ALBUQUERQUE – The newest Zagat Survey ranks Paa-Ko Ridge Golf Club as the best golf course in the American Southwest.

   Paa-Ko is one of just 25 courses in the United States, U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico to receive an overall score of “top-rated” in the new survey, “Zagat America’s Top Golf Courses 2007/2008.”

   Paa-Ko was the only course in the Southwest to receive a “top-rated” score by the Zagat raters, who visited 1,075 courses over 12 months, scoring them on variables that included course quality, facilities, services and value.

   All courses in the guide are rated on a scale of 0 to 30. Paa-Ko’s score of 28 placed it in the category (26-30) defined by Zagat as “extraordinary to perfection.” With peak-period greens fees of just $99, Paa-Ko also received a score of “top-rated in value.”

   “Even with all of our national awards and rankings, Paa-Ko Ridge has remained one of golf’s well kept secrets,” said Warren Lehr, director of golf at Paa-Ko, which opened its 2007 season on March 1 in perhaps its best condition in years.

   “Zagat is so well recognized worldwide that we hope their recognition helps strengthen our place on the map,” Lehr said. Zagat, best known for its restaurant ratings, published its first golf guide in 2006. In late April, USA Today reviewed the 2007/2008 survey and declared it more reliable than other golf guides.

   “It is not perfect, but seems to run more accurately in terms of course quality,” USA Today wrote. The survey results were compiled during 560,000 rounds of golf played by Zagat’s 6,250 golf raters, all avid golfers

   The Zagat honor is the latest acclaim for the Paa-Ko Ridge, an 18-hole, 7,562-yard design by Houston golf architect Ken Dye in Sandia Park, N.M., that opened in May 2000. A third nine holes opened in 2005, also designed by Dye. All 27 holes feature spectacular high-desert and mountain views, strong golf-shot values and a serenity not often found anymore.

   Golf Digest declared Paa-Ko the best new golf course built in the United States in 2000; GOLF magazine ranked Paa-Ko in 2000 among the “Top 10 Best New Courses You Can Play.”

    In May 2006, Paa-Ko’s star in the golf world shone brighter still, when it became one of 17 golf courses rated at the maximum of five stars by the Golf Digest/Fodor’s “Best Places to Play” Guide. Others on that elite list include icons such as Pebble Beach Golf Links, Bethpage State Park Golf Course (Black), Spyglass Hill and Pinehurst No. 2.

   As new courses have been built, Paa-Ko has held its own. Last month, Golf Digest ranked Paa-Ko No. 38 on its list of “America’s 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses.” GOLF magazine placed Paa-Ko No. 30 on its list of “Top 100 You Can Play.”

   “The ‘extraordinary’ rating from Zagat is especially gratifying because, like the Golf Digest 5-star rating, the praise comes from our customers, the golfers themselves.”

   Built by Roger Cox & Associates of Albuquerque, Paa-Ko Ridge Golf Club is the centerpiece of Paa-Ko Communities, an upscale custom-home development nestled into the pinon- and juniper-covered slopes east of the Sandia Mountains.

   Paa-Ko Communities is 20 minutes east of Albuquerque’s financial and business center and 40 minutes from the Santa Fe Plaza. Information on homes and homesites is available at

   Paa-Ko Ridge Golf Club recently announced “Appreciation Day” golf specials in May for military, police, firefighters and educators. Information about the golf club is available at

    The Zagat Survey is the world’s leading provider of consumer survey-based leisure content. With more than 250,000 surveyors, Zagat Survey rates and reviews restaurants, hotels, nightlife, movies, music, golf, shopping and other entertainment. The 2007/08 “Zagat America’s Top Golf Courses” guide is sold at bookstores for $15.95.