The 18-hole layout covers 7,040 yards for men and 5,858 yards for women and is a par 72 course for men and 74 for women.
Included in the lengthy list of events that has kept the University Golf Course in the national spotlight are the 1968 NCAA Men’s Championship, 1988 NCAA Women’s Golf Championships, the 1990 NCAA Men’s West Regional Golf Tournament, the 1971 AIAW National Championship, two Missouri Valley Conference Championships, two High Country Athletic Conference Championships, two Big West Championships and many other amateur competitions.
This spring the course will host the NCAA West Region Championships, May 5-7, 2005.
Among the many upgrades to the course are new cart paths that were completed in March of 2002. These concrete paths have been installed around all of the tee boxes and greens, all of the par 4 holes along with #10. They have greatly improved the aesthetics of the golf course along with keeping the golf carts in better shape.
A new fleet of 65 golf carts arrived in March 2002 and the crown jewel of improvements, the new golf clubhouse, was opened in October of 2004. The new facility features a new, 15,000 square foot clubhouse with a 5,000 square foot cart barn.
Already one of the best and busiest golf courses in New Mexico, the new facility will again benefit a number of constituents.
"The current facility was built for 30 percent of the rounds we do today," says NMSU Director of Golf and former Aggie standout golfer Dan Koesters.
"It will help the golf program tremendously. It should really help with recruits while the coaches get new offices and a good meeting area they currently don’t have."
The extra space will also benefit the academic mission of the University.
"We have some area for the PGM (Professional Golf Management) program and will attract kids to the program. There are a lot of classes taught out here. Currently we are teaching them in the maintenance barn and now they will be in a new facility."
The ability to generate revenue with the new facility will also benefit the general golfing public.
"We are already one of the best golf values in New Mexico," says Koesters. "With this new facility this it should keep our rates where they are at. It will be something the golfing public will be proud of."
Highlighted by beautiful scenery, the 18-hole layout is framed by the majestic Organ Mountains to the east and the picturesque Mesilla Valley to the west.
Easily accessible to the New Mexico State main campus, the University Golf Course is situated one-half mile to the east of the campus, just off Interstate 25. Open seven days a week for public use, the course and driving ranges are also used by both Aggie golf teams as a practice and training facility. The climate of the Mesilla Valley allows the course to be playable year round with an average of two unplayable days per year.
The initial cost of the 18-hole course, including the watering system and clubhouse, was $300,000. No state funds were involved in the construction or operation of the course with the financing coming from a 30-year revenue bond paid by course memberships, greens fees and a special fee passed by the University Student Commission of a rate of $1 per student per semester.
University planning for the course began in 1958. Floyd Farley of Oklahoma City, a designer of more than 50 courses, was hired as the architect for the project. The construction began on March 1, 1961. Grass was planted four months later.
The course features tees and fairways consisting of a Bermuda grass variety, Tifgreen 328, and the tees are overseeded in the fall with perennial rye grass. All of the course’s greens are Bermuda.
The course obtains irrigation water from the University’s wells and from a storage tank located south of the 14th hole. A fully computerized, state-of-the-art irrigation system was installed in 1982. The new system allowed the maintenance staff to cut peak water use from one million gallons per night to 700,000 gallons per night, a significant savings in the desert southwest.
The University Golf Course is located in Tortugas Arroyo on university property east of the main campus. It is protected by a 46-foot high earthen dam to the east, which was designed and built by the Elephant Butte Irrigation District in cooperation with the Soil Conservation Service to control any flooding on record in the past 125 years.
In the summer of 1989, a new maintenance building was built adjacent to the 10th and 15th fairways, providing more storage space for golf carts and other course equipment. The old maintenance building was torn down, leaving room for further expansion in the future. Since then, a new putting green was built adjacent to the 18th green and a 35-foot fence was added around the driving range, providing more safety for golfers.
In 2000, a golf course pavilion was built just west of the clubhouse. The pavilion can be used for posting tournament results or to hold outdoor receptions and dinners.
The course is long; championship distance is 7,040 yards for men and 6,084 yards for women. The par for both men and women is 72 strokes, 36 on the front nine and 36 on the back nine. The United States Golf Association course rating is 75.0. The average size of the greens is 9,100 square feet and the largest, No. 15 is 11,000.
Most greens have two to four sand traps each. Trees have been set in strategic locations at the corners of the doglegs, near tees and around greens. The course has four par-5 holes, 10 par-4 holes and four par-3 holes for men and women. Fairways are narrow – about 30 yards wide – and the roughs are difficult, filled with native creosote, mesquite, yucca and cactus.