Marcia Hilburn and Allen Jones, background, look on as Ray Hilburn takes his tee shot on the second hole at Tatum’s “Cow pasture golf course.” Tatum will host the second annual Cow Pasture Golf Tournament Oct. 21.
By Mickey Winfield: Freedom Newspapers
It’s possible to play golf among cow patties and coyotes at Tatum’s “cow pasture golf course. “
Located about an hour south of Roosevelt County, down Highway 206, it has unique fairways and greens.
Two years ago, Tatum Schools Superintendent T.J. Parks got together with some of his board members, who were ranchers, and came up with the idea of a golf course in a cow pasture. Instead of dealing with such typical hazards as sand bunkers and lakes, visitors to this 9-hole course will be tested by such obstacles as mesquite bushes and barbed-wire fences.
And the gallery observing golfers navigating the course is likely to be full of horses and cows.
Parks says even those who may not be scratch golfers or are new to the sport will enjoy themselves because this golf course is the great equalizer.
“Some people say, ‘Well, gosh, I’m just not a good golfer.’ Well out there, nobody is a good golfer,” Parks joked.
The golf course is on city land, and is free of charge.
Parks is amused that his creation, once just a way for local folks to pass their time on the windy plains of Tatum, has become such an attraction.
“We just figured a couple of local guys would show up and we’d just play,” Parks said. “And then, one couple flew in from Dallas. They graduated from here, and they wanted to come and check it out.”
The course has so captured the spirit of Tatum that it has spawned its own golf tournament.
The second annual Cow Pasture Golf Tournament is set for Oct. 21.
The tournament is a four-person scramble. To register, visit www.tatumschools.org. Cost is $30 for early registration by Sept. 30 and lunch will be provided.
Parks said the funds raised will support Tatum’s Meals to You charity that provides area seniors with hot meals.
Tatum resident Johnny Burns was last year’s first tournament winner. He described a hole.
“It’s a 5-gallon bucket set into the ground, and if you hit the circle on your shot, then you can pick it up after two tries, ’cause, heck, sometimes you can’t never get it in. It’s just a lot of fun,” Burns laughed.
The course consists of three par-3’s and six par-4 holes, for a total of about 4,500 yards.
Parks is quick to point out that the course is a good workout for players.
“It’s about a five-and-a-half-hour deal (to finish the course). And whenever they’re through, they’re beat. That terrain just knocks ’em down. Walking through, and of course they’re looking for balls all the time, and it just beats them to death,” Parks said.
Parks summed up Tatum’s one-of-a-kind attraction.
“Anything that you think that you wouldn’t see at a golf course, you’re going to see here.”
From Clovis, head towards Portales and turn left on Ave. C. The road will lead to N.M. 206, about 65 miles from Tatum. The course is on the east end of Tatum, just off U.S. 380.