La Mesilla, N. M . 7,307 yards, par 72;Greens fee: $59-$82; 505-747-8946, blackmesagolf.com
When Black Mesa first opened in 2003 it was the ominous sign in the clubhouse that created the initial buzz: "Big course, big medicine it will kick your butt." These days, the layout speaks for itself.
Ranked No. 35 on our Top 100 Courses You Can Play, this Baxter Spann design is a treat: a rugged examination 5,400 feet up in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, 25 minutes north of Santa Fe. The course twists and turns through high sandstone bluffs and isolated canyons but really hits its stride on the back nine. You won't know whether to gawk at the stunning mountain views or stare in horror at the slivers of fairway that await your tee shots. The deception doesn't end there: At No. 13, a 590-yard par 5, the green is so deep that the difference between front and back pin positions can be as much as five club lengths. The par-5 16th slinks through a canyon that's as intimidating and narrow as an airport metal detector.
But there's no deception in the prices: Black Mesa is one of the best bargains in golf.