PHOTO: The gates at Ladera Golf Course will finally reopen on Saturday (May 2), but it will be a different world. Golfers need to line up on the “X’s” and social distance when entering. (Mark Smith).
By Mark Smith
Editor in Chief
If grabbing a cold one before, during or after the round is part of your routine on a golf course, it’s time for a new routine.
At least for now.
Until further notice, alcohol will not be sold on state golf courses — not in beverage carts or the snack bar — per the New Mexico Alcohol Beverage Control Division.
“Beverage carts are permitted, but it will be a decision for each course concessionaire as to whether they still plan to offer that service without liquor sales,” Albuquerque public information officer Philip Clelland told Enchantment Sports on Friday.
“As of now, no alcohol will be sold anywhere on the premises.”
Bill Harvey, director of golf at Ladera, said there would be a beverage cart at his course that will also have food, and he’ll have to change the plans he had to sell alcohol.
“This is will also be course-dependent,” Clelland said. “At Arroyo del Oso for example, they have a walk-up ordering option, so no one will be allowed in the building.
“At Los Altos and Ladera, we are encouraging folks to call in their order and then one person at a time will be allowed to go in to pick up their order. At Puerto del Sol, it’s mostly a snack shop with beverages, but they will also be serving one person at a time.”
The Albuquerque courses will reopen on Saturday (May 2) after Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s late-afternoon news conference on Thursday allowing state courses to do so.
Many are still making plans to reopen, but Paradise Hills Golf Course did so on Friday.
Please read Enchantment Sports’ detailed story from Friday about policy changes due to the COVID-19 coronavirus.
BE PREPARED FOR A NEW WORLD
Ladera director of golf Bill Harvey posts new procedures and gets some help from Alan Turney in moving the cash register in front of the doors. Players will check-in at the door and are not allowed in pro shop. However, they may purchase items from the pro shop (Mark Smith).
Enchantment Sports checked out Ladera on Friday, and the course is in the best shape in history.
Now golfers really need to be conscientious in order to keep it that way, because sand bottles to fill in divots are not allowed on the golf carts — a silly policy we all hope will change.
Because carts are allowed and are disinfected after each use, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense that the sand bottles couldn’t be sprayed with disinfectant as well.
But until the bottles are reinstated, players need to be even more aware about replacing their divots.
On Friday, tee times at all courses were filling up quickly for the weekend. Remember that you MUST have a tee time to play any round until further notice on any day of the week.
Flag sticks can’t be removed and the cups on the greens will be blocked in different ways at different courses on Saturday. But at Ladera, Harvey and assistant David Lovato are making devices that will soon allow the ball to fall in the cup, then be retrieved with the putter.
They hope to have the devices on all flags early next week.
Please remember to be patient while we all learn as we go. Enchantment Sports will try to keep golfers updated on changes and course openings, and readers should feel free to email us with questions, issues, suggestions or anything else and we will try to get answers.
Something tells me the no-alcohol policy might come up a time or 10,000 this weekend.
But hey, golf is back!
So tee it high and, well, take a mulligan or two. It might not be flying to high for a while.
It’s been a long layoff.
Click here to listen to Part 1 of Bill Harvey interview on ESPN The TEAM about reopening.
Mark Smith has worked in New Mexico sports media for more than four decades, and is one of the most decorated sports journalists in state history. Smith has won more than 30 combined awards in print, television and radio and has been honored nationally for investigative reporting. He is the editor in chief of Enchantment Sports. Contact him at mark.enchantmentsportsNM@gmail.com.