Is it Time for a Santa Fe Spring Buddy Golf Trip?

Towa Golf Club, New Mexico

Above: Towa Golf Club

With summer coming fast — and with it all those cantankerous, time-consuming home projects and family obligations — it’s high time to schedule a Spring Buddy Golf Trip to one of our favorite destinations, sensational Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The City Different is a popular choice, no question. This four-centuries-old, high desert mistress is sumptuously detailed in historically significant landmarks, galleries, art studios, museums, restaurants, boutique shops and resorts, all of which are made doubly wonderful thanks to sweet-spot 70s daytime temperatures and copious late spring rains that have golf clubs gleaming with mid-season-form fairways and greens.

Start your journey in Española at Black Mesa Golf Club, the brilliant Baxter Spann creation that is No. 2 on Golfweek magazine’s Best Courses You Can Play in New Mexico list. Framed by box canyons, sandstone ridgelines and sprawling arroyos, the links-flavored routing is a must-play mandate that will anchor any BFF golf trip. (505) 747-8946

16th Hole of Black Mesa, Santa Fe

Black Mesa’s 16th Hole

Ten miles south is the AAA Four Diamond Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino, which offers plush accommodations, fine and casual dining, nightclub, live entertainment, Vegas-style gaming, spa and swimming. Premier golf is moments away at Towa Golf Club, a 27-hole Hale Irwin and Bill Phillips co-design praised as a minimalistic, piñon-ensconced challenge with majestic views of the Sangre de Cristo and Jemez mountains.

Towa Golf Club in Santa Fe New Mexico

Towa Golf Club

Santa Fe and all its delights are another 14 miles south, offering travelers easy access to the extraordinary St. Francis Cathedral; 60-year-old Santa Fe Opera House; Native American jewelry shopping at the Palace of the Governors; eclectic treasure hunting at The Flea at La Tienda; and James Beard award-worthy cuisine at the Terra at the Four Seasons Encantado, Restaurant Martín and the Eloisa at the Drury Plaza Hotel. Insider’s tip: Book a room at the incomparable La Fonda on the Plaza in the heart of Santa Fe, then phone a well-connected friend to play Las Campanas’ exclusive Jack Nicklaus-designed golf club.

Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi new mexico

Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi

If your golf jones remains unfulfilled, drive about an hour south toward Albuquerque and play these three superlative layouts: the Gary Panks-designed Twin Warriors course at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa; the Scott Miller-crafted track at Sandia Resort & Casino; and the state’s No. 1-ranked public course, Paa-Ko Ridge Golf Club, a 27-hole Ken Dye design nestled on the eastern flank of the Sandia Mountains.

Paa Ko Ridge Golf Course New Mexico

Paa-Ko Ridge Golf Club

More images:

Santa Fe Opera House

Santa Fe Opera House

Santa Fe Art Gallery and Attractions

One of many art galleries in Santa Fe

Palace of the Governors in New Mexico

Palace of the Governors

Black Mesa Golf Course, New Mexico

Black Mesa


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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