Golf in Taos Valley hits 25-year milestone

From rolling sagebrush and dirt to fourth best in state, Taos Country Club’s legacy continues to ascend


Aiming to fill a void in Taos Valley and create a place to play a round of golf locally, three visionaries put their collective heads together and set out to build a first-rate course for the Taos golf community. Out of that brainchild spawned the monumental Taos Country Club, which is celebrating its 25-year anniversary Aug. 1.

The idea of creating a golf course in the Taos Valley was concocted by Tad Bourg, Stephen Natelson and Steve Caldwell in 1978. In the proceeding dozen or so years, the trio worked extensively to see their idea come to fruition. While not the first golf course in the valley (a nine-hole course located on the north side of town near the present-day Quail Ridge Taos complex shuttered in the late 1960s), Taos Country Club did take the golfing experience to a new level with its true links layout and architecture.

“This is a very traditional links-style golf course, with very few trees and fairways and greens basically following the contours of the existing land,” said Bourg in a recent interview. “What you see is what you get. That was the idea when we envisioned the course.”

That vision started taking shape 13 years later when Bourg and Natelson with partners Kerry Goulard and Kirk Houston formed Taos Golf Properties and the construction of the course began in 1991 with a nine-hole golf course opening to the public a year later.

“The original golf operations offices were out of a small single-wide trailer,” said Bourg in a statement from Taos Country Club. “From here we sold snacks, cold drinks, equipment and practice balls.”

The first nine holes completed included the current cluster of holes located on the north end of the course that encircled the practice range. Holes 1, 2, 3, 4, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 18 made up the first nine and included three tee boxes each. Total yardage from the “championship” tees measured 3,672 yards, while the “middle” tees totaled 3,181 yards and the “forward” tees sat at 2,767 yards. Cost to play a round of nine holes at that time was $12 and $20 to go twice through on the weekdays. Weekend rates were a whopping $14 and $22 for the same deal.

Construction of the beautiful Taos Country Club clubhouse began shortly after the start of the year in 1997 and the doors to the clubhouse opened two years later. The space is home to the newly reopened restaurantThe Terrace at Taos Country Club, a full-service restaurant with full bar, as well as the Sunset Ballroom, where the country club houses an array of events, including graduations, weddings and all manners of business meetings. The clubhouse also includeds a pro shop with quality golf merchandise and with men’s and women’s locker rooms for the club’s members.

“It has been an interesting journey from when we first conceived of the idea to what we have created here 25 years later,” said Bourg. “It’s been a wonderful experience to be a part of the club and the Taos community.”

One of the pinnacles for the Taos Country Club includes recently being named the fourth best golf course in New Mexico by Golfweek Magazine. “This shows what a jewel we have here in Taos,” said Bourg. 

To celebrate the silver anniversary milestone, the Taos Country Club will be hosting a special25th anniversary golf tournament and barbecue July 22. The tournament will be a four-person team scramble format and is slated to start at 1 p.m. Following the tournament, there will be food and entertainment by Katy P and the Business. During the meal, there will be a raffle with a wide variety of prizes, with part of the proceeds benefiting the Taos High School golf team. The grand prize is a year’s membership and dues to Taos Country Club.

Look for an in-depth story about the Taos Country Club’s 25-year history and the important personalities behind its success in the July 20 edition of The Taos News.