Best Golf Courses in New Mexico: Top Picks and Expert Insights

New Mexico, known as the Land of Enchantment, offers a diverse landscape and an array of outdoor activities – including golf. With over 100 golf courses throughout the state, many boasting stunning desert scenery and unique features, New Mexico provides golfers with an unforgettable experience on the green. The variety of top-tier courses caters to both casual and seasoned players seeking a memorable golf getaway.

Several golf courses in New Mexico have garnered acclaim from respected publications such as Golf Digest and GOLF Magazine. These premier courses not only showcase impressive course designs but also maintain exceptional playing conditions. Golfers visiting this beautiful southwestern state can immerse themselves in the rich culture and breathtaking landscapes, while refining their skills under the sun-soaked skies of New Mexico.

Key Takeaways

  • New Mexico offers a vast selection of exceptional golf courses set amid stunning landscapes
  • Acclaimed courses provide a memorable and challenging experience for players of all skill levels
  • Visitors can enjoy New Mexico’s unique golf offerings alongside its diverse culture and outdoor activities

The Best Golf Courses in New Mexico

Paa-Ko Ridge Golf Club, Sandia Park

Why: Frequently topping lists as the best in New Mexico, Paa-Ko Ridge offers a challenging 27-hole layout with breathtaking high desert scenery. The course capitalizes on the area’s natural topography, providing golfers with dramatic elevation changes, tall native grasses, and panoramic mountain views.

Black Mesa Golf Club, Espanola

Why: Set against the dramatic backdrop of the Black Mesa, this course offers a unique and challenging experience. The layout features natural sandstone ridges, arroyos, and native vegetation, delivering a pure golf experience that feels seamlessly integrated with the landscape.

Twin Warriors Golf Club, Santa Ana Pueblo

Why: Located on the sacred lands of the Santa Ana Pueblo, Twin Warriors provides players with a culturally enriched golfing experience. With views of the Sandia Mountains, the layout winds through cultural landmarks and features a stunning natural setting.

Rainmakers Golf Course, Alto

Why: As a semi-private golf community, Rainmakers is recognized for its environmentally sensitive design. The course weaves through high desert landscapes and offers breathtaking mountain views. Its strategic layout challenges golfers of all skill levels.

University of New Mexico Championship Golf Course, Albuquerque

Why: As the name suggests, it’s a championship-level course. It offers a classic design that challenges golfers while providing views of the Sandia Mountains. The course has hosted numerous NCAA and other high-profile tournaments.

Red Hawk Golf Club, Las Cruces

Why: A challenging desert layout, Red Hawk offers golfers wide fairways, strategic bunkering, and undulating greens. Set against the Organ Mountains, the course’s design prioritizes playability and enjoyment for all skill levels.

Cochiti Golf Club, Cochiti

Why: Designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., this course is a hidden gem. With its serene setting away from urban distractions, Cochiti offers a tranquil golfing experience. The course provides a fair test of golf, with water features and strategic bunkering.

Taos Country Club, Ranchos de Taos

Why: With panoramic views of the Sangre de Cristo and Jemez Mountains, Taos Country Club offers a high desert golfing experience that is both scenic and challenging. The course’s design emphasizes strategic play, rewarding thoughtful shot-making.

Premier Golf Courses in New Mexico

Public Access Courses

In New Mexico, golf enthusiasts can find several highly-ranked public access courses to play on. Black Mesa in Espanola is one such course, known for its challenging terrain and stunning views. Another popular public course is Piñon Hills Golf Course in Farmington, which has received recognition for its well-maintained greens and friendly staff.

Ranked in Top 100

When it comes to top-ranked golf courses, New Mexico offers several options, such as the Paako Ridge Golf Club located in Sandia Park. With an overall player rating of 97.1, Paako Ridge has been praised for its fun, challenging play and excellent course conditions.

Another notable mention is the Sunset Course at Las Campanas in Santa Fe. Ranked first in Golf Digest’s Ten Best Courses in New Mexico in 2015-2016, it offers players a range of tournaments, events, and clinics to participate in.

Golfers’ Choice Awards

New Mexico also boasts golf courses that have received accolades from golfers themselves. The University of New Mexico Championship Course in Albuquerque is one of those courses, offering a challenging layout combined with beautiful views of the Sandia Mountains.

Other golf courses praised by golfers include Twin Warriors Golf Club, Red Hawk Golf Club, Inn of the Mountain Gods Championship Golf Course, and Sonoma Ranch Golf Course. Each of these venues provides golfers with unique playing experiences, exceptional course conditions, and varied amenities, making them worthy additions to any golf enthusiast’s must-play list.

Key Features of New Mexico Golf Courses

New Mexico’s golf courses have a unique blend of desert landscapes and diverse design elements, showcasing the region’s natural beauty. Many of these courses are characterized by their creative layouts, well-maintained greens, and challenging fairways.

Desert-inspired courses are a popular feature in New Mexico. Often incorporating native plants and rock formations, these courses provide golfers with a distinct environment to navigate. The arid landscape requires a thoughtful approach to the game, as golfers must take into consideration the natural obstacles presented by the desert terrain.

Elevated tees offer stunning views of surrounding mountains and valleys, adding a visual appeal to the golfing experience. These elevated tees can also create a strategic challenge, as golfers must adjust their shots for changes in altitude.

