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20140902 SPI Golf Course 3 Green from Harbor Unit PAGE ONE webSpring is just around the corner, and for us, that means golf – even if you can play it nearly year-round in the Valley climate. Each spring we ask our readers to vote for their favorite golf courses. The Valley has many courses to choose from, and Winter Texans seem to try to catch them all while visiting the Valley.

For the next three weeks we will feature a different part of the Valley and introduce you to the many golf courses the Valley has to offer. We invite you to take the time, visit a few of them, if not all, and vote for your favorite golf course.

South Padre Island Golf Club

South Padre Island where dreams and reality are on different ends of the spectrum.

The vision is near perfect as you stand on the west side of the Laguna Madre. There across from you is the skyline of South Padre Island and the Isabella Causeway.

Boats dreamlessly cruise across in front of you. You’re so relaxed, it’s not even real, you think.

You have been captured by South Padre Island’s dark side, a dreamy moment that quickly transforms into a super challenging round of golf at South Padre Island Golf Club.

Annually voted as one of the favorite Winter Texan courses in the Valley, the 6,931-yard (from the black tees) South Padre Island Golf Club course can meet a variety of skill levels, from the part-time golfer just looking to go out and “hit the ball around,” to the most avid competitor who wants a challenge with every swing.

The view alone at South Padre Island Golf Club is enough to get you to go back time and again, completely forgetting that awful – or great – round you had the previous time you dared face the daunting wins and distracting views.

South Padre Island Golf Club is located at 1 Golf House Rd., Laguna Vista, (956) 943-4653.

20191020 River Bend Golf Course HMiller 8563 webRiver Bend Resort and Golf Course

They built it and the people came – and are still flocking to River Bend Golf Club in Brownsville.

Named for the large, winding bend in the Rio Grande that borders the resort and provides the property with a lush tropical setting where golfers can see plants and birds not seen elsewhere in the United States.

This course at one point was an unknown – a true diamond in the rough. It has no bunkers, rare for a Valley course, and has maybe the greatest elevation changes in deep South Texas.

Its transition from being a loner to being one of the most popular golf courses in the RGV, has taken time – but the path it followed has worked tremendously.

With about 600-700 Winter Texan habitants and a growing number of permanent residents, once word went out to visit the 6,735-yard (from the gold tees) course. It has three other sets of tees – blue (6,276), White (5,625) and red (4,920). Its trees, grass and other foliage running along the banks of the US/Mexico border, give golfers a joyful round, needing to use every club in their bag and approach each hole with a plan.
The course is located at 4541 Military Highway 281, in Brownsville. For more information, call (956) 548-0191.

20191020 Rancho Viejo Golf Course HMiller 8428 webRancho Viejo Golf and Country Club

The golf ball hanging in the sky has become iconic to the Spanish style clubhouse that allows you entrance into Rancho Viejo, just pass the South Padre Island exit heading toward Brownsville on Expressway 83.

Rancho Viejo is much more than a golf course, it’s an escape from the bothersome realities of day-to-day living. There are rentals for overnight stays, a pool area that may call out to you even more than its lovely course, and an amazing selection of things to do, including the fast-rising pickleball.

The layout and the surrounding trees give this course a comfortable feel. Don’t get too cozy though – it will lull you into a false sense of security and if you knock your ball into some high grass, remember that your ball isn’t anywhere near the size of the one on the expressway.

The small greens make an already-challenging layout even more so. You could be a monster hitter off the tees, passing 300 yards on a regular basis. However, if you don’t hit the approach well, you’ll be chipping up onto the green and needing to one-putt to save par.

The holes are well protected by water and numerous sand traps. Some holes dare you to cut off more than you can chew – don’t listen to them, drop down a club and play it safe.

It is located at 1 Rancho Viejo Dr. in Rancho Viejo, Texas. Call (956) 350-4000 for more information regarding this 18-hole, 72 par, 6,800-yard course.

20170124 Long Island Village Golf Course Jennie McBride webLong Island Village Golf Course

There’s a Biblical story everyone knows about little David and the giant Goliath. This, however, isn’t about the wee little golf course being David and the mega courses being Goliath.

This is about you being David and, yes, Long Island Village is a mighty Goliath.

Long Island Village Golf Course is an 18-hole, par-3 course where most holes are less than 100 yards. It doesn’t sound much like a ferocious giant – it doesn’t look like one, until that first swing. Then you hear and feel the roar as an unforgiving wind, which seems to come from all directions all at once, strikes.

You may consider it to be just a quick pit stop to play and just simply cross off your list of courses played. It’s definitely an underdog in your mind when you compare it to courses like South Padre Island or Tierra Santa or Palm View Golf in the Rio Grande Valley.

While the wind is infamous across the South Texas landscape, it has a personal vendetta on the sheepish, innocent course, blowing and swirling; sometimes you may have to go up two clubs – to hit the ball 120 yards. Golfers have claimed that the wind is a knock-down wind; others say they’ve seen it blow in two different directions, all within the time a ball is in flight from tee to green.

Long Island Golf Course is located at 950 S Garcia St, Port Isabel. For more information, call (956) 943-7520.

BROWNSVILLE GOLF CENTER NO webBrownsville Golf Center

Run by the City of Brownsville, the Center is an 18-hole golf course. The original design had a total playing yardage of 6,144 yards.

The course and holes are forgiving and friendly – but that doesn’t mean they are a pushover. Large, manicured Bermuda greens with a favorable holding play-ability for approach shots. Their fairways have a good amount of grass – this is not a hard-pan course. There are elevated tee boxes and moderately elevated greens, nothing too difficult but no green is flat (that wouldn’t be fun, would it?).

Ponds and small lakes come into play to some degree on 50% of the fairways. The course design will test your iron game and approach shots to the greens.

There is an outdoor pavilion to enjoy, along with a practice putting green and a chipping green. The city has always promised that The BGC would be the best value for golf anywhere in the Rio Grande Valley and is one of the best kept courses in the area.

For more information, contact Brownsville Golf Center at (956) 541-2582. It is located at 1800 W. San Marcelo Blvd.

Valley International Country Club

VICC is the complete package when it comes to golf in South Texas. It plays 6,538 yards from the tips (orange tees) and is a par-70 course.
There are dog legs going both ways, No. 4 is more water than grass and the course allows you to unwind with some grip it and rip it holes just to let out any frustration you may have. Another calming effect of this course is a wind that lets the tropic scenery seep into your mind, as the palms sway and the scores of rare birds chirp as if they were your own personal gallery.

Valley International’s Championship Course is an 18-hole course that spans more than 1,000 acres. Its layout really makes the most out of the natural water hazards. Twelve of the eighteen fairways are either bordered or dissected by a Resaca, creating a unique challenge that few, if any, courses can duplicate.

The course is located at 301 McFadden in Brownsville. Call (956) 548-9199 for more information. This course needs to be on your bucket list.