UNM North Course Weekday Rates:
Adult 9-holes: $17; Adult 18-holes: $25; Senior 9-holes: $14; Senior 18 holes: $22; UNM student 9-hole: $13; UNM Student 18-hole: $21. Golf Cart Rental: 9-holes: $8; 18-holes: $16.
Tee times available seven days a week.
By Richard Stevens – Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
It’s one of the older gems on the University of New Mexico campus, cherished and protected by many, and surely deserving of the $1.5 million facelift that it takes into the heart and the heat of the summer.
It’s the University of New Mexico’s North Golf Course that can trace its roots and its sand traps back to 1944. It has a storied history. In 1950 was attacked by some of the finest collegiate golfers in America including a young swinger from Wake Forest named Arnold Palmer. JoAnn Carner, Johnny Miller, Kermit Zarley and Babe Didrickson Zaharias are other icons of the game, who have tested their skills on the North Course.
“The course conditions have never been better over there,” said Adam Roybal, the director of golf for the North Course and also UNM’s Championship Course. “There is a lot of fresh and renewed energy toward the North course.”
Part of the reason for the improved conditions comes from the $1.5 million rehabilitation effort funded by Bernalillo County. The improvements included work on an outdated sprinkler system which obviously helped with getting the right amount of water to the right places.
The place is all greened up, the putting surfaces are prime and Roybal said the water usage in May of 2014 was down 1.694 million gallons from May of 2013.
“May was the first month we have the figures from tracking water usage,” said Roybal, who said the course could save around 20 million gallons during a 12-month period. “We have to track the usage for a year, but the first figures look good.”
The tree-lined course added a few trees here and there and also made some cosmetic improvements in the clubhouse. The remainder of the spring facelift was dedicated to upgrading the running trail that traces the outside of the 79-acre course.
The North Course has been the center of public interest for several years and the North Campus Neighborhood Association has long been active in preserving both the course and the running path that outlines the course.
The 9-hole North Course was originally 18 holes and it was the first golf course in America to break the 7,000-yard barrier when it measured 7,300 yards. The 9-hole yardage is 3,333 yards and when combined with the Championship Course, it provides one of the top 9-hole courses in the state and one of the top 18-hole courses.
The quality of UNM’s Championship Course does not need to be trumpeted. It is considered one of the top public courses in the nation. The North Course has been called one of the best golfing secrets in Albuquerque. It is a course that is challenging, typically uncrowded and reasonably priced.
“It’s a 9-hole golf test unique to New Mexico,” said Roybal. “It has the tree-lined fairways and the small and undulating greens. I would rate it as the best 9-hole golf course in New Mexico. It is family-friendly and cost-friendly.”
Bernalillo County used open-space money to fund the transformation. The course was closed for more than two months while the renovated was completed. The walking and jogging trail was not closed. Roybal said the layout of the course was not altered.
“This golf course and the trail around it are an integral piece of our city’s history that has long been embraced by the community and the university,” said UNM President Robert G. Frank. “These improvements allow us to bring together the best of old and new. Now we can all continue to enjoy it for years to come.”
The work on the trail system included aesthetic and safety upgrades including fencing to protect joggers from errant golf shots. The project was made possible by a 2012 agreement between Bernalillo County and UNM to protect the course as Open Space for 15 years. UNM maintains ownership of the property.