Santa Ana Golf Club is home to three very good nine hole courses that are very golfer friendly, typically in great condition, fun to play, and a very good value. The courses are woven through the desert near the Rio Grande and surrounded by the grandeur of the Jemez Mountains to the west, the Sangre de Cristos to the north, and the Sandia Mountains immediately east. From every hole you’ll have a spectacular view of the 10,000-foot Sandia Peak. Native grasses, subtle mounding, and eight crystal-blue lakes add beauty as well as a challenge to your round at Santa Ana Golf Club.
Each of the courses is a little bit different from the others and each offers some fun and demanding holes. All three nines have 4 sets of tee boxes, sloping greens, plenty of bunkering, fairly thick roughs, and ample fairways that play through the high New Mexico desert just north of Albuquerque, Also common to all three nines is a very good finishing hole with a lake and bunkers that come into play on your approach shot. This is a very popular golf course and a real bargain and as such, pace of play can be a tad slow, particularly on weekends.
The New York Times stated that Santa Ana Golf Club was “one of America’s three best links style golf courses.” and some of the other awards and accolades include:
Golf Digest 4 Stars
Golf Digest America’s Top 40 Casino Golf Courses– #33
Golf Digest State of New Mexico Golf Courses — #10
Golf Magazine America’s Top 50 For Under $50– #7
Golf For Women America’s Top 100 Women-Friendly Courses– #47
You can read our review of the Tamaya Nine and Cheena Nine, to learn more about each course.
The Star Course at Santa Ana Golf Club is the shortest of the three nines with yardages ranging from 2481 to 3571 yards. The Star Course is fairly traditional and straightforward with some forced carries, dog legs, water on 4 holes, and a couple challenging approach shots. This is a nine where if you stay in fairway, you’ll have a relaxing and very good round. Playing from the tips can be much more demanding.
We noticed that some of the holes have names that pretty well describe the hole, for example:
Perseverance is a long 594 yard par 5 with a straight fairway, 2 huge bunkers, and a dog leg left green
Star 5 is the signature 5th hole and it’s a blast to play and requires a decision on the tee box and then accuracy all the way to the pin – can you drive the green and avoid the bunkers and lake or should you take the safer but longer left side or should you lay up in front of a right fairway bunker and then fly the lake to the green
Confidence requires you to suck it up and try to fly the lake, avoid the bunker, and nail the oblong two tier green on this 167 yard par 3
When we played Santa Ana the fairways were in above average condition and the rough was fairly thick. The fairways are ample but if you miss them you’re in the desert scrub and sand, however, you may get lucky and find a playable ball or a rabbit, ground squirrel, roadrunner, or rattlesnake.
The greens are about average size and a variety of shapes. Most are generally flat with back to front slope. They were in very good condition when we played they ran at a pretty good speed of around 10 or so. They held the ball well.
The bunkers are thin lipped and the sand is shallow and firm and gritty. We found it hard to get under the ball.
The above slope and rating are based on playing the Cheena and Star nine together.
Bottom line – a good nine holes that gives you the opportunity to turn in a good score.
You should also play Santa Ana’s sister course, Twin Warriors, which is just down the road and a fantastic track that we rated 9.3 – here is a link to the review of Twin Warriors. The Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa is adjacent to Twin Warriors and it’s a fantastic resort with good stay and play packages – read our review of the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa to learn more.
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Service is very good, the practice facilities are adequate, and the grill has some good food - the green chili stew is excellent.