Inn of the Mountain Gods Golf Course Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.6

Golf - Resort Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
Mescalero, New Mexico
· Stay & Play

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Inn of the Mountain Gods Golf Course Review

Inn of the Mountain Gods Championship Golf Course in Mescalero New Mexico

Wow, what a spectacular 18 holes of golf at Inn of the Mountain Gods Golf Course!!  The Golf Course is part of the Inn of the Mountain Gods resort which also has a casino, a good golf stay and play package, boat rentals on a beautiful mountain lake, and a zip line that flys you across the lake.  The course was designed by Ted Robinson and opened for play in 1975.  Owned and operated by the Mescalero Apache tribe this course is the birth place of Native American golf and is located about 3 miles from Ruidoso.  The course is over 7200 feet above sea level and plays through the towering pines of the majestic Sacramento Mountains. 

Some of what makes Inn of the Mountain Gods Golf Course well worth playing include:

  • tree lined fairways that traverse up and down the mountains
  • near perfect conditions from the tee boxes to the greens
  • huge elevation changes, dog legs, forced carries, tough approach shots, and more to keep you on your game
  • it's peaceful and quiet with stunning scenery with Sierra Blanca Peak and the lake in the background
  • some excellent and very fun holes including an island fairway
  • a casino is next door to try and win back your green fees or golf bet loses or enjoy a buffet meal

With all that to offer it's not surprising that Inn of the Mountain Gods Championship Golf Course has won several awards and accolades, some of which include:

  • a top spot (number 23) in Golf Digest’s “Top 40 Casino Golf Courses” rankings
  • Golf Week Magazine named it "one of the top 50 golf courses nationally"
  • Travel and Leisure said it is "the most underrated golf course in the southwest"

The 80 acres of Kentucky Bluegrass fairways are spectacular as they wind up and down the mountains with elevation changes of over 200 feet and through towering ponderosa pines, blue spruce, douglas fur, and gable oaks.  When we played they were in near perfect condition.  The fairways are generally wide and forgiving but you will encounter a couple where you'll want to leave the big dog in the bag.  The rough was wide and cut playable but miss it and you're most likely lost in the forest.  You'll notice very quickly how peaceful and quiet your round is - no homes with barking dogs, no big trucks or police cars with sirens blaring!  The only noise I heard were the squirrels, birds, and my golf balls ricocheting off the pine trees!  The fairways include lots of ups and downs, some heavy contour, as well as slope left or right that you need to manage.

As good as the fairways are at Inn of the Mountain Gods Golf Course, the bent grass greens are even better.  They were in excellent condition, ran at a great speed of between 9 to 10 on the stimpmeter, were soft and true, and a joy to putt.  The greens are a variety of shapes and sizes (average size is 6400 square feet) and have some gentle contour and slope plus subtle breaks that can cause three putts.

The 48 bunkers were also a variety of sizes and shape but thanks to all the rain they were firm and tightly packed.  The sand is heavy and gritty but the good news is that the lips are small and you may get lucky and roll out. 

Some of the holes that we really liked include:

  • #3 is a 343 yard dog leg right with an elevated tee shot that can be tricky - you can try to hit the elevated fairway for a longer approach to the green but if you miss you've got a tough shot over the trees to get to the green
  • #8 is beautiful - a 235 yard par 3 with a dramatic elevation change down to the green surrounded by 3 big bunkers
  • #10 was my favorite - a 354 yard par 4 that from the tee box you need to stuff it on an island fairway, then cross back over the lake to a green the juts into the lake and has water three quarters of the way around it
  • #12 is a 216 yard slightly down hill par 3 with the lake and bunker in front of the green plus a long bunker on the left and the lake as a backdrop
  • #18 is a great finishing hole - an elevated tee box that will tempt you to go for the green  with bunkers left and right that's 272 yards away and all carry over the lake from the tips

Bottom line - you need to go out of your way to play this beautiful and fun course.

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Black 7,212 72.6 132
Blue 6,336 68.7 124
White 5,522 70.3 127
Gold 6,732 70.5 128

Course Information

Course Architect:
Ted Robinson
Greens Type:
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Fairway Condition
Bunker Condition
Carts mandatory
Beware of water on 6 holes and the 48 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
9.6 out of 10
Fun to Play:
Front Nine Rating:
Back Nine Rating:


Approximate Weekend
$40.00 to $145.00

Service is ok, the cart lady shows up every 5 holes or so, the pro shop is very well stocked, and the practice facilites are good. The grill has a good menu and the view from the deck of the lake and 10th hole is fantastic. The GPS is great.



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.