The Canyon Club at Four Hills Course Review – Albuquerque Trip
Posted On July 15, 2018
We were able to play The Canyon Club at Four Hills in Albuquerque and it did not disappoint. It was fun to play a course with an older design. At only 6,767 yards from the tips, it plays more difficult that is seems in a different fashion. Mature trees along the fairway ensure that any wayward tee shots are penalized more by typically having to lay up or punch out. The greens are quick and difficult to read due to the mountain effect. I am still flabbergasted from the way putts broke on hole 14. The majority of the holes turn to the left, so anyone who plays a cut off the tee will have even more trouble.
The Canyon Club at Four Hills hosted a Champions Tour event from 1986-1991. While it wasn’t in tour tournament quality shape, it was in excellent condition from tee to green, with very few imperfections. In fact, it was in better shape than a few top 100 courses I have played. But this is what you really expect from a private course.
Pro Shop and Clubhouse
The pro shop was definitely dated, probably the most of anyone that I have been in for a private course. Check in was smooth and the staff was very helpful, giving us a map of the property and showing us where everything and anything is. We also went up to the restaurant briefly, and it was in stark contrast to the pro shop. It had definitely been refurbished and was very nice. I was in fact wowed by the difference and really didn’t expect it. I commend The Canyon Club for such a nice dining area.
Range and Practice Areas
The range was nice, but had homes down the right hand side. The Canyon Club also has a couple practice areas. There is a chipping green with a sand bunker by the 18th green and a putting green next to the clubhouse near the first tee box. There is also a short approach practice area with a green between the 3rd and 8th hole. This is a nice feature not seen at many courses.
Hole 1 is a par 4 that bends slightly to the left. Anyone that cuts the ball off the tee will probably need to club down and leave it short of the trees on the right. Just avoid the bunkers short right and short left with your approach, which will be the theme of the course.
Hole 2 is another par 4 that bends slightly left but is easier to drive for those that hit a cut. Again you don’t have to hit driver off the tee as it plays slightly down hill. Again, avoid the bunkers in the front and an up and down will be easy.
Hole 3 is the second longest par 3 on the course with bunkers to avoid in the front. There is a hill on the right hand side of the green and as long as you are inside of it, it will bounce or roll back towards the green.
Hole 4 is the first par 5 and with a good drive is reachable in 2. Keep it down the right hand side to have a shot at the green. There isn’t a whole lot of room left behind the green but there’s more to the right. In fact, long right is the best miss in my opinion when going for it. If you need to lay up, hit the club that will give you the number left you want to be able to attack the green. Avoid the two bunkers right on you approach. The ones on the left aren’t as penal, and will keep your ball from rolling off and across the cart path, leaving a tougher pitch.
Hole 5 is a par 4 that dog legs right hard. For longer hitters, driver isn’t needed. A driver or long iron will put you in good shape. Avoid the bunkers on the right, and be long if necessary.
Hole 6 is the shortest of the par 3’s but plays a bit uphill and tougher than the others. Anything long here will bounce off the hill and go even further. The bunkers are deeper than other on the course due to the elevation. Short is the only decent option so you will need to take aim and commit to getting it on the green.
Hole 7 is a straightforward par 4. Avoid the fairway bunkers on the left with your tee shot. Be short or right into this green as it slopes off the back a lot and will be a tough up and down from there.
Hole 8 is par 5 with the fairway sloping left to right. Stay down the left right, avoiding the bunker on the right, and let your ball roll back to the right. If you go for it in 2, don’t be afraid to be a little long, or a little short. You have a couple different lay up options. If you take it down the left, there’s a chance that you may catch the hill and and a difficult lie into the green or you can go down the right and have a better lie, but a tougher uphill approach. Just make sure you clear the bunkers, as with almost every hole on the course.
Hole 9 is the longest par 4, and at 456 yards from the tips, we found it to be the toughest hole on the course. Avoid the bunker on the left or it will make this hole that much tougher. With your approach, long is the best miss option.
Hole 10 is a par 4 that bends a little left. It isn’t a long hole, so a hybrid or long iron off the tee will work. Long is the miss but you can’t be too long here.
Hole 11 is a par 5 that can be reached in 2 with a good drive. Avoid the fairway bunker on the left for that shot at the green. Either be a little short or make sure you have enough to clear the bunkers. If you need to lay up, just pick the number you want left as there isn’t much trouble. Just make sure you clear the bunker in front with your approach.
Hole 12 is a par 4 that dog legs to the right. This will be the toughest hole for those who draw it off the tee. Make sure you know what distance you want to hit as you could run out of real estate. The approach is uphill, and again make sure you have enough club to clear the bunkers in the front.
Hole 13 is par 3 that id deceivingly tougher than it looks. The front 10 paces or so slope downhill, so anything that spins back to this point or further will end up just off the green.
Hole 14 is a fun par 4 with longer hitters able to take it over the water. Pick a tree over the water for your line and commit and you will end up in a good spot. With your approach, try to stay below the hole. This green will make you misread it all day long. Everything till break away from the mountain, or maybe a better way to put it is that it will break away from the fairway. We hit several putts and everyone broke the same. Still can’t believe it.
Hole 15 is the last par 5 and last best scoring opportunity. Just keep it out of the trees on the left and you will have a shot at the green in 2. As with all the other approaches, keep it short of the green or long. If laying up, I personally think laying up down the right side is the best option. With your approach or chip shot, try to keep it below the hole if possible, just make sure you clear the bunkers first.
Hole 16 is a par 4 that turns left. Take a hybrid or long iron off the tee just over the edge of the bunker. The green here is a bit smaller, but just avoid the bunker short left and you will be fine.
Hole 17 is the longest par 3 on the course, and can be tough if the pin is tucked in the back left. If it is, it isn’t as tucked as it looks, so just keep it on the edge of the bunker. Short or right are your best miss options as there is a small hill on the backside of the green that will make for a tougher up and down.
Hole 18 is a par 4 that again bends slightly left. Keep your tee shot just right of the fairway bunker on the left. With your approach, just make sure you carry the bunker. You don’t want to be too long here.
Overall we really enjoyed The Canyon Club at Four Hills. We would play it again if we had the chance just based on the conditions. It plays easier than most, but is tougher than it looks on paper.
Also check out our review of the nearby Paa-Ko Ridge Golf Club, ranked the 46th best public golf course in the US by Golf Digest. Other reviews in New Mexico include Picacho Hills Country Club, Sierra Del Sol, Sonoma Ranch, Red Hawk, Inn of the Mountain Gods, Rainmakers Resort and Club, and Desert Lakes.