By Tova Fruchtman: Quay County Sun
As a member of the Pro Golf Association since 1974, Howie Tucker is an experienced golf professional.
He has worked at courses in Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. He worked at the Ryder Cup — an American versus European golf tournament — in 1993, and served on the PGA board for the New Mexico and El Paso area for many years.
“As a golf professional you’re kind of a teacher, player and a planner,” he said. Besides playing golf and teaching others how to play the game, Tucker explained, he also has to keep up the pro shop, maintain the course and plan events and tournaments.
“It’s just a well rounded position,” he said.
It was important to the city to find a golf pro who could fill all of these rolls when they hired Tucker, City Manager Richard Primrose said.
“Our golf pro is also our consultant for maintance and we needed someone with expericenc that could continue helping us in the maintenance department,” Primrose said.
He said it was also important to hire a pro who would work with the Junior Golf program and try to bring tourists to the golf course.
Tucker said he hopes to do all of these things.
He said he wants to involve the entire community in playing golf — experienced and first time players, young and old.
He will plan trounaments and has comitted part of his salary to give two $500 scholarships a year to a male and female junior golfer in the community.
“The main reason I think for kids to play golf is it does teach them an awful lot of discipline and character,” said Tucker who started playing golf when he was 6 years old, and helped to design the Junior Golf program in New Mexico as a member of the PGA board.
“It’s going to make you build your character, there’s not doubt about it. I think you’re really going to understand the word respect,” he said.
Golf is a game that takes work, Tucker explained. He said that he often compares learning to play golf with learning to walk. Like a baby that falls and gets scrapes and bruises while learning to walk, a new golfer will have to continue to get up in that tee box and try again each time a ball falls short of their target.
“It will tear you up, and tear you down,” Tucker said.
But regardless of the challenge of learning to play golf,
Tucker said he hopes to bring a sense of relaxation and fun to the course in Tucumcari.
“I wish to bring out an attitude of fun to the game of golf, and relaxation and leave their worries at home,” he said.
Tucker, who started work in Tucumcari last Monday, said he wasn’t ready to chose a favorite hole on the Tucumcari course yet. But he said just because it is a small town course doesn’t mean it’s easy.
“The golf course is very adequate as far as challenges,” he said. “It’s a good little golf course.”
Tucumcari Municipal Golf Course is open to the public.
Hours: 7 a.m. to dusk; closed Mondays for maintenance except on national holidays
Adult daily fees: $10 on the weekdays; $13 on the weekends
Child daily fees: $2 on the weekdays; $13 on the weekends
Driving range: $2-6 for a bucket of balls