Red Hawk Golf Club Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.3

Golf - Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
Las Cruces, New Mexico

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Red Hawk Golf Club Review

Review and Rating of Red Hawk Golf Club in Las Cruces New Mexico

Wow, Red Hawk is a spectacular links style desert golf course located on the outskirts of Las Cruces New Mexico.  As we drove through the desert filled with native brush and lots of brown sand we started to wonder "are we lost and who in the world would build a golf course out here and where would they find the water to keep it green in the middle of this arid desert!"  Just then a lush green tee box and fairway and a pond appeared before our eyes.  Turns out that Ken Dye created Red Hawk out of 200 acres (100 acres of turf, 50 acres of planted native grasses, and 50 acres of natural desert) of high desert terrain and he carved 18 contoured and rolling fairways and generous greens, 76 treacherous bunkers, and 5 lakes and he leveraged the native terrain and used the mountains as a spectacular backdrop.  

We loved playing Red Hawk - it's fun, fair but challenging, scenic, quiet and peaceful, and in near perfect condition - and it's not surprising that Red Hawk was named #10 Best in State by Golf Digest.  In addition, some of the other recent awards and accolades include:

  • Lee Trevino, 6 time major champion, stated "I have been a member of the Sun Country PGA for many, many years and I've never seen a golf course as nice as this one!"
  • Golf Digest's "Best in State" for 2013 and 2014
  • Reader's Choice in 2012 and 2013 for "Best Golf Course in Las Cruces

Part of what makes playing Red Hawk enjoyable are the wide and forgiving rolling and heavily contoured fairways.  In most cases you can pull out the big dog and let it rip - if you miss the fairway, the wide rough is playable but after that you're in the desert and best let the snakes, coyotes, and rabbits keep your ball.  When we played in August the fairways and tee boxes were in near perfect condition.   Yardages range from 5502 to 7523 and there are 5 sets of tee boxes - don't bite off more than you can chew because the yardages, bunkers, and greens make Red Hawk quite demanding. The layout is fairly straightforward and in most cases you can see the pin and what you're up against.

Red Hawk puts a premium on the approach shots to the green and on putting.  Most of the greens are raised with with false fronts, heavily contoured with slope and breaks (some double breaks that are hard to read), and all are well guarded with bunkers, water, or natural areas.  The good news is the greens are large, in perfect condition, smooth, hold the ball well, and run true and at a very good speed of around 10 or so. 

The 76 bunkers will test your game and they range from small pot bunkers to large nasty multi-fingered monsters.  The good news is that most of the bunkers are surrounded with thick grass which may stop you from landing in the sand but the bad news is that the grass is thick and hard to hit out of!  The faces of the bunkers are reasonable (1 to 2 feet) and sloping with a firm sand which may take your ball back to the center of the bunker for a reasonable shot.  The sand is hard packed, which may have been due to recent rain, and the sand is a tad heavy and gritty. 

Some of the holes that we really liked included:

  • all of the par 3s are great and three are spectacular with greens guarded by a lake and bunkers and some elevated tee shots
  • #6 is a fun 347 yard par 4 with a slight dog leg right around a pond and a huge fairway bunker and 3 bunkers and the pond putting a premium on the approach shot to the green - a good risk reward shot if you want to risk carrying more of the lake to get closer to the green
  • #8 is a 576 yard par 5 that zig zags through a minefield of 8 bunkers on the way to the green
  • #11 is another fun hole with a slight left turning fairway around a big bunker then back to the right and past a huge 120 yard long bunker on the right and 2 smaller bunkers on the left
  • #18 is a great finishing hole with a slight downhill approach shot to a raised green with a pond and bunker on the right and other bunker on the left

Red Hawk is one of those courses you should drive out of your way to play.  See our New Mexico Golf Course Reviews to learn about some of the other New Mexico golf courses we love.   And if you get a chance, play the Santa Fe Golf Trail - read about our experience playing this outstanding golf trail. 

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Black 7,523 74.9 133
Blue 6,688 70.9 126
White 6,068 68.2 124
Gold 7,173 73.0 129
Red 5,502 70.0 122

Course Information

Course Architect:
Ken Dye
Greens Type:
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Fairway Condition
Bunker Condition
Fairly easy
Course Map
Beware of water on 5 holes and the 76 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

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


Approximate Weekend
$10.00 to $57.00

Service is very good, the pro shop is well stocked, and the practice facilities are excellent. The grill has a full bar and some good food - the Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich and the Chicken Salad Sandwich were excellent. The cart lady showed up about every 5 holes or so.



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.