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Located in the southwest region of the country and sharing a boarder with several other states and Mexico, New Mexico really is the Land of Enchantment. It has some of the most diverse, rugged terrain in the nation and is perfectly primed for some fantastic golf. The weather too is perfect for golf as New Mexico routinely gets more than 300 sunny days a year. And the good news for golfers is that many of the state’s best courses are open to the public and reasonably priced. While there are plenty of fun things to do in New Mexico, make sure you put golf near the top of your list.
After your hot air ballon ride you’ll probably want to hit the links in New Mexico. To get you started on your New Mexico golfing journey, here are five New Mexico courses you need to play.
Best Public Course: Paako Ridge Golf Club in Sandia Park
Located about 20 minutes from Albuquerque, Paako Ridge Golf Club is hands down the best golf course in the state. Expertly carved into the beautiful New Mexican wilderness, Paako Ridge offers the perfect blend of picturesque scenery and challenging golf. The course features striking, green fairways that stand out against the surrounding rugged terrain. In the background, rolling mountain ranges provide the perfect backdrop for an amazing round of golf.
In addition to the natural landscape, the course also incorporates large, uniquely shaped bunkers, strategically placed water hazards, and immaculate greens in its stunning layout.
Paako Ridge is a fairly deep course too, measuring over 7500 yards from the black tees and is a regulation par 72.
As you might expect, a course that is perennially ranked as the top in the state comes with a somewhat hefty price tag. During the offseason a round of 18 walking typically costs around $160, though during the peak season that price climbs to $200.
Best Private Course: The Club at Las Campanas in Santa Fe
Located on the outskirts of Santa Fe, the Jack Nicklaus-designed, The Club at Las Campanas is the best private course in the state. Featuring two 18 hole championship level tracks, Las Campanas’ two golf courses are neatly carved into the desert wilderness surrounding them. And at close to 7000 feet above sea level, the course has a unique, elevated feel to it.
The bent grass greens offer a vibrant contrast to the deeper hues of the surrounding brush and with five different sets of tees, the course is perfect for golfers of all levels. With majestic views of the mountains in the background Las Campanas is also a feast for the eyes.
The Sunrise Course, often ranked in the top five in the state, measures at over 7600 yards from the tips and is a regulation par 72. The Sunset Course is also a top five course and usually edges out its sister course in the rankings. It too is long at just over 7500 yards and is a regulation par 72.
While these courses truly are spectacular, they are private and only open to members and their guests.
Most Scenic Course: Black Mesa Golf Club in Española
Located in Le Mesilla, Black Mesa Golf Club is a majestic course and perhaps the most scenic in the state. Replete with rolling fairways, sandstone ridges, and deep ravines, Black Mesa is an unparalleled desert golf experience. Each hole is intricately woven through the desert and the brilliant hues of the fairways and greens shine throughout the round.
Deep bunkers persist from tee to green, and significant elevation changes add to both the beauty and challenge of the course. While there aren’t many trees at Black Mesa (or at many New Mexico courses for that matter) brush and various cuts of grasses contribute to the layout well.
This masterpiece is another deep course and measures over 7300 yards from the tips and is a par 72.
Rates at Black Mesa are also a beautiful thing. This tremendous track ranges in price from the mid $30’s up to $60—unbelievable prices for a top tier course with this much gorgeous scenery.
Most Challenging Course: Twin Warriors Golf Club in Santa Ana Pueblo
Located in Santa Ana Pueblo, Twin Warriors Golf Club has got to be one of the more challenging courses in the state. A high level of accuracy is demanded as each hole is neatly tucked into the surrounding desert with nothing but wasteland in between. A shot to the left or right will cost you as after the fairway there isn’t much else.
The front nine opens with a mid range par 5 that plays slightly downhill. While the fairway is wide enough, beware of bunkers as you approach the green.
The 10th hole might just be the most demanding on the course as washed out, desert wasteland surround the green and a miss left, right, short, or long will do a number to your score.
The green on 18 is protected by an army of bunkers and makes for a great finishing hole.
Rates at Twin Warriors Golf Club vary depending on the season and can range anywhere from around $80-$120.
Best Deal: University of New Mexico Golf Course in Albuquerque
Located in Albuquerque and with striking views of the city’s skyline, University of New Mexico Golf Course is an outstanding track you can play for an incredible price. This championship style course is good enough for high level competition and scenic enough to be one of the prettier courses in the state.
The Championship Course features rolling, expansive fairways and fine, contoured greens. The layout is brilliant and conditions are perfect nearly year round.
This wonderful track measures over 7500 yards from the tips and is a regulation par 72.
The twilight rate starts at 2 pm and is an especially good deal, allowing you to play this magnificent track for $35.
Play New Mexico
With some of the most stunning desert golf in the country, New Mexico should be at the top of your list for unique golf destinations. Check out any of these fine courses to get a good feel for what the rest of the state has to offer. Happy golfing.
Did we miss a course? Share your New Mexico golf experiences in the comments section below.