By DAVID RULE
I am not a resident of Los Alamos, but travel up often to play golf at your excellent municipal golf course.
Recently, talking to a local, I learned that the County is proposing plans to radically change the course layout in order to extend the existing driving range. These changes would be quite expensive, require the relocation of at least two holes into a native area – at considerable loss of existing trees – and close the front nine for several months, if not a whole season.
I can tell you – with certainty – that extending the driving range is not a priority for golfers. I’ve played at a number of municipal courses across Texas and New Mexico – many dating back to the 1920s. Since then, improvements in equipment, balls and golfers means that sometimes balls can be hit beyond the end of the original driving ranges. This is typically handled by building high netting around the boundaries. Other options include either limiting golfers to using irons only – not woods – or using restricted flight golf balls to warm up – in conjunction with netting.
All of these options are viable, proven and cost effective.
The investments put into the Los Alamos muni over the last few years – clubhouse and irrigation have been great. But, in my opinion, and in the opinion of most golfers, the public funds being proposed to reconfigure the course for the benefit of enlarging the driving range would be better spent on improved drainage, cart paths and bunkers – at a lot less cost, environmental impact and disruption (lost revenue).
On behalf of the local golfing community, I’d like to request that the Council reconsider their proposal to expand the driving range at Los Alamos.