Grade “A” Architecture

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Black Mesa Golf Club, New Mexico
Posted on
November 15, 2021
M. James Ward in ,
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes


Espanola, New Mexico, USA
11th hole / Par-3 / 172 Yards
Architect: Baxter Spann (2003)

Architecture - Black Mesa GC

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes


The most enchanting aspect when playing Black Mesa is the isolation of the golf holes. The golf is always the central focus throughout one's time on the stunning 360-acrea layout. Once you start the round the innate beauty and rugged character takes center stage with the course bordered by the majestic Sangre de Cristo and Jemez Mountain ranges respectively. Black Mesa is also blessed with an intoxicating array of different colors as the sun moves from sunrise to sunset throughout the day.

One of the most thought provoking of holes is the par-3 11th. Although listed at 172 yards, the uphill hole requires careful deliberation for one's club selection. Set roughly 20-30 feet above the respective teeing areas, the putting surface is surrounded by a box canyon which only adds to the challenge. Wind patterns can fluctuate widely and being able to place the approach near to the day's pin location is central if one's desire is to walk off the green with success.

Architecture - Black Mesa GC


The effective length of the hole will likely mean anywhere from 1-3 additional clubs to consider.

The depth of the green is over 40 yards and when the flagstick is placed in the extreme rear area it takes an ideal marriage between accuracy and length to ensure success.

"The 11th hole at Black Mesa is a perfect par-3 in an unbelievable setting, The green slopes from back-to-front and the slight crescent shape of the putting surface follows the deep greenside hollow on the player's right," said head golf professional Tom Velarde. 

"This shape also is magnified by a back-to-front slope that allows two back right pin placements that are tour quality access and the front left gives an equally challenging location."

Architecture - Black Mesa GC


Failure to hit the green with one's approach only compounds the demands faced. Balls off the green will encounter a range of demanding lies from which recovery is anything but routine.

Velarde sums up the hole succinctly -- "The 11th presents a set of engrossing challenges that makes you realize after playing it multiple times that scoring a three on this hole is nothing short of a great score."


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Photos and rendering courtesy Black Mesa Golf Club

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About M. James Ward

A GWAA and MGWA member, the 66-year-old from the USA has covered golf in all facets since 1980, notably the major championships and other high level events. He has played over 2,000 courses globally and has competed in USGA Championships.

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