North of El Paso, Texas, near the New Mexico border, lies Painted Dunes Desert Golf Course. The course's 27 holes were given four stars in Golf Digest's Places to Play. With greens fees less than $40, it provides plenty bang for the golfer's buck.
The Ken Dye/Jeff Brauer design --- as its name would suggest --- features a slew of holes situated in the desert. Checking in at 6,900 from its farthest tees, Painted Dunes Desert Golf Course challenges even the longest hitters while also offering players plenty of shot making opportunities. Each hole seemed an oasis of green amongst the desert browns, and when the wind kicked up, there were many tough pars. Water is in play on five of the 27 holes, but the key is driving the ball into the fairways and keeping it out of the desert scrub.
Most holes are well-bunkered also leaving a short game challenge. Golfers are rewarded, though, at the greens where there is plenty of landing room on most holes.
The course was in good condition, though, some areas were a bit waterlogged from the sprinkler system when I played. A fast and firm course would be even more of a challenge. If you find yourself in the West Texas plains, treat yourself with a stop over at Painted Dunes. For less then a tank of gas, an enjoyable time can be had in a place where it actually rains mud once in a while!