Virgen: City Hackers league keep going

Tim Tonkinson didn’t hesitate when asked why he loves playing in the City Hackers golf league.

“I like trying to beat these guys,” he said with a smirk on June 16 at Arroyo del Oso Golf Course. “Yeah, that’s my favorite.”

Julian Gallegos, one of Tonkinson’s friends in his four-man squad, was also quick with a response.

“He didn’t make it,” Gallegos said comically, as if delivering a punch line. “But he works hard at it.”

This is actually a tame example of the trashy conversation that happens once a week during City Hackers season.

Jokes are part of what makes the league so fun, many league members say.

They are proud to be part of a league that started in 1987.

The league, which consists of 60 competitors who are currently City of Albuquerque employees or retired, looks very different today than when it started.

In 1987, when the public works division was on staff at the city of Albuquerque, water finance employees and water engineers held a competition in the form of golf matches against each other. others, said Thomas Torres, who is the city’s secretary and chair of disability. Hacker League.

“One day they said, ‘Why don’t we just form a league?’ said Torres, who worked for the city for 25 years and has been in the league for 27. “They made the rules. They put the whole game sheet together, for the handicaps. At one point the league became so popular that it was limited to 40 people. But since then, we have increased the number of members to 60. And there is a waiting list. We average about 40 golfers per week.

Torres is the perfect person to handle secretarial duties and be in charge of each player’s handicap. He transferred all of his high-level organizational skills from when he was CFO of the City of Albuquerque’s Risk Management Division. He held this position for eight years.

He has been secretary and handicap chairman of the City Hackers league since 1996, with the exception of two years when he was chairman of the league. But he quit because no one else wanted to do the secretary’s job – mostly tracking everyone’s weekly scores using a computer.

Torres said he had the league’s original rulebook. He was one of the members who helped bring this online. Torres gets the job done because he’s one of the many members who love the league.

There are plenty of laughs and several fun times, but the league can be serious business with several golfers doing their best in it.

Torres serves on the executive committee which includes President Gil Espinosa, Vice President Vince Gallegos and Treasurer Patrick Griego.

Griego certainly has a key role: collecting the money. There is usually one skin pot for two holes during the nine-hole round. And of course there’s more money to be won each week with side bets and at the end of the season for the top runner-up.

Each season, lasting 22 weeks, the City Hackers travel from one golf course in the city to another. This season, they are at ADO. After their game, they sometimes hang out at Bear Trap, the bar near the pro shop.

Next season they will be moving to Ladera and since they play on Thursdays they will most likely participate in Ladera’s Thirsty Thursdays which feature drink specials and patio seating where a live band plays.

Beer is part of the camaraderie for many golfers, who also count women among their members.

But it always comes down to what happens on the golf course, and who might hit the hardest, land long putts, or win the game each week. The league also organizes tournaments which sometimes take place on courses other than those of the city, for example the Paradise Hills Golf Club.

“I like friendships,” said Ray Wright, who is 74. “You can play golf every week with friends.”

Wright has had six holes in one in his many years of golf, mostly in Albuquerque.

“I’ve been playing since 1960,” Wright said. “So six aces isn’t such a big feat.”

Wright was part of a three-man squad with Victor Grande and Michael “Mario” Sedillo. They were missing their regular partner, Espinosa, as he wanted to stay out of the 100 degree heat that day.

Sedillo lets his friends call him Mario. It’s a nickname created when city employees were playing basketball at the time. Sedillo showed great speed, but he is short, reminding many of the Nintendo video game character.

“You must be thick-skinned here, especially when they call you a little Mario,” Sedillo said. “But it’s good to go out with friends. All is well, and you meet new friends.


IRELAND OPEN: Former University of New Mexico golfer John Catlin finished tied for fourth Sunday at 15-under 273 (67-72-65-69) at Mount Juliet and became one of three to qualify for the British Open, July 14-17 in St. Andrews, via the Open Qualifying Series.

Adrian Meronk won the Irish Open, Ryan Fox finished second and Thirston Lawrence finished third. The three were already exempt for the British Open. The three places available at the Irish Open went to Catlin, David Law and Fabrizio Zanotti.

USGA: UNM senior Lauren Lehigh shot 2 under 70 to finish tied for third on June 30 at the Colorado National Golf Club in Erie, Colorado to qualify for the 122nd United States Women’s Amateur Championship.

She was one of four to qualify for the August 8-14 event at Chambers Bay Golf Club in University Place, Washington.

Lehigh shot 11 of 227 (77-75-75) when she played at Chambers Bay in the Seattle University Redhawk Invitational in April.

COUNTRY OF THE SUN: The New Mexico and West Texas Women’s Amateur Championship is held Friday through Sunday at the Santa Ana Golf Club on the Pueblo de Santa Ana.

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