Rio Rancho golf course up for auction

Posted at: 04/18/2013 9:04 PM
Updated at: 04/18/2013 10:17 PM
By: Jill Galus, KOB Eyewitness News 4

More than 200 acres are up for sale in Rio Rancho. It is the city's only golf course, and it has been losing hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. But the city does not want it sold to just anyone.

The Chamisa Hills Golf and Country Club fairways is currently listed for an online auction May 29.  

The minimum bid is set at $850,000, but Rio Rancho Mayor Tom Swisstack said whoever buys it is going to need a whole lot more money than that to get it back up to par.

Even on a cold, blustery day, you can find Kayla Sunderman and her friends golfing.

"I live on the course and I've grown up here for a couple years now, and it's kind of like a second home for me," Sunderman said. "It used to be one of the best in the state."

By the looks of the golf course now, you would never know it.

"They need more water in a lot of places," Grant Golder, who frequently plays there, said.

Walking around the course, there are plenty of dry patches and a lot of areas where there is not even grass anymore; instead, there is dirt.

An outside company who did an appraisal estimated about $3.42 million worth of improvements that need to be made. The ground and irrigation are among a list of others.

The current owner, Harry Apodaca, cannot afford the water rates, and Swisstack said they are going up again next year.

The city is now considering stepping in to help, possibly buying the property.

"Whoever buys it, whether it's the city looks into this as a possibility or whether it's a private vendor that buys this here, the issue is going to come back to the governing body to talk about water rates, and what we can do to adjust those water rates," Swisstack said.

But where else can you find 235 acres in the middle of the city, Swisstack asked.  With a clubhouse, tennis courts and a pool, there is a lot more than just a golf course worth saving.

"There's a variety of things that I think we should really look at before we just say, 'no,'" Swisstack said.

"To get it back in shape I think it could definitely please a lot of people in Rio Rancho," Sean Burns, another golfer, said.

Repeated attempts to contact Apodaca, the current owner, were unsuccessful.  

The sale of Chamisa Hills Golf and Country Club will be discussed during next week's city council meeting, Swisstack said.