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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: GOLF'S TOUGHEST HOLE-THE ELFEGO BACA SHOOT FROM SOCORRO, NEW MEXICO!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

GOLF'S TOUGHEST HOLE-THE ELFEGO BACA SHOOT FROM SOCORRO, NEW MEXICO!

Elfego Baca




   The Elfego Baca Shoot is a one-hole golf tournament on what is probably the longest single hole around — almost three miles down the mountain, a drop of 2,550 feet in elevation. It's also probably the most challenging hole in golf, even though the "hole" is 50 feet in diameter.
   What is now a traditional part of the Socorro Springs Open, the Shoot started as a novelty event to generate interest in the community nearly 50 years ago. Nearly every year, the Elfego Baca Shoot gets national attention. Last year, sportswriter Rick Riley participated in the event with the intent of using it as part of a book he's writing on golf.
   he Elfego Baca Shoot was the idea of Holm Bursum Jr., president of First State Bank and founder of the Conrad Hilton Open. The Elfego Baca Shoot was begun as a special attraction along with the then Conrad Hilton Open in 1960 by First State Bank and the Socorro County Chamber of Commerce. This novelty tournament was begun to








generate more interest in the Socorro Community.   Socorro Springs Restaurant and Brewery has since replaced the Hilton as the title sponsor, but the Shoot is still around.
   The event begins at the top of 7,243-foot "M" Mountain and ends at a 50-foot target on the grounds of the Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center. Golfers will be transported from the Tech Golf Course to the peak in 4-wheel-drive vehicles. The group leaves early Saturday morning after being cautioned about snakes and steep slopes and the other hazards they may encounter along the way.
   The golfers tee off at the top, and then chase their shots down the mountain to the target. They are each given 10 balls to use, and every time they lose a ball, it is a one-stroke penalty. If they lose all 10, they're out.
   Each golfer can have up to three spotters who track the flight of the ball and help find it after each shot.








   The golfer with the lowest score — shots plus lost balls — wins the event.
   Since the terrain of the "M" mountain is so rocky, golfers are allowed to tee the ball for every shot. It is recommended that a particpant bring a piece of rug or a broom with a short handle in which he can mount his tee. Also, because of the landscape, the ball can be moved laterally from its position or away from a hole to produce a better shot. This comes in handy for those unlucky golfers whose ball falls into an old mine shaft or a cactus bush. This unique set of rules can only be found at the Elfego Baca Shootout.
    It takes about four hours for the golfers to play the hole. The Shoot is limited to 10 players to protect the mountain's ecology.
   Dennis Walsh, representing the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, won last year's Shoot with a score of 16. He unseated Socorro's Caleb Gonzales as champion.




Some of the terrain when you need to find your ball



   Entry Fee for the Elfego Shootout is $100.00.


Payoff

1st: $750

2nd: $500

3rd: $400

4th: $300

5th: $200

6th: $100








   The Shoot was named after the famous Elfego Baca of the 1880s. Baca is known for a standoff in Catron County that he endured against several banditos who had him pinned down in an adobe hut.
   According to legend, Baca survived an entire day's worth of gunfire, then walked out of the hut and arrested the banditos after they ran out of ammunition.
   The name was chosen because the Shoot, like the legend of Elfego Baca, is the epitome of the adventurous spirit that is the Southwest.

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