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 done a lot of damage to the fairways. As such the conditions were not the best but very playable.
The Pinon Nine at Towa gives you a feeling that you're playing on the top of the mesa and among the rugged desert and Pinons. This nine really puts a premium on club selection and accuracy off the tee box. The spectacular first hole is a good example: a 627 yard par 5 that from an elevated tee box (a stunning view) with a forced carry you can't see a lot of the landing zone which is tight thanks to a very deep arroyo all along the right side and hills and natural area along the left plus a strategically placed bunker – survive that and then you need to pick the right club to take you down and then back up to a guarded green. A number of other holes have similar characteristics.
During the rest of the round you'll encounter plenty of forced carries over natural areas and arroyos, dramatic elevation changes, uphill and downhill shots to the greens, some treacherous steep and deep bunkers, and some challenging green complexes.
The greens can be demanding – all have at least one bunker, some are raised, they are all shapes and sizes, and they have gentle breaks plus some spines and ridges.
The fairways are tight and you don't want to miss them unless you want to check out the wildlife and cactus.
The bunkers are all shapes and sizes and most are steep and deep.
A fun nine to play and the second time you play it you should score much better. You need accuracy and precision and good club selection to score well on this nine.
The Rating/Slope are based on playing Pinon and Valley courses together.