ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Too many people are using the University of New Mexico‘s North Golf Course but not to golf. Now, UNM is making some changes to crack down on those after-hour visitors. At night, community members have veered off from the walking trail surrounding the North Golf Course, letting their dogs off-leash, something the university hopes to curb.
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“There’s been an increase in aggression of dogs and people have been bit, other pets have been bit,” said Cinnamon Blair with the University of New Mexico’s communications and marketing team. “More people are going onto the course, itself, and using it for other activities, including while golfers are playing, so that’s really dangerous.”
UNM says visitors are supposed to stay on the Bernalillo County open space trail. However, with nothing to separate them from the putting greens and fairway, people are pushing the boundaries.
“That also does lead to some damage to the course that our grounds people work really hard to keep the entire area beautiful,” said Blair. “We want to keep it beautiful, not just for the game of golf, itself, but pet waste-free.”
Now, they’re cracking down, making sure the only people stepping foot on the course are those with clubs and tees. Local Marti Perry walks the trail that surrounds the course a few times a week.
“I don’t come out too late, especially when I come by myself, but it’s a beautiful place to walk,” said Perry. “People with their dogs, and people are friendly.”
Perry says it’s not uncommon to see dogs roaming. However, she rarely sees any issues with attacks or dogs running onto the green.
“Once in a while, you see dogs off-leash and you see people not picking up after their dogs,” said Perry. “Mostly, people are diligent.”
Still, it’s becoming enough of an issue that the university is posting new signage, reminding neighbors it’s not a dog park and to keep dogs leashed at all times. The new signs say that the course is strictly for golfers only and reminds visitors to stick to the trail.
“I think there was some confusion and social media postings that said we were closing the golf course to the public,” said Blair. “That is not at all the case.”
Some dogs owners, who declined to go on camera, say they like the open space to let their pets explore and make sure to wait until all golfers are gone for the day. Despite that, the university hopes to make the area comfortable for all who use it.
“The county commissioner, UNM, the communities, we’ve all had dialogue conversations. I think there was a meeting back in July where, actually, the signage was discussed,” said Blair. “This is to be enjoyed and used by everyone, whether they’re playing golf or they’re taking a walk with their family or their pets.”
UNM did clarify that fencing that’s gone up along the golf course — not including the existing perimeter fence — is not related to the new restrictions and is for an ongoing construction project. The new signs have not been posted yet. UNM expects them to be up within the next week.