Water features such as ponds, lakes, and streams interwoven into the course design add an element of variety to the landscape. These water hazards require precision and skillful club selection, as golfers must navigate their shots around flowing streams or carry them over expansive lakes to reach the green.

Bunkers and sand traps are strategically placed throughout the courses, forcing golfers to maintain accuracy and control over their shots. The presence of water hazards, bunkers, and sand traps adds an element of challenge to these courses, testing a golfer’s ability to maneuver through various obstacles.

Subtle slopes and undulations on New Mexico’s greens require careful reading and precision putting. These greens test the golfer’s short game, making it crucial to execute accurately placed putts to secure a low score.

Tips for Golfers in New Mexico

New Mexico offers a variety of stunning golf courses for golfers of all skill levels. While playing in this southwestern state, golfers should be aware of some factors that may affect their game and overall experience.

The first thing to consider is the altitude. Since New Mexico is situated at a higher elevation, golfers can expect their golf balls to carry farther than at sea level. This can be an advantage, but players should adjust their club selection accordingly to account for the difference in ball flight.

Weather is another crucial factor that needs attention while playing golf in New Mexico. The state is known for its dry climate, and the sun can be intense. Golfers should always wear sunscreen and bring extra water to stay hydrated throughout their round. Additionally, afternoon thunderstorms can be common during the summer months, so it is wise to check the weather forecast and plan tee times around potential storms.

High-quality golf courses in New Mexico include Paako Ridge Golf Club, Angel Fire Resort Country Club, Sandia Golf Club, and Black Mesa Golf Club. When selecting a course, golfers should consider their handicap and the course’s difficulty level. Some courses may be more challenging and better suited for lower handicap golfers, while others are more forgiving for players with higher handicaps.

Golfers should also be aware of potential traffic around popular courses, especially during peak season or on weekends. Booking tee times well in advance and arriving early can help avoid any delays and ensure a smooth golfing experience.

Travel Information for Golfers

New Mexico boasts a variety of top-rated courses, making it an ideal destination for golf enthusiasts. Whether it’s discovering hidden gems or playing on well-known courses, a memorable golf experience awaits.

Getting There

Access to New Mexico’s golf courses is relatively straightforward, with Albuquerque International Sunport being the primary airport. Domestic flights from major U.S. cities are available, allowing golfers to easily plan their trip. Once in Albuquerque, golfers can rent a car and embark on a journey to explore the state’s beautiful courses.

Top Golf Courses

Several golf courses in New Mexico have received recognition in GolfPass and other rankings, including:

  • Angel Fire Resort Country Club
  • Black Mesa Golf Club, Española
  • Las Campanas – Sunset, Santa Fe
  • Paa-Ko Ridge Golf Club, Sandia Park
  • Sandia Golf Club, Albuquerque

These courses each offer unique terrain and stunning views, ensuring golfers experience the best that New Mexico has to offer.

Accommodations and Packages

It can be helpful for golfers to take advantage of golf packages and stay-and-play deals that cater to their needs. Many golf courses and resorts in New Mexico offer a variety of packages or partner with local hotels for convenient lodging options. Visit the courses’ websites or utilize GolfPass resources to find the most suitable accommodation and package options.


The climate in New Mexico can vary greatly depending on its region and elevation. Generally, the best time for golfing is from April through October. However, golfers should be mindful of the altitude and pack sunscreen, as temperatures can be warmer and the sun more intense at higher elevations.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top golf courses in Albuquerque?

In Albuquerque, University of New Mexico (Championship) grips the top spot, offering an enjoyable and challenging game for golfers. Apart from this, other notable courses include Sandia Golf Club and Isleta Eagle Golf Course. These courses provide picturesque landscapes, unique layout designs, and well-maintained fairways and greens.

Which Santa Fe golf courses are highly rated?

The Club at Las Campanas in Santa Fe is highly rated and offers two courses, named Sunrise and Sunset. Another prominent course is Marty Sanchez Links de Santa Fe, which provides a challenging layout along with stunning views of the city and surrounding mountains.

What are the best New Mexico golf courses near Ruidoso?

Near Ruidoso, golf enthusiasts can enjoy the scenic Inn of the Mountain Gods resort’s course, located among picturesque forest and mountain landscapes. Additionally, the beautiful Cree Meadows Country Club provides an engaging and well-maintained golf experience.

Can you recommend golf packages in New Mexico?

New Mexico offers several golf packages, including those at top-rated courses like Paako Ridge, Twin Warriors, and Red Hawk. It’s best to browse the websites of the respective golf clubs and resorts to find the most up-to-date and relevant golf package information based on your travel plans and preferences.

What sets Twin Warriors Golf Club apart from others?

Twin Warriors Golf Club in Santa Ana Pueblo offers a unique and challenging experience due to its captivating geography. The course meanders through diverse landscapes such as native cultural sites, desert terrain, and even traverses a natural spring. This golf club not only receives high praise for its layout but also for its beautiful and well-maintained facilities.

Are there any hidden gem golf courses in New Mexico?

New Mexico boasts several hidden gems like Black Mesa Golf Club in Española, which provides a challenging course surrounded by mesmerizing desert landscapes. Another lesser-known but exciting course is the Rockwind Community Links in Hobbs, featuring a link-style layout that offers golfers both a championship and a par-3 course. These courses might not be as famous but are sure to delight golf enthusiasts looking for a unique experience.

Leave a Comment