Albuquerque Golf Courses Rebound

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – After years of struggling, four golf courses in the city are starting to see a big increase in the number of people playing the game. City officials say the increase is due to major upgrades to classes and the pandemic.

Four years ago, an independent study made a handful of recommendations to the city after it lost $1.5 million to maintain them. One of those recommendations was to close one of the four courses, but instead the city decided to make much-needed improvements, a move they say is now paying off.

“I think municipal golf courses are having a great resurgence,” said David Simon, director of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. “I think that’s partly because over the last few years City have worked really hard to improve care and improve the player experience,” Simon said.

This 2017 study also suggested purchasing a minimum of $500,000 in new maintenance equipment, each year, and instead of changing a flat rate at each course, they recommended changing prices based on the quality of each class.

Over the past four years, the city has purchased over $1 million worth of equipment for the four courses, improved irrigation and removed over 3,500 gophers from the Ladera Golf Course.

Last fiscal year, over 250,000 rounds of golf were sold, up nearly 62,000 since fiscal 2019. One golfer says it’s getting harder and harder to book a time.

“When my buddies and I go, one of us will be up at 5:30 a.m., 6 a.m. when the course clubhouse opens, and we’ll have someone try to call,” Jourdan McNeal said. .

The city says that for the first time in years, golf revenue exceeded the operating budget. Simon says they are on track this year to surpass the number of cartridges sold last year. Simon says closing one of the courses, although recommended was never an option, regardless of the revenue generated, the courses are important to residents’ quality of life.

Michael C. Ford