The weather in South Texas is pretty much always great for a round of golf during this time of year. Therefore, we come to you to ask you what your favorite golf course, amenities, golf hole and more are each year.
This is our third, and final, week of coverage. Please look at the two previous week’s issues online. This week’s coverage starts on page 14.
The Golf Ballot is on page 13. Be sure to fill that out and send it in, or fill out our online version at www.wintertexantimes.com, by December 8. By submitting your favorites, you will be eligible to win free rounds of golf, dining, and more.
Palm View Golf Course
This course never gets old, and if it does it’s like a fine wine…you know the rest.
You would never dream that this beautiful and well-manicured golf course is a municipal course, but it is. From teeing off to finishing, you'll more than likely use every club in your bag, and maybe wish you had more. The greens run true, the pin placement is always challenging, and most holes will ask you – what's your strategy here? There are plenty of holes where you determine how much of a bend you want to cut or if you really want to take a shortcut and go over these trees. Improvements and upgrades are a regular occurrence here even though it's hard to believe there could be any improvements. Some holes will show you a wide-open fairway but if you don't know which side to put the ball, you may be giving yourself extra distance to the hole – or an impossible next shot. And when you are done, have a hamburger – even the worst round is comforted after one of those from the kitchen here.
Address: 2701 S. Ware Road, McAllen
Phone: (956) 681-3444
Description: 18-hole, par-72 public golf course
Golf Pro: Rex Flores
Yardage: Black – 6,783; Blue – 6,384; White – 5,814; Red – 4,816
Amenities: Chipping green, Putting green, Lighted driving range; Clubhouse, Restaurant; Pro Shop
Winter Texan Specials: Discount Coupons online; call for other specials and to book tee times
Tony Butler Golf Course
On Nov. 4, Tony Butler went from having a little bit of everything to a little bit more of everything as the club reopened its executive golf course and now has 27 holes to await the golfer who checks in to possibly the most historic course in South Texas. From wide open fairways where you can swing away to some tight shots within a magnificent setting, this municipal is sure to challenge the golfer in many ways. Butler, a PGA champion from Ganado, Texas brought some of the greatest golfers to the Valley for tournaments during the Great Depression. He was known for his use of the 4-wood, which he would sometimes play entire rounds using only that club. We don't recommend you try that but if you're in the mood for a super challenge.
Address: 2640 Golf Course Dr., Harlingen
Phone: (956) 216-5970
Description: Par-71 municipal course
Golf Pro: Jeff Hart
Yardage: Blue – 6,320; White – 5,837; Red – 5,113; also have senior tees around 5,400
Amenities: driving range, putting green, chipping green, snack bar
Winter Texan Specials: $28 for 18 with cart; $21 for 9; Rates drop to $20/15 after 3 p.m.
Long Island Village Golf Course
This gated community is located just across the Intracoastal Waterway via a swing bridge from Port Isabel and provides vacation rentals as well as permanent residences. And don't be fooled – just because it's a par-3 course doesn't mean you can leave some of your clubs back at the house. With the unpredictable wind – in both strength and direction – you may have to choose between three or four clubs. This is not a putt-putt course. In fact, some of the holes may be the toughest in South Texas. Of course, some holes are forgiving too but you'll never get bored of playing this beautifully designed and fun course. And you can't go wrong, ever, with the scenery.
Address: 33840 S. Garcia St., Port Isabel
Phone: (956) 943-7520
Description: 18-hole, par-53, par-3 course
Golf Pro: Fred Gonzalez
Yardage: Red – 1,449
Amenities: Putting green, pro shop with gifts and a bar with draft beer
Winter Texan Specials: Non-renters $14 all day; Renters $12 all day
Rancho Viejo Resort and Country Club
Playing at Rancho Viejo is likened to taking a vacation at an exotic resort. With all of the amenities – including rentals for a short visit – this is the place for a staycation. A gorgeous pool with an outdoor bar, a restaurant with the highest quality of food and service, a wide arrangement of clothing and accessories in the pro shop... the list goes on. The course is “playable yet challenging, stretching over 6,800 yards from the back tees,” according to its website. The course, named El Diablo (the devil) is named so because the grapefruit trees that used to line the fairways made it so devilishly difficult to play. Today the fairways are lined with towering palms, tropical vegetation, and water hazards on nine of the holes.
Address: 1 Rancho Viejo Drive, Rancho Viejo
Phone: (956) 350-4000
Description: 18-hole, Par-71 for Men, Par-74 for Women
Golf Pro: Don Keen
Yardage: Red – 5,097; White – 5,313; Blue – 5,919; Gold – 6,434
Amenities: Rancho Viejo Resort & Country Club's practice facilities offer a full-length driving range, a large putting green and a bunkered chipping area perfect for a pre-round warm up or a great day of practice.
Winter Texan Specials: 9 holes for $48.26; 18 holes $69.71
River Bend Golf Course
Nestled along the banks of the Rio Grande and with magnificent three-year-old oak trees throughout the course, River Bend used to be one of the Valley's best kept secrets. It's not a secret anymore and is considered among the most beautiful courses in South Texas, not only with the river providing out of bounds in some areas but with challenging elevation changes and holes that will make you use more than just your driver and wedge to approach some of the best kept – and fastest – greens in the Rio Grande Valley. A renovated sea wall along 17 and 18 make for a beautiful way to come into the clubhouse.
Address: 4541 US-281, Brownsville
Phone: (956) 548-0192
Description: Par-72, 18 holes
Golf Pro: Eddie Medlin, GM
Yardage: Gold – 6,735; Blue – 6,276; Whites – 5,625; Reds – 4,920
Amenities: putting green, snack bar, hot dogs, hamburgers, snacks – Thursday through Saturday kitchen is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Winter Texan Specials: Memberships available; $36 regular; $30 mid-day; $22 after 1 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. $38, $25 for the weekends.
Harlingen Country Club
A beauty of a layout with a mixture of challenges, Harlingen Country Club is the shot-maker's course. Sure, there are holes where you can grip it and rip it but the subtle elevation changes, the twists and turns along with the well-placed hazards makes this the perfect golf-thinkers course. It's like playing chess, just with golf clubs instead of pawns, rooks, knights...
Address: 5500 El Camino Real, Harlingen
Phone: (956) 412-4100
Golf Pro/Director of Golf: Mike Hicks
Yardage: Red – 5,035; White – 5,664; Blue – 6,261; Black – 6,541
Amenities: Putting green, chipping green, driving range, bar and restaurant
Winter Texan Specials: Call for information
Sunshine Country Club Estates
Enjoy a relaxing day at the modern, world class golf course. You’ll appreciate a truly distinct experience on the course, reflecting the classic beauty and refinement of Harlingen. The wonderfully kept surroundings of this course make for a truly wonderful golfing experience. This is also the home of the Good Neighbor Golf Tournament, an annual three-day event followed by a banquet in March.
Address: 1957 W. Michigan Dr., Harlingen
Phone: (956) 425-1420
Description: Par-27, 9-hole course
Golf Pro: NA
Yardage: All tees – 1,033
Amenities: Visit the website
Cottonwood Creek Country Club
Address: 1001 S. Ed Carey Drive, Harlingen
Phone: (956) 428-0766
Description: 9-Hole, Par 3 Course