays a dogleg right around a pond; the par 5 8th, with a zig zag through a fairway with 8 bunkers or the 18th, a great finishing hole downhill to a green protected by another pond and a couple of bunkers on its left and right sides. About the green fees, this is another affordable course, with rates that are no more expensive than $62 in the most concurred seasons.

8. Isleta Eagles Golf Club (Albuquerque)

Rating: 4.2/5.0

27 holes form this splendid golf course located in the main city of Albuquerque, in the Isleta Resort, divided in three nines: Arroyo, Lakes and Mesa. The Arroyo Nine was built around the largest arroyo, and counts with a scenic opening hole with spectacular vistas. The Lakes plays along two large lakes, and counts with probably the signature hole of the three nines: the par 3 4th hole, featuring a splendid island green surrounded by a lake. Finally, the Mesa Nine counts with some outstanding views of the Mount Taylor and Rio Grande Valley. The rates for playing 18 holes here ranges from $40 at twilight to $69 if you are playing on the weekends. However, although they have some affordable fees, the proper dress code is mandatory: gym shorts, tank tops and bathing suits are absolutely prohibited. You can check all the information in their website. (Isleta Resort Website, s.f.)

9. The Links at Sierra Blanca (Ruidoso)

Rating: 4.2/5.0

Surrounded by Sierra Blanca Mountains, this Links-style course was designed by former golfer Jim Colbert together with architect Jeff Bauer in 1991. Some rolling fairways, 23 bunkers and some pines and berms wait for us in this great and fun golf course located in Ruidoso. Its best holes may be the 3rd, a par 4 with a huge bunker and an elevated green; the 10th, with a shot over a creek; or the 18th, with an undulated rollercoaster fairway and a well-protected green full of bunkers.This is another great course for a reasonable price, which may range from $50 to $80 depending on the season. This track also counts with a great practice facility and a snack bar which opens from April to October.

10. Marty Sanchez Links (Santa Fe)

Rating: 4.1/5.0

Known as the best public course of the city of Santa Fe, Marty Sanchez Links has a tremendous background of some diverse group of mountains: the Sandia, Sangre the Cristos, Jemez and Ortiz. Opened for play in year 1998, this course was designed by Baxter Spann, and counts with the typical New Mexican characteristics: desert land, rolling terrain and native flora such as cottonwood, juniper and pinon trees, all of them in a greatly secluded place and accompanied by some autochthon wildlife, including owls, rabbits, and even coyotes. Be aware! (Best Things in NM, s.f.)From its holes, we choose the finishing one: a tough par 4, gently downhill and with a dogleg to its left, finishing on a green protected by a huge bunker and a lake on its right side, and a little bunker on its left. The conservative approach here is obviously aiming a bit to the left!The layout counts also with nine par 3 holes, called “The Great 28”, fantastic for improving your short game or having a quick round.About the rates, this is the cheapest course of the list. For playing the 18 hole from the championship course, you will not pay more than $35.

Wrap up

​As we have just seen, playing golf in New Mexico in a fantastic experience, full of challenge and fun, and for quite reasonable prices most of the times. Try some of them and see it for yourself!


Author: Abraham

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