NOTE: Aug. 4, Mark Smith joins Coach B. on Champions Corner Facebook at 7 p.m.
By Mark Smith
Editor in Chief
The world of sports — like the world, period — is changing on the fly because of COVID-19.
The Greater Albuquerque Men’s City Amateur Golf Championship is no exception.
But like the PGA, NBA, Major League Baseball and the NHL, the longtime local golf tournament is pressing on.
Albeit without social justice insignias painted on the greens.
This week, entry forms became available for the 79th-annual tournament, which is Aug. 21-23.
The opening round of the 54-hole event is at Ladera Golf Course, with the second round at Arroyo del Oso and the final round at Los Altos.
Entry fee is $180 — just $130 for those with annual 7-day city golf passes — which includes greens fees, range balls and lunch each day.
As always, there will be a number of flights, including president’s, net and senior. Fields will be cut to the top 50 percent and ties after the second round in each flight.
The first 120 applications received will be guaranteed an entry into the tournament
In June, tournament officials announced they would postpone event from the traditional Fourth of July weekend, with hopes that requirements concerning the pandemic would be relaxed when it came to playing golf.
But while the restrictions have even gone backward in New Mexico, the event is still moving forward.
“It’s too important a tournament that means a lot to a lot of golfers,” said Colby Reddoch, director of golf at Los Altos. “We definitely had hoped that at some point things would get better as far as the mandates, and thought pushing it back would give us more time.
“Nothing has really changed, so we have to play with the restrictions as they are. I’ve heard from a lot of players, and they definitely want to still have the tournament.”
The restrictions include:
- Golfers must take individual carts, unless they live in the same household as their playing partner.
- The tee times will be approximately 14 minutes apart, which will reduce contact and the number of players allowed in the field.
- There will be a scoreboard, but congregating will not be allowed around it or in the snack bars or anywhere on the course before, during or after the rounds.
- Lunch will be provided, but will be take-out and there will not be a post-tournament awards ceremony/luncheon,
(Other restrictions for playing golf in New Mexico, per Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, can be found on this link.)
“Everything will just be more spread out, ” said Reddoch, who had been the longtime tournament director and will still help oversee the event, but Los Altos teaching pro David Muttitt is now the tournament director.
“We’re happy to be able to have it, but it won’t be like years before.”
For more information, please call Reddoch at (505) 298-1897.
MUTTITT AT PGA: While Muttitt will have his hands full running the City Championships in a few weeks, he has something else in his hands this week: his own golf clubs.
Muttitt is slated to tee off at 11:12 a.m. (MDT) on Thursday at the TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.
LADERA ENHANCES PATIO: While indoor snack bars and restaurants remain shutdown per the governor, outdoor establishments are allowed and Ladera Golf Course has enhanced its even further.
An awning has been built over the patio, which overlooks the scenic golf course.
“It’s really exciting, and it’s beautiful,” said Bill Harvey, director of golf at Ladera. “We are still adding a few other things to it, but people – golfers and nongolfers – are really going to enjoy having something to eat and drink here.”
Capacity is 416 on the patio.
The following procedures need to be followed:
- Tables and chairs must remain 6 feet apart.
- There is no congregating is allowed around a table.
- There is also no standing to drink beverages.
In addition to the menu, there are happy hour-specials on food and drinks from Wednesday-Sunday, and from 4-6:30 p.m.
The course also is continuing its weekly Thirsty Thursday promotion, with food and drink specials in a festive atmosphere from 6-9:30 p.m., each Thursday.
COCHITI OPENING: Cochiti Golf Club, long one of the state’s very best courses, is scheduled to reopen on Friday (Aug. 7).
Kenny Blake, general manager and CEO of the Cochiti Community Development Corporation, said that only morning tee times are available every day.
“The last tee time will probably be around noon each day, and we will close at 5 p.m.,” Blake said. “We will adjust based on demand. We just have limited staff and don’t want to be there until dark, as we have to sanitize and prep for the next day.”
Blake said there has been a slight increase in greens fees and an additional $5 will be charged to those requiring their own golf cart.
The new course rules will follow the same as others required in the Sun Country Golf Association.
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.