Review & Rating of The Links at Sierra Blanca in Ruidoso, New Mexico
It was a pleasant surprise to find a Scottish links style course in the Sierra Blanca mountains surrounding Ruidoso. In 1991 senior tour star Jim Colbert carved and sculptured a links front nine with wide sweeping and forgiving fairways lined with tall berms on both sides and a back nine that plays like a links style course but with towering pines (plus some berms) lining one or both sides of the fairways. In addition to the berms and trees you'll need to avoid water on 3 holes and 23 bunkers.
When we played The Links at Sierra Blanca in August, the fairways were in near perfect condition as was the rough which was cut thin and playable. The fairways are rolling and contoured and firm giving you some extra roll. Miss the fairways and rough and you're likely on the side or top of a berm – some of which are over 15 feet tall – with a very challenging lie.
The greens at The Links at Sierra Blanca were also in near perfect condition. They are big, a variety of sizes, fast, and challenging thanks to plenty of slope and some contour. Study the greens before putting and you might be able to read some of the subtle breaks.
The bunkers were in ok condition with firm, thin, and somewhat gritty sand. They are about average size and the lips are small and sloping which means you might get lucky and hit in but roll out of the bunker.
Some of the holes that we liked at The Links at Sierra Blanca included:
#3 is a fun 432 yard par 4 with a big bunker waiting for your drive, a tight berm lined fairway, and a raised green with a pond on the left side
#9 is great – it's 412 yards with a risky straight and shorter shot to the green over a minefield of berms or the safer but longer approach down the fairway, then left to the green
#10 requires an accurate tee shot over a small creek and valley to hit a narrow raised fairway that turns right – trees line the left side and the fairway drops off on the right side creating a tough shot over the trees to get to the fairway or green – you've got a great risk reward shot off the tee to try to shorten the hole
#13 is a 542 yard par 5 with a blind shot up a hill to a wide fairway but if you spray it right you are in the berms or down a hill and most likely lost in the natural area – survive that and you've got a tough approach to a green guarded by two bunkers on the left and swales and berms on the right
18 is a great finishing hole with a slightly elevated tee box, a roller coaster fairway, and a slight uphill shot to a green surrounded by 4 bunkers, lots of mounds, and 9 deep grass swales/bunkers
The Links at Sierra Blanca is well worth playing if you're in Ruidoso – good conditions, reasonable rates and a stay and play next door, and some fun holes.