Ladera Irrigation Work to Begin 0 5

(ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.) Oct. 25, 2011 — The City of Albuquerque has awarded to Mountain West Golfscapes of Albuquerque the $1.7 million job to install a new irrigation system at Ladera Golf Course on the city’s West Side.

The project begins in early November and will take about 190 days, with closure of first the back nine and then the front nine of the Dick Phelps design, which opened in 1980.

City officials said the contract involves reseeding or returfing areas taken out of play for conservation purposes several years ago when it was clear Ladera’s 31-year-old irrigation system could not achieve coverage.

Councilors Debbie O’Malley and Ken Sanchez put $2 million for the irrigation project into the General Obligation bond package approved by Albuquerque voters in October 2009.

The project will save millions of gallons of water by eliminating leaks and boosting Ladera’s irrigation efficiency from around 50 percent to between 70 and 75 percent, said David Salas, head of the city’s Golf Division.

The project will involve installation of 1,650 modern water-savings irrigation heads and about 100,000 feet of 16- and 4-inch PVC pipe, said John Mondragon president of Mountain West Golfscapes, whose company has xeriscaped city street medians and the “Big I” intersection of interstates 25 and 40.

Mountain West Golfscapes maintains the University of New Mexico Championship Golf Course.


UNM Update: A “golf summit” for people interested in discussing how to keep the money-losing UNM Championship Golf Course open will be held at 1:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28, at the golf course.

Veteran’s Day: Pueblo de Cochiti Golf Course will allow veterans and current members of the military to play the golf course for $19.99 plus tax on Nov. 11, Veteran’s Day, said Jude Suina, head professional.

— Dan Vukelich

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Sierra Del Rio to Shutter for Two Months 0 30

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