Laid out in the foothills of the Jemez Mountains between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, the course at Cochiti Golf Club (formerly Pueblo de Cochiti) originated from the drawing board of Robert Trent Jones Jr. back in 1981.
Locals like to describe the layout as “heaven with a zip code”.
When Cochiti first opened in the early 80s the playing field for "destination" public courses was in its infancy and having a New Mexico address clearly added to the fanfare when making the trek to go there. The course is beautifully situated -- hence the State nickname -- "Land of Enchantment." For a time, Golf Digest ranked the layout among the USA's top 50 public courses, although I believe that selection had much to do with providing for geographical diversity.
Robert Trent Jones, Jr. created a quality layout -- free of annoying clutter. The round of golf at Cochiti is always about the connection to the land and the holes fit quite nicely upon the landscape.
The main issue facing Cochiti is less about what it provides and more about how the quality of available golf in New Mexico has clearly risen considerably in the years since.
With the elevation above 5,000 feet -- the total length of Cochiti -- at just under 6,900 yards -- can be on the short side for strong players. As mentioned earlier, the layout is free of pesky intrusions so when playing the connection to the golf is first and foremost.
Overall, the architecture checks off the boxes but the sum total is merely good. A visit is certainly one to entertain but go with expectations firmly planted in a 2020 reality.
M. James Ward