Towa Golf Club is part of the Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino which is about 15 minutes from Santa Fe. Towa Golf Club is home to 27 holes which are a modified desert links style that run along ridges against the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, overlook the Posjoaque Valley, and are studded with boulders, pinons and Cholla Cactus.
Towa takes advantage of the natural topography, unique rock formations and natural vegetation indigenous to the region – all of which provides scenic beauty that can grab your attention as well as challenges that require you to focus on club selection and course management.
Each of the three nines has it's own unique personality and characteristics, for example:
- Pinon has lots of dog legs as it plays through the Pinon trees and club selection is critical off the tee box
- Valley is the shortest and probably the easiest of the nines thanks to bigger greens and wider fairways
- Boulder offers the most variety and some dramatic vistas as well as the only island green in New Mexico
Common to all three courses are extraordinary vistas from every tee, stunning southwestern high desert terrain, rambling fairways, some fun as well as challenging holes, five sets of tee boxes, dramatic elevation changes, and large greens averaging 6,500 square feet, which is slightly larger than the national average of 6,300 square feet.
When we played in late September 2011, Towa was still trying to recover from some harsh winter conditions that had virtually destroyed the greens as well as a lot of damage to the fairways. As such the conditions were not the best but very playable.
The Boulder nine plays through some amazing and very interesting boulder formations and along the top of a ridge offering fantastic 360 degree vistas. Make sure you walk to the tips on the 9th hole and take in the view and hit a couple to see if you can nail the green.
Of the three nines, Boulder was our favorite – it throws a little bit of everything at you (forced carries, elevation changes, contoured fairways, dog legs, water, strategically placed bunkers, and more), it was a little harder, much more scenic, and had some very fun and interesting holes. For example:
- from an elevated tee box on #2 it's 383 yards along a narrow fairway with a lake along the entire left side leading to an oblong green well guarded by the lake and sand along the left side and 3 bunkers on the right
- #4 is the only island green in New Mexico and from an elevated tee box it's a challenging 243 yard shot to the green which is surrounded by both sand and water
- the last three holes are fantastic – a fun par 4 that will test your game, a 520 yard par 5 with a tough approach, and a 100 elevation drop on a 200 yard par 3
As mentioned earlier, the conditions were improving but there was stills signs of damage to both the greens and fairways. The fairways range from ample to tight with a playable rough – but miss and you're in the desert and most likely lost.
The greens on the Boulder Nine are good sized and have both slope and undulation. They had been recently sanded, so it was hard to tell how true they ran. We were told they normally run around a nine to nine and a half on a great putting surface.
The bunkers, which were all sizes and shapes and mostly steep and deep could also use some work.
The Rating/Slope is based on playing Boulder/Pinon courses which is the toughest combination of holes from all of the tee boxes.
Towa Golf Club is part of the fantastic Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino which has some good stay and play packages. Read our review of Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino to learn more
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Service is ok, the pro shop is very well stocked, the restaurant has some good food, and the practice facilities are good.
According to the head pro, the winter weather just about destroyed all of Towa's greens - the course is finally starting to recover and in September 2011 was close to being back to normal.
The Rating/Slope is based on playing Boulder/Pinon courses