5 Must-Play Courses in the Land of Enchantment
Santa Fe and Albuquerque are Colorado-favored spring break golf destinations—and for good reason. Located an easy, all-highway-driving 5.5 and 6.5 hours south of Denver, respectively, The City Different and the Duke City are basking in luscious mid-70s weather that further polishes the region’s superbly designed courses.
First stop just north of Santa Fe is sensational Black Mesa Golf Club (pictured above), the Baxter Spann-designed public course ranked No. 5 in New Mexico by Golf Digest. Located in Española, the minimalistic, free form routing is regaled for its no-civilization-here panoramas, cavernous bunkering and windswept fairways. Player tip: If you have special connections, tour Santa Fe’s ultra-exclusive Las Campanas community and its 36-holes of Jack Nicklaus Signature golf.
Twin Warriors Golf Club
Centrally located Twin Warriors Golf Club, sited just north of Albuquerque in Bernalillo, is next on this golf trail extravaganza. Carved among rollicking buttes, arroyos, sacred mines and a dormant volcano with pulse-quickening views of the Sandia Mountains, the Gary Panks creation earns celebrity as a premier public experience. Player tip: Book your stay-and-play golf package at the luxurious Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa.
Paa-Ko-Ridge Golf Club
Next on the must-play list is Paa-Ko Ridge Golf Club, a 27-hole masterpiece crafted by Ken Dye among the Sandia’s eastern foothills. Framed by forests of piñon and juniper with ragged rock outcroppings and multiple elevation changes, the public facility earned No. 1 in state from Golfweek magazine soon after it debuted in 2000. Player tip: Kids 17 and under play free with a paying adult and individual, unlimited memberships are available from just $2,400!
Sandia Golf Club
Bring your “A” game to 2016 CAGGY award-winner Sandia Golf Club (Best Golf Experience—New Mexico). Located adjacent to picture-perfect Sandia Resort & Casino, the highly ranked Scott Miller design stretches to 7,772 yards, the longest course in the state. Player tip: Avid players can book an Unlimited Golf Package that includes complimentary replays, accommodations, breakfast credits and more.
University of New Mexico Championship Golf Course
Since opening in 1967, few tracks in the Southwest have approached the classic styling and shotmaking excellence of the Championship Course at the University of New Mexico. Player tip: Follow in Tiger Woods’ footsteps. He won his first collegiate golf tournament here, shooting 65 for Stanford on a Red Lawrence-designed routing that has hosted three NCAA men’s championships and a pair of Division One women’s championships.
Chris Duthie is a Durango-based contributor to Colorado AvidGolfer, the state’s leading resource for golf and the lifestyle that surrounds it. It publishes eight issues annually and proudly delivers daily content via www.coloradoavidgolfer.com.