(ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.) Aug. 19, 2011 — David Salas, the superintendent who turned around Ladera Golf Course, is the new top guy for all of Albuquerque's municipal golf courses. Salas will oversee installation of Ladera Golf Course irrigation improvements that will start in early November.
Salas' promotion was announced by Sandy Zuschlag, No. 2 official at the Albuquerque Parks and Recreation Department, at the Aug. 18 meeting of the Albuquerque Golf Advisory Board.
“He's not moving downtown, he's staying in the field, at Ladera,” Zuschlag said. She reported that Molly Gallegos, who had been reassigned to Puerto del Sol, retired last month.
For years before her recent reassignment, Gallegos was the superintendent in charge of Ladera as it reached the nadir of its conditioning.
Since Salas took over Ladera in May, the course has experienced a profound turnaround. Fairways are generally covered with healthy turf, green conditions have improved, downed limbs and debris around the course have been removed and mud bogs and bare spots in fairways have been reduced.
“People tell me you can see people actually working out there, actually doing work out on the course, since David took over, ” said Jeff Breitner, Ladera's representative on the advisory board.
Salas said he plans to explore improving the quality of the irrigation water at the golf course after tests showed water in various ponds has an akaline or “saltiness” that is harmful to the turf.
Details of the Ladera irrigation project:
* Work starts Nov. 1 on a contract yet to be awarded and estimated to cost $1.5 million, using 2009 city General Obligation bond money approved by voters.
* Work will start on holes 10-18, leaving the front nine untouched for about 100 days, when work will shift to holes 1-9 and take about 90 days.
* The work schedule will permit one nine of the 18-hole course to remain open.
* Pre-construction architectural and engineering services cost $123,000. The irrigation work will not affect the existing irrigation ponds and water hazards. There had been some discussion about removing the water hazard that lies between No. 17 fairway and No. 18 tee.
* The new irrigation system will allow sprinkler heads to be activated individually to prevent overwatering that has led to mud holes and pot holes across the golf course.
* A new $15,000 pump is part of the irrigation project.
Assuming a Nov. 1 start, installation of the new system should be complete by early to mid-June 2012. An additional period would be needed for reseeding, Zuschlag said.
In other news:
Rio Rancho's Tim Madigan headed out to the U.S. Amateur this week. The event is being held this weekend at Erin Hills in Erin, Wis.
The city's assistant Golf Division manager, Tim Martinez, said he is willing to revisit under what conditions the Albuquerque City Men's Golf Championship could return to the municipal courses. In July, the three-day event was moved to Desert Greens and Isleta golf clubs because organizers and the city couldn't reach a deal on discounted greens fees.
Municipal golf rounds played in Albuquerque in fiscal year 2011 (June 30, 2010 to July 1, 2011) declined 1.1 percent to 252,466 rounds compared to the previous year. Revenues dropped 1.68 percent to $3.58 million.
Wally Iverson, chairman of the Golf Advisory Board, organized a subcommittee to explore how golf might lobby for a piece of the next GO Bond package to pursue irrigation improvements and water savings at Albuquerque's other municipal courses.
— Dan Vukelich