It may still be winter in Cortez, but the city plans to open the Conquistador course this weekend for some early rounds of golf.
On Wednesday, the course’s resident golf professional, announced the course would be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Feb. 9 through 11, weather permitting.
Depending on how much business Conquistador gets during that time, he said it could be the beginning of several winter golf weekends.
The National Weather Service is predicting sunny skies and high temperatures in the upper 40s and low 50s for the weekend.
Rudosky said the course has opened for warm weekends in February before, but this year was the first time it was open on New Year’s Day. He said between 200 and 250 people played golf over New Year’s weekend, which came after three days of record high temperatures for that time of year in Montezuma County.
Local meteorologists expect more of the same mild weather this month.
On Groundhog Day, volunteer weather watcher Jim Andrus predicted a warm, dry February for Montezuma County, with no major precipitation on the horizon. While that may not be good news for farmers, Rudosky said it’s good news for the golf course, at least in the short term.
“The weather’s so nice, the course looks good ... it feels like people want to play golf,” he said.
The course’s season normally starts in March and lasts through November. Once the regular season begins, Conquistador will return to its usual operating hours of dawn to dusk. In the meantime, Rudosky said, the course is opening later in the morning to make sure any frost has left the ground before tee time. He acknowledged “the course needs moisture, too,” and said it would close if the greens appeared to be getting damaged in any way.
Rudosky said the course staff would announce any new openings or changes on the city of Cortez website.
At the end of January the Cortez city council approved a new neighborhood golf cart access to the course from the east side, where several membership holders live. Rudosky said that access is not ready yet, but he expects the member group East Conquistador Access LLC to start work on it soon. The same council decision established a rule prohibiting access to the course by any entrance not approved by the city.