Charlie Maciel is the new golf pro at Clovis Municipal Golf Course after 23 years at the Tucumcari Municipal Golf Course. (Staff photo: Eric Kluth)
By John Eisel: CNJ sports writer
At 51, Charlie Maciel has been golfing since he could walk.
Local golfer Jeff Fontanilla, who has competed against Maciel in many tournaments over the years, described Maciel as “courteous, respectful and competitive.”
Maciel has taken his game to Clovis, where he started Jan. 1 as the new golf pro at the Municipal Golf Course. He took over for Jim Lumley, who had been the golf pro at the city-owned, nine-hole golf course for more than a decade.
Before he came to Clovis, Maciel worked at the Tucumcari Municipal Golf Course and coached the Tucumcari High School golf team for more than two decades. Before that, he golfed at Eastern New Mexico University and New Mexico Junior College.
“It’s been a great sport for me and I just wanted to pass it on,” he said.
Maciel coached 2000 Tucumcari High School graduate Josh Hurley, who followed Maciel from Tucumcari to be the apprentice golf pro in Clovis. He’s training to be a Class A1 Pro with the PGA of America, like Maciel.
Hurley said Maciel is forthright in his teaching.
“He just tells you how it is,” Hurley said. “If you ask him a question, he’s going to give you an answer.”
But there’s also understanding.
“Charlie was a real moral support kind of guy,” Hurley said. “If you shot an 88, he’d want to know what you did good out there. You (feel) comfortable around him.”
That comfort came despite, or because, of Maciel’s grand stature. Hurley guessed him to be 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds.
“He’s a monster,” Hurley said. “You’ve got to feel comfortable around a guy like that, especially when he’s got your back.”
However, Maciel doesn’t act like a monster out on the course if his ball is shanked or a hole is cruel.
“As to putting a golf club around the tree, nah, never happen,” Hurley said. “He just rises above it.”
Hurley said Maciel remains poker-faced on the course no matter how he plays.
But even if Maciel doesn’t show it, his competitive juices boil.
Last year, he was a few quarters away in money winnings from being named the Sun Country Senior Golfer of the Year.
But what upsets Maciel most is a lack of course-etiquette.
“He’s very professional,” Fontanilla said. “You don’t get as far as he’s been without being professional. There’s a certain way a professional golfer goes about things and Charlie does it.”