Helped Found the Sun Country Section PGA
Guy Wimberly, a major force in New Mexico golf, has died. He was 81.
Guy, along with fellow pro Bob Meiering, ran New Mexico Golf Ltd., a company that operated the City of Albuquerque’s Arroyo del Oso and Puerto del Sol golf courses and the Marty Sanchez Links de Santa Fe.
Guy Wimberly wrote a regular column for me when Ken Adams and I ran Sun Country Golf magazine in the early 2000s. To honor his memory, I’ll be re-running some of his columns over the next few days – Dan Vukelich
He helped organize the Sun Country Section PGA in 1974, splitting New Mexico’s golf pros off from the Phoenix-centric Southwest Section PGA. The Sun Country Section represents PGA professionals in New Mexico and El Paso County, Texas.
Guy was given the Sun Country Section’s Lifetime achievement award in 2001 and he was inducted into the PGA of America’s Hall of Fame in 2011.
In announcing his hall of fame induction, the PGA of America wrote: One of the founding fathers of the Sun Country PGA Section, Guy Wimberly, 72, is aptly nicknamed ‘Mr. New Mexico Golf’ for having grown the game selflessly for more than four decades in the state.”
Along with Meiering, Guy elevated Arroyo into a popular municipal golf destination that earned recognition from Golf Digest as one of the “Top 50 Municipal Facilities to Play.”
During their tenure at Arroyo de Oso, the two men saw expansion of the city-owned 18-hole facility to 27 holes. By the early 1990s, Arroyo led the southwest in rounds played, with as many as 140,000 rounds annually.
In 2006, after retiring to Elephant Butte, he took on the job of overseeing construction of the Sierra del Rio Golf Course. In July 2007, he celebrated the course’s grand opening with competition featuring Nancy Lopez, Kathy Whitworth, Rosie Jones and Natalie Gulbis. He ran the course from until the Great recession hit in 2008.
Guy grew up in Albuquerque. He led Highland High School to a state golf title and was an all-American while playing for Dick McGuire, coach of the University of New Mexico Lobo men’s golf team. In the early 1960s, Guy and his teammates repeatedly won Western Athletic Conference championships. His teammates included Sam Zimmerly, Joe McDermott, Jack Mattison, Tom Hornbuckle, and Marvin Dick.
After college, Guy’s golf career started at the San Mateo Golf Center near Montgomery Boulevard. It was there that he met Karsten Solheim, who was traveling to golf courses across the Southwest trying to sell his new Ping putter.
Liking the feel of Solheim’s center-shafted putter, he bought several and immediately replaced the unattractive orange and green putter grips with a more traditional grip. To his chagrin, he learned years later that a Ping putter with the original grip had sold at auction for $14,000.
While a golf instructor in the early 1980s, he gave lessons to Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, who eventually left Albuquerque for Redmond, Wash., in search of investment capital.
Guy’s brother, Herb Wimberly, was the long-time men’s head golf coach at New Mexico State University. Along with Guy, Herb set up and later ran NMSU’s Professional Golf Management program, the third of its kind in the nation. Guy served in the U.S. Air Force before enrolling at UNM. He is survived by his wife Alice and sons Brian and Guy Riché.
In the featured image at the top of this article: Guy Wimberly (left) and Todd Lepisto in 2006 during construction of Sierra del Rio Golf Course.
Dan Vukelich, editor of New Mexico Golf News, is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America and the Golf Travel Writers of America. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org