Golfing in Taos and Vicinity
By Linda Thompson
Golfers at the Taos Country Club ©Terry Thompson, HighMesaProductions.com
(Taos, New Mexico) Whether you visit Taos to ski, shop, go rafting, visit art galleries, or immerse yourself in the singular tri-cultural ambiance of northern New Mexico, don't forget your golf clubs!
Three golf resorts provide very different experiences from March through October. During March and April, it is actually possible to ski in the morning and play nine or eighteen holes in the afternoon.
The prima donna of the three resorts is the twelve-year-old Taos Country Club, which is near the village of Ranchos de Taos, south of Taos proper. You must take your game very seriously to avoid being distracted by 360-degree views of rolling sage, the spellbinding Sangre de Cristo Mountains, and the dramatic New Mexico skies.
A decade ago, Golf Digest rated this eighteen-hole, semi-private club one of the state's top five, as well as one of the nation's most affordable courses. With weekday greens fees ranging from $52 to $12 (depending on what time of day you begin), affordability remains a strong selling point. Weekend rounds cost a bit more ($65 to $12) and carts can be rented for $13 per person.
This 7,300-yard, par-72 course has bluegrass on fairways and bent grass on greens. Clubs are sold and rented, and there is a Pro on site. The spacious clubhouse features a full bar and an excellent restaurant, with periodic art shows at the club's 'Gallery on the Green.' The Taos Country Club belongs to the American Golf Association and hosts many tournaments every year. For more information, call 505-758-7300.
For more of a 'lost-in-the-woods' experience, try the Angel Fire Resort Country Club and Golf Course in nearby Colfax County, about forty-five minutes from Taos. The semi-private course is one of the country's highest golf resorts at 8,690 feet. It features eighteen holes, par 72, a Pro shop and driving range, as well as complete dining facilities. The season runs from May 1 through October 15. The greens wander among groves of aspen, spruce and ponderosa pine. Greens fees are $75 on Fridays through Sundays and holidays and $60 the rest of the week. A 'twilight' greens fee (after 3:30 p.m.) is $46 on weekends and $40 Monday through Thursday. A cart can be rented for $15 per player. Contact the club at 505-377-3055 or 800-633-7463.
A more 'blue-collar course' is the Valle Escondido Taos Canyon Golf Course barely 12 miles from Taos Plaza. Its Spanish name, which means 'hidden valley,' might help explain why many people born and raised nearby are unaware of its existence. This nine-hole, par-36 course, which is owned by a local neighborhood association, sits at about 8,500-feet-and by the way, it has been said that golf balls travel faster in the rare atmosphere of these altitudes. Take plenty of sunscreen because the thin air also can mean a quicker sunburn!
The Valle is uncrowded despite bargain-basement fees-$16 for an adult and $5 for a child younger than 13. There are no golf carts here, but you can rent a pullcart for $4. The last four holes ramble among picturesque streams and ponds that offer good fishing-a pastime, unfortunately, that's reserved for association members. Streams and ponds, not to mention the occasional wandering elk, can be golfing hazards. But the pleasure of golfing beside banks of wildflowers while club members casually yank trout from the water will relax even the most stressed-out golfer.
A snack bar in the clubhouse provides sandwiches, burgers, and hot dogs, along with alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks. To reach Valle Escondido, watch for mile marker 267 on U.S. Highway 64 heading toward Angel Fire. Just past the marker, turn right at the Enchanted Moon RV Park and drive one half mile further. The Valle Escondido clubhouse manager can be contacted at 505-758-3475.
Information and photo submitted by:
|Article: Linda Thompson
Photo: Terry Thompson
High Mesa Productions
Linda Thompson, co-owner of High Mesa Productions, writes children’s books and magazine articles, among other things. She is an online instructor for U.C. Berkeley Extension’s intermediate copyediting courses. With her husband, Terry, she lives in Taos, New Mexico, which they consider to be like no other place they’ve ever been. During their joint and separate lives, they’ve lived in the San Francisco Bay area, Los Angeles, Seattle, rural England, Barcelona, Honolulu, and Washington, D.C. Now, their camera and keyboard are mainly focused on the western states and Texas, with occasional excursions to other parts of the world. See their website for additional background and experience.