As part of the Isleta Resort and Casino complex just south of Albuquerque on Interstate 25, Isleta Eagle Golf Course is a gem of a 27-hole layout. We were invited to play the course. One thing Myra and I know from past experiences is that the native casinos in the US always have beautiful, professionally managed golf courses and this is no exception.
With the memory of 2 casino owned courses in California, Yocha Dehe north of San Francisco and Eagle Falls in the Coachella Valley, still fresh in our minds we were very pumped to come and play 18 of the 27 holes at Isleta.
Upon arrival I introduced myself at the Pro Shop counter to Victoria, who with grace and aplomb, gave me the complete run down and had me on my way to play within about 90 seconds. Her pleasant smile and welcoming manner combined with her efficient technique in getting Myra and I underway was the perfect start.
In that short amount of time, Vixtoria pointed out where the range and practice greens were, what 2 nines we were playing, where to pick up our power cart with GPS, and that she also acted as Starter. She would announce when we were to get ready to tee off. I almost wondered if she had an extra minute if she could give me some putting tips on the pro shop carpet. I said to Myra “Wow, this place is really well organized.”
Located just below the beautiful 10 year old adobe style clubhouse, the driving range was buzzing with 15 -20 golfers warming up. Range balls in small golf bags were spread out evenly and everyone seemed to be smiling. I had a chance to chat with James, a very friendly local resident, about the golf courses in this part of the amazing state of New Mexico. As we were in the group behind him, I also witnessed him hit some great shots during his round. The 2 practice putting greens were positioned on opposite sides of the pathway leading down to the driving range and while I took some photos of the clubhouse Myra test drove them. She used a term we share to describe a facet of the golf courses we review. We say “PGA” meaning that they are of the level that you might see on TV when watching any of the PGA Tour events.
We were poised and waiting to tee off when OJ, Victoria’s colleague from the Pro Shop, came outside and instead of using the PA system personally called down to us saying “Mr. Flower, if you’re ready you can tee off now ” Again, I said to Myra the service here is amazing and off we went 5 minutes early.
We started off playing the Mesa nine, the first hole was a great downhill Par 4 hole with an array of side hill mounding and angled slopes and then to the amazing greens. My first putt was a 35 foot right to left downhiller with about 7 feet of break, the type of putts I love by the way. It rolled smoothly and as many know these putts are about committing to the line and believing in the speed. A one inch tap in ensued. I was a fan; these greens were excellent.
We looked back to see a single was right behind us and as we were a twosome and catching up to the three in front of us, we invited Cregg to join us on the Par 3 4th hole. This former native of Missouri and long-time resident of Minnesota now retired from 35 years as a policeman, was a very welcome addition to our group.
He didn’t care about what he scored, had a sloth driver head cover and possessed a mean mustache. The three of us had many laughs and played a 4-hour round. The course is fantastic and we played the Mesa, Lakes combination and loved it. There was basically no wind on this warm 68-degree day and if I could have eliminated 2 – 3 putts and one duffed chip would have broken 80. Myra loving the rarified air of New Mexico was hitting drives right down the middle consistently all round. Our new friend, Cregg, finished as many of us like to with a great par, just lipping out his birdie attempt. I joined with par and Myra almost holed out her chip to make a great bogey herself.
Typically, I am not a great Par 3 player, but the stars aligned and my card showed that I had 4 – 3’s on this day. Not wanting this great experience to end so soon, we went in to thank the team in the Pro Shop and also share an iced tea with Cregg in the bar grill.
We also enjoyed meeting Kevin Richards, a PGA member, who had a very strong Canadian connection as his mother was born in Saskatchewan, a province both Myra and I have lived in.
With the sun setting upon the beautiful terrain and shadows dancing across the fairways, we said our good byes to our new golfing friend, Cregg Brackman a proud member of Isleta Eagle GC and made our way back to the calming charm that is Albuquerque.