Sam Logan, hired six months ago as manager of the Los Alamos County Golf Course, brought both experience and dreams of improvement to his new job–but it was really the local school system that brought him here.
Logan, who spoke at Kiwanis recently, was working in Colombia when he was hired by Los Alamos County. His wife and son are still in Cartagena, where his 10-year-old son is finishing the school year. They will join Logan in Los Alamos soon. He realized, he said, that his son was getting old enough that an excellent school system was vital, and, he found, the Los Alamos schools have an outstanding reputation. As a result, he has plans to stay here at least until his son graduates from high school, about eight years from now.
Logan has a strong international background. (His wife, Gina, was originally from Acapulco, Mexico.) He served in the military, spending time in Honduras and South Korea. When he got out of the military, he thought about going to law school, but it just didn’t seem right. It was in 1988 that he “hit his first golf ball,” he said, and within a year he had turned pro.
His “first good golf assignment was in Puerto Rico,” where, he said, he learned a lot about business from “a great boss.” Since that time, he has “specialized in opening golf courses,” starting new courses in 12 countries on five continents. He has worked for the PGA (Professional Golfers’ Association) Tour, Four Seasons Resorts, and a number of private courses, but the Los Alamos course is the first public-owned course in his experience.
Asked to assess the local course, he said it is “regulation size, but on the short side.” He also commented that it is “extremely active,” adding that the amount of league golfing is notable.
Of course, he said, “We want to make a few changes.” For example:
- He would like to see more PGA Junior Tour involvement for the young golfers here. He noted a new junior program in which young members pay $20 and can then pay just $5 to play at any of 40 member courses.
- He would like to get a junior league started here “to provide for our future.” He noted that, “The number of golfers is declining in the U.S.” right now.
- He would like to attract more female golfers to the Los Alamos course (while keeping all the women AND all the men now involved here).
- And he commented that, “Although this is a very techie community, it is behind in technology.” He would like to establish an “on-line tee-time system.”
- He wants to “keep improving merchandising.”
- And he wants to improve local events (of which there were 52 last year) with an eye to bringing in people from outside the county (as well as local golfers). “Events (here) are already run well,” he said, but “we can move from good to great.”
- Finally, he would like to improve playing conditions by improving irrigation.
He noted that the current irrigation system, which uses partially treated waste water (known as “gray water”) was installed in 1986 and now “needs to be repaired all the time.” The course is a $15 million investment, he said, which now books more than 20,000 rounds of golf during each of its eight-month seasons, and is used by about 100,000 people (in a county of 18,000 people). It is a tourist attraction, he said, which helps the local economy, and it holds many events that raise money for good causes. It’s important, he said, to keep it in good condition. This year, he said, because of problems with the irrigation, he felt for a while that the course “was in danger of losing all 18 greens.” It costs $100,000 to put in a new green, he said, and, in essence, no grass, no golfers.
As a result, he strongly supports passage of an upcoming Los Alamos County Recreation Bond Issue, which would include $4 to $4.5 million for the Golf Course.
During the question and answer session that followed his talk, he was asked about summer camps for children. He indicated that he would like to establish a good summer camp. He said that he plans soon to visit New Mexico State University to research ideas for such a camp. He would also like to establish three internships at the course.
He was also asked whether the new club house and restaurant are succeeding and bringing in more rounds of golf. He said yes. In spite of difficult weather and problems with irrigation this year, he said, “We are looking at an improvement in rounds,” and, he noted, “The county gets 10% of the gross receipts.”