Taos Country Club has an interesting origin story. The founders, perhaps, had not accurately estimated the cost for developing a golf course and realized they would be woefully over-budget if they went with a bigger name for the design. Fortunately they found Texan Jep Willie, who made them an offer they couldn’t refuse. It doesn’t sound very promising, but Willie pulled through and gave them one of the best public-access courses in New Mexico.
The high desert terrain is often the star of the show, and Willie uses it to his advantage, featuring the natural arroyos as forced carries. Of course, players will also need to carry some less-than-natural hazards on the front nine as well: Two tee shots will traverse the same residential road that winds through the course.
Back-to-back par fives occur at nos. 14 and 15. The latter features a behemoth greenside bunker that blends the line between “Lion’s Mouth” and “Road Hole.” Regardless of what you call it, you’ll need to be wary if you go for this green in two! Coming off that green, you’ll cross a footbridge to the No. 16 tee.
Taos CC is known for its competitive play, management turnover and active professionals. Situated just west of UNM Taos, it is located on the first turn before Ranchos de Taos. Over time the course has matured, and the venue has blossomed.
The pro shop had been decent, the range quite accessible, and play rather quick.
The course heads down hill, then along the western perimeter before beginning a gradual climb up the long fifth.
Golf Digest lauded the course in 1998, and rightly so. Tad Bourg and the ownership group are eternally young, and forever improving their own games.
There were plans for casitas, but i am uncertain whether those plans came to fruition.
Taos has long enjoyed a deserved reputation as the getaway spot for writers, musicians, and artists of all types. The golf side came much later and when Taos CC opened in 1994 it provided a regulation 18-hole effort.
The course is good but the extra added dimensions that would have really helped are just not present. The land was not doctored to produce a layout in conflict with its terrain but the reverse happened where less done means less accomplished.
From the back tees the course is listed at 7,300 yards but when you factor into the mixture the elevation - over a mile high -- the net yardage is considerably less.
For true connoisseurs the time spent playing here will be a head scratching moment. The big expanse of property could have injected a whole series of creative elements with various land movements and adroit placing of bunkers with green complexes that truly provide a varied manner.
Taos will fill one's golf appetite for the immediate need to include golf when in this part of the USA. But, it's equally true that unlike the stature of the writers and artists who have come to Taos for meaningful inspiration the golf side of the equation will leave wishing more could have been accomplished.
M. James Ward