Marty Sanchez Links de Santa Fe Review

Texas Outside Rating: 8.7

Golf - Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
Santa Fe, NM

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Marty Sanchez Links de Santa Fe Review

Review and Rating of Marty Sanchez Links de Santa Fe in Santa Fe New Mexico

Marty Sanchez Links de Santa Fe was a pleasant surprise - reasonable rates, some great holes, fun and fair, excellent condition, friendly service, and panoramic views of the Sangre de Cristos, Jemex, Ortiz, and Sandia mountains - hard to beat all of that.  And it's not surprising that Travel & Leisure named the course as "top three big little courses in the United States." 

Marty Sanchez was designed by Baxter Spann and opened for play in 1988.  Located about 8 miles from downtown Santa Fe, the course is owned and operated by the City of Santa Fe.  Baxter built Marty Sanchez in the middle of the desert and as such the fairways meander through gently rolling desert terrain with native cottonwood, juniper and piñon trees and if you miss the fairway and rough you'll be among desert flora such as yucca, chamiso and cholla.  And if you're lucky you'll spot jackrabbits, owls, squirrels, and more native wildlife.  A round of golf here is scenic, peaceful and quiet - no homes, no barking dogs, no sirens - it's just you and nature and your fellow golfers.

When we played the bent grass greens were near perfect and a real joy to putt - except for the subtle breaks and challenging pin placement on the side of a ridge, cut into the slope, or near the edge of the green.  Three putts were common for me.  The greens are about average size, a variety of shapes, hold the ball well, and were running true and at a great speed of around 9 to 10.  Some of the greens are raised and the majority are guarded by one or two bunkers. 

The fairways at Marty Sanchez Links de Santa Fe were also in excellent condition and range from somewhat tight to wide open.  The rough was cut a little thick but playable - miss that and your in the natural area.  The fairways are gently rolling and contoured. 

The bunkers need some TLC - along the edges they had weeds and growth.  The sand is firm and gritty and compact, which was probably due to all the recent rain.  The bunkers range from small to some big bad monsters. 

In addition to the scenery, peace and quiet, and great conditions, Marty Sanchez Links de Santa Fe is home to some very fun holes, some of which include:

  • #1 sets the stage for your round and gives you a sample of what you're up against - it's a 565 yard par 5 with a slight dog leg right along a somewhat tight fairway leading to a green with a big left side bunker
  • #8 is a 425 yard par 4 that is downhill to a green with 2 bunkers on the left side
  • #13 is a fun 550 yard par 5 with an elevated tee box, a downhill drive, then left and up to a green with a big long bunker on the left side of the green plus a small pot bunker
  • #18 is a fantastic finishing hole - another elevated tee box, a cluster of three bunkers in your landing zone, and a tough approach to a green with a pond and a long bunker on the right and other bunker on the left

Marty Sanchez Links de Santa Fe is also home to a nine hole par 3 course which also doubles as a nine hole FootGolf course - you use a soccer ball and try to sink in an oversized cup! 

Bottom line - Marty Sanchez Links de Santa Fe is a must play - fun, fair but challenging, great greens, very good conditions, and reasonable rates.

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Black 7,405 73.0 129
Blue 6,113 67.5 117
White 5,540 65.0 108
Gold 6,735 70.3 123
Red 5,045 67.8 126

Course Information

Course Architect:
Baxter Spann
Greens Type:
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Fairway Condition
Bunker Condition
a little hilly
Course Map
Beware of water on 6 holes and the 41 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

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


Approximate Weekend
$23.00 to $47.00

Service is freindly, the pro shop is well stocked, the grill has some good food, and the practice facilities are good.



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.