When you think of New Mexico, tumbleweeds, constant wind, and long, lonely highways are probably the first things that come to mind. And with good reason. There’s plenty of all three to be found in the Land of Enchantment.
True to its name though, there’s plenty to see and discover in this great state besides the aforementioned. Culture, both new and old, food to die for, and a host of great golf courses are waiting to be experienced.
One of our writers has played a healthy amount of golf in this state and has nothing but good things to say. His thoughts, along with the ample input from you, our loyal readers, gave me more than enough information to put together a comprehensive list of the best public courses you can play.
Saddle up cowboy, we’re off to the rodeo.
Sandia Golf Club
Sandia Golf Club is the longest course in New Mexico. It stretches out to more than 7,700 yards.
The good news is you don’t have to play the tips. And you’re at north of 5,300 feet in elevation. The ball flies a long way. All that being said, you can play this course as short as 5,113 yards. Even if you’re not a long hitter, you can enjoy everything Sandia Golf Club has to offer.
Sandia is truly an oasis that sits in the heart of rugged, harsh high desert. Our writer has played here a number of times and it’s always emerald green – in perfect condition.
There’s more than great golf at Sandia too. The consensus is that this is a great place to stay and play. The hotel, dining options, and casino are the best in the state.
You won’t be disappointed whether you venture to Sandia for just a day or an extended stay.
Inn of the Mountain Gods
Mescalero. It rolls off the tongue so sexy, you just know this place is cool. That’s nothing short of the truth at Inn of the Mountain Gods.
Unlike a lot of courses in New Mexico, this track sits in a mature forest of pines. High desert mountain golf with an emphasis on mountain.
Designed by Ted Robinson, this course is touted for its spectacular, yet challenging greens and fun factor. No two holes are the same and there’s plenty of opportunity for risk and reward.
As a matter of fact, Inn of the Mountain Gods has been ranked 23 of the “Top 40 Casino Golf Courses in the U.S.”
The fairways are wide out here. On most holes, you can play somewhat aggressively off the tee. Proceed with caution though. The fairways get hard and fast in the summer and the wind blows most afternoons.
Again, there’s more to see and do than golf at this spectacular property. The casino is first class. Amenities and dining can’t be beat. Not to mention there’s land and wonder to explore as far as the eye can see.
Sonoma Ranch Golf Club
Las Cruces is one of the most diverse communities in all of New Mexico. If you’re all about culture, this place is for you.
Our writer loves this city and all that is has to offer. No, it isn’t affluent and littered with pomp and circumstance. Instead, it’s full of people that are real, and proud of where they live.
That’s the vibe you get at Sonoma Ranch Golf Club. Set in the foothills of the Organ Mountains, this track has stunning views in every direction.
The layout requires accuracy both from the tee and into the greens. Strategy trumps bomb and gouge.
What locals love most about Sonoma Ranch is how welcome they feel every time they show up. They’re always greeted with a warm smile, and it’s apparent that everyone here wants you to have the best experience possible.
Desert Lakes Golf Course
Desert Lakes Golf Course sits at the base of the Sacramento Mountain Range. No, we aren’t mistaking this spot for the capitol of California.
It’s the story of two nines out here. The front nine is tree lined and demands strategic course management. On the inward half, the course is somewhat wide open giving you more room off the tee.
The greens are what present the real challenge at Desert Lakes. They’re large in size yet incredibly subtle and difficult to read. It might take a round or two to figure them out.
Water also looms. It comes into play on 11 of 18 holes.
A fair and true test from tee to green, don’t miss a chance to play Desert Lakes.
New Mexico State University Golf Course
You know I’m a huge fan of courses that are tied to schools. In fact, it’s my goal to play every university course in the country. I’ve yet to check this one off my list but I’m motivated after hearing from all you about it.
From what I’ve heard, this course is the perfect blend between classic design and modern features. Viewed on Google Earth, the tree lined fairways scream parkland, old school. While that holds true to an extent, this track has some modern features that are distinct. Large, undulating greens and expansive bunkers give this course some teeth and make it visually intimidating in spots.
If you want to practice, this is the spot as the facilities are state of the art. That makes sense since the men’s and women’s golf teams call this special place home.
I’m going soon. The question is, are you coming?
The Links at Sierra Blanca
Unlike a lot of the courses on our list so far, the Links at Sierra Blanca sits high up in the timbered mountains that surround the community of Ruidoso. We’re talking about the very southern tip of the Rocky Mountains.
Designed by Jim Colbert, the front nine is reminiscent of Scottish links. It’s fairly open, has rolling hills, and the wind can be a significant factor.
The back nine is more intimate and asks you to be accurate. The fairways are lined with majestic pines and the greens are well protected.
Unlike a lot of courses in New Mexico, the Links at Sierra Blanca is open year around, weather pending.
Rockwind Community Links
Located in the town of Hobbs, Rockwind Community Links is a city-owned 27-hole facility.
Open since 2015, players rave about both the 18-hole championship course, and the nine-hole par three course.
Inclusion is the name of the game here. While the holes will test the best players, they’re especially playable for beginners, families, and people with disabilities.
Considered one of the best kept courses in the southeastern part of the state, the fairways are blue grass and the greens bent. These are some of the best surfaces you’ll find anywhere.
A gem of a facility, it’s not hard to see why Rockwind Community Links is the pride of Hobbs.
Paradise Hills Golf Course
Paradise Hills is the only public course that’s privately owned in the city of Albuquerque. For that reason alone, it comes as no surprise that it’s also one of the best kept.
From the course, you’ll be treated to spectacular views of the surrounding Sandia Mountains and the infamous city skyline. Bring your camera.
Even though this track is somewhat flat, taking a cart is recommended. The distances between greens and tees are lengthy.
When you’re done playing, stick around for a bite and a beer in the Office Bar and Grill. Countless tap options and delectable food await.
Santa Ana Golf Club
Santa Ana Golf Club has continuously received high praise and accolades from the likes of Golf Digest, Golf Magazine, and the New York Times.
Having played host to the 2009 PGA Professional National Championship, you know this place is special.
A true links style design, you can expect the winds to influence just about every shot out here. That’s especially true in the afternoon.
All three nines – the Cheena, Star, and Tamaya – present a host of unique challenges that demand your best stuff.
A great experience and a reasonable price, Santa Ana Golf Club is on my list.
Agnel Fire Resort
When you play a round at Angel Fire Resort, your chances of hitting your longest drive ever are pretty darn good. The course sits at more than 8,500 feet of elevation.
This is mountain golf at its finest. The course offers significant elevation changes as holes make their way through dramatic canyons framed by spruce, aspen, and pine trees.
You won’t forget the sixth hole. A par three that measures 239 yards from all the way back, the tee shot plays over 200 feet downhill. Good luck picking the right club.
An experience that has to be had to be believed, I’ve heard nothing but glowing remarks about Angel Fire Resort.
The Land of Enchantment is one of the best kept secrets in the Western U.S. From the culture, to the diverse topography, and of course the golf, there remains much to be discovered.
The more I continue to learn about this great state, the more I’m kicking myself for not having visited for a golf getaway. After all, I’m right next door in Arizona.
Without your help, there’s no way I could have completed this guide on my own. Thank you.
If you have additional information to add, please leave us a note in the comments below.