By Mark Smith
Editor in Chief
On the same day that golf reopened in New Mexico, the state lost a golfing legend.
On Friday (May 1), PGA giant Guy Wimberly, 81, died following a long illness.
For decades, Wimberly was part of Albuquerque public golf’s most famous foursome; the “Moya Brothers (Billy and Eddie)” at Los Altos Golf Course and “Guy and Bob (Meiering)” at Arroyo del Oso.
There were few golfers in New Mexico who weren’t influenced or touched by any of them.
“Growing up, all I wanted to be was Guy Wimberly,” said Albuquerque native Mark Pelletier, director of golf at the El Paso Country Club and one of New Mexico’s most decorated golfers.
Tony Hidalgo, director of golf at Arroyo del Oso, said Wimberly “was a true ambassador for golf in Albuquerque. Many professionals came from his and Bob’s stable.
“He was a tribute to public golf.”
Sam Zimmerly, Wimberly’s teammate on some great University of New Mexico golf teams in the 1960s and best man in Sam and Francine’s wedding, provided Enchantment Sports the following information:
Wimberly was born Nov. 8, 1938 in Louisiana and grew up in Albuquerque, graduating from Highland High in 1956.
He served in the Air Force for four years and came to UNM in the spring of 1962. He was an All-American golfer for the Lobos in 1963 and 1964. He helped open the San Mateo driving range with Vic Kline in 1965 and was a sports writer/stringer at the Albuquerque Journal under Frank Maestas and Leroy Bearman while in college, and majored in Journalism.
In 1969, he joined Bob Meiering as head pros at Arroyo del Oso and the two were partners for 37 years.
Guy was inducted into the New Mexico Sports Hall of Fame, UNM Lettermen Hall of Fame, Albuquerque Sports Hall of Fame and National PGA Hall of Fame.
He was instrumental in anything involving golf in N.M. for more than 50 years.
Guy lived in Elephant Butte for past the past 16 years and battled health problems for the past few years. He is survived by wife Alice, sons, Guy Riche and Brian, four grand children, brothers, Herb and Don and their families.
“I never had a brother, but Guy was closer than any brother,” Zimmerly said on Saturday. “I never had a better friend. He’s godfather of my son, Wright, and was best man in our wedding.
“Guy was instrumental with everything that had anything to do with Albuquerque golf, and the list of PGA professionals who got their start under Guy and Bob is amazing. Pros like Don Hurter, Mark Pelletier, Mike Putnam, Tony Hidalgo and so many others.”
Because of the COVID-19 coronavirus, Zimmerly said there are not plans for a funeral, but he is working on a Guy Wimberly tribute, which will be published on Enchantment Sports.
CITY OPENING: Albuquerque’s four city courses reopened on Saturday and all were packed, as expected.
It was extremely hard work for the staffs at each course, but no major issues were reported — at least not to us.
Complaints is another matter.
There is “no-alcohol sales” issue, after all. We’ll see how that works out.
For now, Colby Reddoch, director of golf at Los Altos, said “It was pretty smooth for the most part. There were a few people who just tried to show up and walk-on, but we had nowhere to put them because we were booked solid.
“We can’t try to squeeze them in because we have restrictions on tee time intervals.”
Reddoch emphasized that the main thing city golfers should know, is “to call ahead and get a tee time, and we are taking them seven days in advance.
“Normally, we are first-come, first-serve on weekdays, but it’s different right now. It’s a requirement that they call ahead for weekends and weekdays for now.”
There are many new policies on the courses, and golfers should read them here before heading out.
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.