> Golf Course Architecture

UNM - Championship Course and Robert "Red" Lawrence

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Patrick Kiser:
Just got back from a trip to NM that included Black Mesa, Paa-Ko, and UNM's Championship Course.

This time around conditions were just brutal.  Damn near freezing and hurricane strength winds (up to 66 MPH!!!).

Anyway, I had the most fun on the UNM course this time around.  Sure Black Mesa and Paa-Ko would normally be fun, but with these kinds of conditions ... a title too much in my opinion.  Very difficult to unforgiving.

I read that a Robert "Red" Lawrence designed the course back in '66 and I guess I've just never heard of the fellow.

As I look into this a little more, it appears he worked as a design assistant at Merion for or with Flynn? before moving on his own to design The Cascades, Desert Forest GC, etc.

I guess I'm wondering why we haven't seen or heard much about Mr. Lawrence on GCA?

I thought his design at UNM was very fun to play.  Very well balanced nines with interesting use of the land (e.g. some great camouflage in the form of channels / gulleys fronting greens that are very deceptive from the fairway, plateau greens with some blindness from green side bunkers like on the 18th, etc).

Is it just that his portfolio doesn't run deep?  Or that several of his courses don't really deserve the attention?

UNM is a VERY good course...i played it in the winter one time and definitely would like to play it again "during the season"

Andy Troeger:
I'm sorry that you found out why I discourage people from visiting New Mexico in late March or April. The winds are just brutal here this time of year--one could get lucky but I certainly wouldn't count on it. The fan gets shut off usually by mid-May.

Unfortunately as you described its not a golf-friendly wind (15-30 mph)--its either pretty calm or 40+ mph with dust storms. I'd rather play here in January!

UNM Championship is a very nice course and certainly worth playing when visiting Albuquerque. Its not really a desert style course so much which in the wind would make it a little more reasonable to play. I don't believe that Red Lawrence has a very extensive portfolio beyond the courses you mentioned. There are a couple other courses in New Mexico that I've seen his name attached to--not sure if either one is really his work and neither one is anything of note (Tierra del Sol in Belen, NM and Desert Greens in Albuquerque).


I too share the love for the RL design at UNM.

However ...

In the few times I have played it -- the layouts was often overwatered to the max. Can you tell me what the turf conditions were like when you played it. I'm not hoping for it be rock hard but when tee shots were making ball marks in the fairways something is very wrong.

I was told a new course superintendent is on board now and clearly has a better appreciation on the value of firm turf and how it can really make the architectural elements shine even brighter.

Your thoughts are most welcomed ...

Steve_ Shaffer:
Here's a list of Red Lawrence's courses:


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