The Links at Sierra Blanca Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.0

Golf - Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
Ruidoso
Website
· Discounted Tee Times
Date Last Played: August 09, 2015

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The Links at Sierra Blanca Review

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.

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Gold 6,757 120.0 71
Blue 6,308 112.0 68
White 5,861 111.0 66
Red 4,980 119.0 66

Course Information

Course Architect:
Jim Colbert
Greens Type:
Polana & Bent
Greens Condition
23.0
Greens Difficulty
9.0
Fairway Condition
9.0
Bunker Condition
8.0
GPS:
No
Walkable:
Yes
Scorecard
Course Map
Beware of water on 3 holes and the 23 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
9.0 out of 10
Beauty:
9.0
Difficulty:
8.5
Variety:
8.5
Fun to Play:
9.0
Value:
9.0
Condition:
9.3
Front Nine Rating:
8.9
Back Nine Rating:
9.0
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FEES & AMENITIES

Approximate Weekend
Rates:
$49.00 to $79.00

Service is very good and friendly. The pro shop is well stocked, the practice facilites are very good, and the grill has dogs, sandwiches, and more. Pace of play is good.

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Here's How Texas Outside Determines the Scorecard Rating

The Texas Outside rating scale ranges from 1 to 10 – a perfect 10 course would be something like this:  links along a cliff overlooking the Pacific ocean and bordered by tall trees; lush fairways on rolling hills with lots of natural hazards; water (which is crystal clear) on most of the holes; immaculate greens (but they are undulating and tough); lots of variety and character (each hole is completely different and includes blind shots, elevation changes, doglegs, and significant challenges); perfectly manicured traps with the whitest and prettiest sand you’ve ever seen; a nice club house with great food and a 19th hole; a GPS; plenty of beverage carts or your own cooler and ice; and it only costs $40 bucks! What this means is that you probably won’t find any 10s in Texas – try Cabo San Lucas, Pebble Beach, or some of the Hawaii courses! 
Texas Outside rates courses on the following:

  • Beauty – tall trees, rolling hills, beautiful houses, waterfalls, and similar stuff would score high; a 1 would be flat, bushes or cactus instead of trees, and some grass but mostly weeds
  • Difficulty – a straight, 300 yard par 4 with no traps or hazards, no out of bounds or water would probably get a 1; if it is a 460 yard par 4 over two ravines, with water along one side, natural hazards on the other, strategically placed traps or that dreaded tree right in the middle of the fairway, we are talking a 10. 
  • Variety – what would you give a course where all the holes looked and played exactly the same (“I thought we just played that hole!”); were side-by-side, which is good for finding or dodging other people’s balls, but not much fun; and you can see the flag from every tee box?  That’s right, it gets a 1.
  • Fun Scale – a 10 is where you walk off the course and say “now that was fun” and you can’t wait to get back, or you immediately turn around and play another 18 holes
  • Value – a 5 is $50 to $60, a 10 is $20 to $30, and 1 is $200 or so – of course all of this is dependent upon how you liked the course.  For example, if a run down, boring municipal course, with six players on each hole was only $10; it would still get a value rating of 1.
  • Condition – this one’s pretty easy – what condition are the fairways. A 10 commands very lush perfectly manicured fairways, compared to a 1, which has fire ants, weeds, and more dirt than grass!
  • Condition of Greens and Difficulty – very hard to read greens with lots of undulation and tough pin placement, rate very high on the difficulty scale.  Condition is self-explanatory.  

All of the above determines the overall score for the golf course.  In other words, we like courses that are pretty, fun, very challenging with a lot of variety, and fairways and greens in excellent condition – all for $40.  We also tend to play the courses that are affordable for the masses, which means in the $30 to $80 range. We rate hard and we haven’t found a 10 in Texas yet – don’t worry we haven’t given up and we’re still looking. 

 

About Texas Outside

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