Located along Interstate 25, some 75 miles south of Albuquerque, New Mexico, is the city of Socorro, NM. Home to the highly regarded New Mexico Tech University and also the lesser known, but locally respected New Mexico Tech Golf Course. On our way from Las Cruces to Albuquerque, we stopped into play the course and review this great layout after a very welcome email invite from Director of Golf Sabino Grijalva. In advance of our arrival, I spoke to John in the pro shop to confirm a few things and he said they looked forward to our arrival. However, he warned me that the Bermuda had turned dormant so there wasn’t much green grass on the fairways.
We made the short 2-hour drive from Las Cruces to New Mex Tech GC under the brightest blue sunny skies you could imagine, arriving at the course about 11 am. Upon entering the modestly stocked and well organized pro shop we were greeted by Sabino Grijalva. We were then introduced to his colleague John who was pulling double duty by assisting in taking orders in The “M” Mountain Grill.
Sabino almost apologetically told us that the course was not showing much green, to which I replied, “The golf ball doesn’t know what color the fairways are”. What you see in the photos from our day is what we saw. A golf course going through the change of seasons, leaves falling, colors changing and putting greens that were still very vibrant, lush and green. As we would find out they ran very smoothly and being sand based held the ball very well.
These two fellows couldn’t have been more welcoming and friendlier. After getting a bucket of balls, the clock on the wall and the growl in our tummies meant we needed to eat before teeing off at 12 o’clock, high noon. One of the ladies group golfers was at the counter next to us and made some valuable lunch suggestions . She advised they welcomed visitors and for us to come back again. We ordered lunch with the thought we would eat out on the course somewhere, but upon opening the Styrofoam containers we couldn’t wait and sat on a bench right there at the range and devoured our food. I went in to wash my hands and said to Sabino “ If the course is half as good as the food then it’s going to be a great round”. He smiled.
Both the first and tenth tee boxes are situated right next to the small practice green outside the pro shop. The first hole is a long and great Par 5 and on a day that had no measurable wind, not even a puff, and the purest bright blue skies, we began another match play game. Other holes of particular note are the downhill Par 3 4th, the long dogleg Par 5 5th, the very interesting Par 4 10th with what I called “water bunkers” surrounding three quarters of the green and the Par 4 13th with its steep climb up to an elevated green. It was easy to overlook the falling leaves and brown Bermuda when playing a golf course with so many great holes. There are many long subtle doglegs, elevated greens and tricky water hazards set among a variety of elm, oak, poplar and pine trees.
At 4,000 feet elevation we are in the high desert so among the cactus and sage brush that exists on the periphery of the fairways we even got to see our favorite little creatures, the roadrunner, beep beep. New Mex Tech GC first opened in the mid 50’s and then expanded in the mid 60’s. It possesses the quintessential “old school” design that is consistent with some of the greatest layouts anywhere. Smaller greens, holes that run parallel to each other and a limited number of bunkers. The holes don’t meander through residential developments, exist on ridiculously rugged and overly undulated terrain or look like there are squeezed into a limited parcel of land.
It’s very easy to see why this course, that has up to 150 members, is so popular. In spite of playing it perhaps a month later than when it’s at its best, we had one of the nicest golfing days. Myra improving every round was a solid 50/50 for 100 including a birdie 2 on the Par 3 17th. My 2 birdies were my own highlights including a birdie 2 myself on the 193-yard Par 3. None the less I have now lost four out of five matches to Myra who has admitted that this type of friendly competition makes her focus more with the result being some very timely, skilled play.
With golf often costing upward of $100 – $200, it’s a breath of fresh air to play a course for about $45 which includes a power cart. Make a trip to the beautiful friendly state of New Mexico and add 18 holes plus lunch at New Mex Tech GC in Socorro, NM. The welcoming and friendly folks will make sure this is a bright spot in your day.