Sun Country Amateur, PGA Section Combine Staffs 0 6

(ALBUQUERQUE) Jan. 4, 2011 – The leading entities in golf in New Mexico and West Texas have come together to grow the game by creating the Sun Country Golf House in suburban Rio Rancho.

The headquarters will housee the Sun Country PGA and the Sun Country Amateur Golf Association, whic will have combined staffs and resources under to share in the responsibility of bettering, building and improving golf.

“Both groups have the same mission of promoting, growing and providing a platform of enjoyment in regards to the game of golf”, said Matt Williams, newly appointed Executive Director of the Golf House.  They have just always done it through different avenues.  It made sense in the long term to combine resources and cast a wider net of influence while trying to achieve those goals together.  We’re really excited about some of the things we’ve already sketched out as the groups move forward together for the first time.”

With the retirement of longtime Sun Country PGA Executive Director John Speary at the end of last year, the Board of Directors for the Sun Country PGA and the SCAGA have turned to Williams to head up the implementation of the Golf House vision.  Having previously been the Executive Director for the SCAGA, Williams will now also be tasked with taking over the reins of the Sun Country PGA and the other golf entities at the Golf House and tying them into one unified goal and action plan to be implemented.

Setting up shop in Rio Rancho, N.M., the Golf House not only consists of the Sun Country PGA and the SCAGA, but also welcomes the Rio Grande Golf Course Superintendent’s Association, the New Mexico Golf Tourism Alliance and the Sun Country Junior Golf Tour.  The collaboration of these golf entities makes the Golf House the epicenter for the golf world within the Sun Country borders and a one-stop-shop for all things golf.

“All of our associations have existed side-by-side for so many years, but we were unfortunately stepping over the top of each other and needlessly doubling efforts to accomplish similar goals”, said Sun Country PGA Vice President and Twin Warriors Head Professional, Derek Gutierrez.  This streamlining of efforts and resources, along with the direction of Matt Williams, will allow us to achieve those things more efficiently while increasing the scope of things we want to accomplish to help grow the game of golf.” More.

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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