USGA To Hold Meeting in Albuquerque 0 8

(ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.) Feb. 17, 2012 – Albuquerque will play host to the amateur golf world’s heaviest hitters as the 2012 USGA Regional Affairs Conference comes to town.

The day-long, closed-door meeting on Feb. 24 is a chance for the USGA’s  top people to discuss the U.S. Open, the U.S. Amateur, all of the other USGA national championships and growth-of-the-game initiatives.

USGA President Glen Nager and USGA Executive Director Mike Davis will be among the participants at the Marriott Uptown at Interstate 40 and Louisiana Boulevard N.E., the Sun Country Amateur Golf Association reports.

Elsewhere …

The New Mexico Tour of the Golf Channel Am Tour  begins in April and is looking for new members, says local player Don Rountree, the tour’s new director.  Last year, more than 6,500 players competed across the U.S.  The Golf Channel Am Tour is open to all amateur golfers of all ages, gender and abilities.  Cost of the 365-day tour membership is $199 for new members, $179 for renewing members. For more, visit

“Los Compadres Golf Classic,” a fundraiser benefiting the Ballut Abyad Shrine Temple, will be held June 16 at Tijeras Arroyo Golf Course at Kirtland Air Force Base. The event is a 9 a.m. shotgun. Format is a two-man scramble. A silent auction and meal will be held at the Ballut Abyad Shrine Temple on June 15. Cost is $90 per player. For more details or to get an entry form, call Maggie at 265-0800, ext. 100 or Jerry Scroggins at 620-6666.

Coming soon: Our exclusive interview with New Mexico Open winner Tim Madigan about the latest in his life since his dominant wire-to-wire win at Santa Ana Golf Club last summer, and details of his plan to make it onto the PGA Tour.

— Dan Vukelich

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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