Golf Magazine’s Travelin’ Joe Touts N.M. Golf 0 8

(ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.) Nov. 14, 2011 — When a reader from Chicago asked GOLF magazine’s Travelin’ Joe Passov whether Alabama’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail or New Mexico should get the nod for their buddies golf trip, New Mexico appeared to win in a split decision.

It wasn’t an outright K.O., because Joe tagged his Nov. 11 “Ask Travelin’ Joe” video piece at with the conclusion that New Mexico and the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail are “both stellar.”

The RTJ Golf Trail has more depth after you’ve played your second, third or fourth course there, he cautioned, then countered, saying, Black Mesa Golf Club and Paa-Ko Ridge Golf Club are top choices.

“We’re splitting hairs here,” he said. But at the end of his video clip, the famed golf-travel writer may have signaled his personal preference, saying the variety of terrain New Mexico offers and its dryness may make it the choice for a bunch of guys from Chicago.

“Black Mesa and Paa-Ko Ridge are the best of the bunch,” Passov said. Their websites are Black Mesa Golf Club and Paa-Ko Ridge Golf Club.

— Dan Vukelich


John Daly hit seven balls in the water at the Australian Open and walked off the course.

Speaking at a Pro-Am in Melbourne on Monday, Daly said, ”of course I regret it. But at the time there wasn’t much I could do,” Fox Sports reported.

An Australasian tour panel was expected to discuss possible disciplinary action this week. Tournament director Trevor Herden described Daly’s actions as ”unprofessional,” saying officials would have fetched more golf balls if asked.

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Sierra Del Rio to Shutter for Two Months 0 31

Sierra del Rio Golf Course

Sierra Del Rio Golf Course, which restricted play in December to Thursday through Sunday only, will close for two months after the New Year.

The temporary closure of the 18-hole Elephant Butte golf course was announced in an email Sunday. The golf course’s food and beverage operation, also will close. Plans are to reopen on March 1, the course said.

“The course is in reasonably good condition but we want it to be in the best shape possible when we reopen,” a golf shop employee said Sunday. Maintenance crews will devote the downtime to earth and drainage work to repair damage to native areas off the playing surfaces caused by heavy rains in September, the employee said.

Sierra Del Rio, a Richard Phelps design, is the centerpiece of a retirement- and second-home community near the Rio Grande in Southern New Mexico. Its director of golf is Guy Wimberly, who retired to Elephant Butte after decades running Arroyo Del Oso Golf Course in Albuquerque. Wimberly had no comment on the closure on Sunday.

Sierra Del Rio reduced playing days earlier this month. Winter is typically playable in Southern New Mexico, where daily highs reach into the 50s and 60s.

Sierra Del Rio is part of the Turtleback Mountain Resort. It opened in 2007 on the footprint of the old Oasis Golf Resort and is the nearest golf course to Spaceport America, where Virgin Galactic plans to fly tourists to the edge of space.

The renovated course and new homes built near it provided a boost to the local economy, but homebuilding and rounds played suffered following the 2008 housing collapse.

Dan Vukelich is editor of Reach him at