Paa-Ko Ridge Golf Club is set upon the east side of the Sandia Mountains at elevations ranging from 6.500 to 7,000 feet above sea level. The club offers 27 holes of golf on a layout that includes many of the elements common to the New Mexico high desert, such as rock outcroppings, native vegetation, arroyos (gullies that are usually dry except after a heavy rainfall), mountainous terrain, and spectacular views. Many of the holes play uphill or downhill through a mixture of juniper, ponderosa and pinon pine trees.
The par-72 course, which opened in 2000, is the design of Ken Dye, and all three combinations play to more than 7,500 yards from the Tournament tees, and more than 7,000 yards from the Championship (Blue) tees. From the Blue tees, the USGA rating is 73.1 with a slope rating of 134 on Kentucky Bluegrass tees and fairways with L93 Bentgrass greens.
Some of the most noteworthy holes on the course include Hole No. 4 on the First Nine. The name of this hole is "Dye-abolical,'' and it's an interesting and challenging par-3. The hole plays to 166 yards from the Blue tees to the largest green in the state at 100 yards deep. The putting surface also features an elevation change of 13 feet from its lowest to highest point, which can make distance control off the tee and putting a serious challenge on this hole.
Hole No. 5 on the Second Nine is another par-3 and one of the more challenging on the course. The hole plays to a hefty 243 yards from the Blue tees, and 219 from the Green (equates to White) tees. The hole plays downhill, however, to a crested, sloping green surrounded by bunkers and native areas that are closer than they appear.
Another challenging hole is No. 3 (No. 21 overall) on the Third Nine. Named "Wreckage'' in honor of the plane wreckage that's found on-site, this par-4 plays to 424 yards from the Blue tees, but also plays uphill, making it even longer and more difficult than its posted yardage. There's also a deep bunker short and right of the green to add to the challenge.
The "Muirfield'' is Hole No. 5 on the Third Nine (No. 23 overall) and is a lengthy par-5 that plays to 625 yards from the longest tees and 607 yards from the Blues. Like its namesake in Scotland, which has hosted the British Open many times, this hole plays uphill and features numerous bunkers, making it one of the most difficult and demanding holes on the course.
Since opening, Paa-Ko Ridge has received a number of honors and awards. In 2000, Golf Digest named it the #1 Best New Course in America, GOLF Magazine ranked it among the Top 10 New Courses You Can Play in America, and Golfweek listed it at #23 among the Top 100 Modern Courses in the country.
Practice facilities at the club include a driving range, putting and chipping greens and a practice bunker. Golf instruction and club fitting are also available. There's also a clubhouse designed with Native American dycor, which includes a pro shop and The Grille at Paa-Ko Ridge for breakfast, lunch and casual dinner dining and drinks.
Paa-Ko Ridge also offers golf packages, in conjunction with the Hilton and the Uptown Marriott hotels, as well as several local Bed & Breakfasts.