When I took up golf in 2002 and in the couple years that followed, I looked everywhere for information about golf courses, golf equipment; basically, if it had golf in it, I wanted to consume it. At one point, I had subscriptions to Golf Digest, Golf Magazine, and Travel & Leisure Golf (RIP). I found great web sites, the best being Golf Club Atlas. Within these publications, I saw a new course opening in New Mexico called Black Mesa Golf Club.
My continuing research would show me golf in New Mexico was actually quite good. The best part is most of it is public. I had always wanted to come out to these parts, but never could come up with a good excuse. So when my lovely wife had a conference that was scheduled for Albuquerque, NM in November 2010, you better believe I was going to tag along.
In the coming weeks, I will do detailed posts on the two courses I had the great fortune to play: Black Mesa Golf Club and Paa-Ko Ridge Golf Club. Depending on who you talk to, these courses are interchangeably the best two courses in New Mexico. In short, my experience was nothing short of wonderful.
When I visited Albuquerque, the temperatures were a bit warmer than normal. For me, this meant 70 degrees each day. Golf weather doesn’t get better than this. Also, there were no clouds in the sky and only a slight breeze. It was, in a word, heaven.
This was my first time playing desert golf and my first time playing at altitude. It was strange playing courses that measured over 6700 yards, yet it wasn’t much different than playing courses around 6200 yards back home. After some quick adjusting on the range, I got my distances down and hit some pretty decent shots during the trip.
Everyone I met on these courses was so friendly. The staff at both courses was great and accommodated me very well. For my 2nd 18 holes at Black Mesa, I got to play with a nice guy on the front 9, then joined up with a 3-some late in the back 9 (on the par 5 16th, often called the “Stairway to Seven”). At Paa-Ko Ridge, I got to play with a couple of nice IT guys from the area for my first 18 holes (10-27), then wrapped it all up by playing the last two holes of my third 9 with another nice guy.
I was going to wrap up the long weekend with 18 at University of New Mexico’s Championship course, but a pre-scheduled tournament and a 2PM flight erased those dreams. Maybe that’s okay, because the desire to come back to this great state is firmly etched in my brain. Along with these three courses, gems such as Twin Warriors, Sandia, and Pinon Hills (though a bit of a drive away) still stand in my to-play list. I also hope to play both courses at Las Campanas, Toas CC, and Albuquerque CC if I can make the connections. Combine all of this, plus a potential 2nd 18 at Black Mesa designed by Tom Doak, give me all the reasons to come back.
Land of Enchantment, indeed!