Ray of Hope for Keeping UNM Championship GC Open?

(ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.) March 25, 2011 — There were hopeful signs UNM may stay the course on the Championship Golf Course when the Board of Regents meet Monday.

Two sources with knowledge of what the regents and the administration have been saying about the course in recent days told New Mexico Golf News.com that they have been told now may not be the time to close or sell the course.

Why? The UNM Championship course sits on valuable land next to the Albuquerque International Sunport, near related air-freight facilities and, importantly, close to the Mesa del Sol development.

Selling now, before the economy recovers, would be basically giving the golf course’s land away at a rock-bottom price. Additionally, the university may be willing to listen to a growing chorus of voices urging the university to revamp how it runs its two courses — the 18-hole championship course and the 9-hole North Course.

George Trujeque, director of golf at UNM, had high hopes several years ago when ground was broken on the 5-mile-by-5-mile Mesa del Sol live-work community that UNM would reap increased corporate play and memberships as Mesa del Sol grew.

The poor economy of the last two years scaled back Mesa del Sol, but on March 18 the developer, Forest City Covington,  announced it was restarting work on its residential component, KOB TV reported.

Mesa del Sol got further good news on Thursday when a chip-making engineering support services company announced was moving its headquarters there.

In light of the nascent future of the huge Mesa del Sol development parcel just southeast of the golf course, UNM may have realized selling now is just simply a bad business decision.

For what it’s worth, here are our recommendation for the course:

Exempt UNM Championship from the suffocating strictures of UNM’s personnel and vending and workforce rules. Privatize the course and allow a quality golf-management company to run the course profitably, and get  a food-and-beverage vendor in there that will attract, rather than repel diners.

— Dan Vukelich

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