New Mexico is known as the “Land of Enchantment,” and perhaps no golf course name fits that theme better than Inn of The Mountain Gods. This Ted Robinson design is part of the resort and casino of the same name, and the mountain in question is the Sierra Blanca.
Pine forest pores down the slopes of the surrounding mountains and, in many cases, serves as the separating barrier between fairways on the course. In one instance, a wildling tree got away from the group and planted itself in the middle of the No. 3 fairway, creating a unique hazard on this short, somewhat-dogleg right par four.
Many courses have jumped on the island green trend, but The Mountain Gods took it in a different direction: No. 10 features an island fairway. This par four offers a lay-up of about 180 yards from the tee to this floating feature, but the temptation will be to make the 280-yard carry all the way across Mescalero Lake in an attempt at the green.
Although much of the course plays up into the hills, it returns to the lake for the final hole, a rare par three closer, featuring decisive water all along its left side.
When you arrive at the golf course the scenery clearly grabs your attention. The unfortunate part is that the design -- which opened in 1975 -- could certainly benefit from a major upgrading. The layout takes golfers through a journey where the holes are smartly sequestered from one another but the sum total of the architecture is just not as engaging as it could be.
What you have is vanilla design -- nothing wrong with that per se, but something more engaging would really add to the sheer beauty of the NM countryside.
Sometimes courses are created with a desire to be "less is more" -- which in actuality produce a layout where "less is then less."
Inn of the Mountain Gods has the possibility to be so much more with the right plan put in motion.
Until that happens -- you have other more worthy courses to play in the Land of Enchantment.
M. James Ward