Robert Trent Jones Jr. cleverly integrated arroyos, canyons and rock outcroppings into his design for an 18-hole course that exists harmoniously with a residential development at Rainmakers Resort and Club. Located just a 90-minute drive north of the White Sands National Park, Rainmakers was the first course in the state to receive Audubon Signature Sanctuary status.
A round here starts with back-to-back par fives, the first of which is an epic, severely doglegging hole with a falloff into trees along the right side of a fairway that narrows at it approaches the green. The demanding tee shot across a deep gully at the 1st is one that’s required time and again on many of the holes.
And if it’s not a tough tee shot which is needed then it’s an exacting approach that has to be played to the green – this is a serious test of golf which throws up challenges on every hole. Don’t pay too much attention to the relatively benign rating/slope numbers on the scorecard as those statistics don’t tell the full story.
You really have to be ultra-careful and plot your way from tee to green because fairways are often crossed by either an arroyo or an area of native vegetation. The smart move is to play a conservative shot to a position where your next shot can then carry rough ground or avoid falling off the fairway into native vegetation.
The surrounding scenery is stunning and the course itself blends in beautifully with the landscape but the playing experience will be severely compromised here if you don’t concentrate fully on the job in hand and treat the course with the respect it deserves.