Winter Texan Times

MARCH 1, 2023 14 WINTER TEXAN TIMES Elliott’s Custom Golf 712 N 77 Sunshine Strip #20 Harlingen, TX 78550 (877) 428-5448 • SKYTRACK LAUNCH MONITOR Improve your game and receive instant and real-time 3D shot analysis and ball-flight data. Identify strengths, weaknesses & dispersion • Bag Mapping to select the right clubs on the course • Wedge Matrix to master short game Five Star Customer Ratings - Google Reviews COMPUTERIZED CUSTOM CLUB FITTING learning about the courses you visit and love. For the next three weeks we will feature a different part of the Valley. This week we will feature the Mid Valley golf courses. Tony Butler Tony Butler’s impact on golf in the Rio Grande Valley may be greater than any other golfer in terms of local influence. The Harlingen public golf course bears the name of the man, Tony Butler, who helped bring some of the sport’s greatest athletes to the Rio Grande Valley for professional tournaments during the Great Depression. Butler was born April 18, 1908 and died Dec. 9, 1979 after 49 years of golf. He was known to play entire rounds of golf with just a 4-wood, taking on challengers of all skill levels. He was the city champion in Austin, captain of the Austin High School team and the first golf coach at UT. The public Tony Butler golf course is much like the man, requiring a sharp strategic mind and the ability to play consistent golf. The course’s website says, “His style of play, a consistent short game and accurate putts, came to reflect the character of skills required for success to those pursuing challenges on the Tony Butler Municipal Golf Course.” Butler’s biggest claim to fame came in 1933 when he defeated future hall of famer and National Open champion Gene Sarazen during an exhibition match. After that match he was hired as the Harlingen Country Club pro where he remained until 1937 – but his impact lasted for so much longer. On June 20, 1973 Harlingen municipal course was renamed in his honor. He retired to become a professional emeritus in 1975. He was inducted into the Rio Grande Valley Sports Hall of Fame in 1998. Tony Butler Golf Course is located at 2640 South “M” Street in Harlingen. It is a 27-hole course that meanders through the natural South GOLF From pg. 1 Texas terrain and is extremely easy to walk if you so choose. The 18hole course is a championship layout measuring 6,400 yards (par 71). Cottonwood Creek Located at 1001 South Ed Carey in Harlingen, Cottonwood Creek was developed in 1984 and, according to the pro shop, “the course is the same. It hasn’t changed.” A “very nice senior course,” Cottonwood Creek is open to the public. It’s a nine-hole par-3 course and that means golfers can fit it into their busy – or not-so-busy – schedule. The pro shop is open in the mornings and the signature hole is No. 5. It’s 175 yards across water. Make sure you hit enough club because “there are a lot of balls in there.” To walk nine holes is just $13 and to do 18 is just $18 – one of the few joys in life that are still $1 per… even the cheapest of coffees are $1 at best (before taxes). So, enjoy the serenity of this nearly 40-year-old course. Harlingen Country Club Harlingen Country Club first opened its doors in 1949 and its member-owned hacienda style clubhouse and course, which was designed in 1965 by Dave Bennett and Leon Howard, just fits like a glove. It is the epitome of country club living and the course has a personality that is eloquently South Texas. The course has faced major blows, moving to its current location in 1970 on property that previously was Harlingen Airport. Hurricane Dolly then delivered a “crushing blow” to the clubhouse but the membership used it as an opportunity to create more and better, opening their new clubhouse in October 2010. There’s comfort and peace on, off and in the facilities, which include the 18hole course, driving range, putting and chipping greens. The large, majestic trees and layout have class and history written into them. The annual and longstanding Life Begins at 40 match play tournament draws the top golfers and possibly the largest golf gallery of any Valley tournament. The course ranges from 6,541 yards from the black tips to 5,035 from the ladies. The white markers snug in between at 5,625 yards. The course is located at 5500 El Camino Real. Llano Grande Resort and Country Club Located in the historical Delta Area, which includes the small communities of Edcouch, Mercedes, Elsa, La Villa, and Monte Alto – Llano Grande became a busy agricultural center in the Rio Grande Valley during the 1920s when the Southern Pacific Railroad laid train tracks through here. The area was coined the “Magic Valley” in an attempt to draw people to the area, and Northeasterners heeded the call and came to develop the land. The entire part was named the best large park in Texas in 2015 and 2016 by the Texas RV Association and one publication described it as a small town, but its history looms large in the development of the Rio Grande Valley. Nestled quietly in the midst of all this is Llano Grande Golf Course, recently ranked No. 20 on Golf Advisor’s top 25 most improved courses. Reviewers confirm that this course is noticeably getting in better shape on a regular basis. It plays from 6,781 yards from the tips to a comfortable 5,792 and 4,964 from the whites and reds, respectively. It has various levels, something not especially known for in the flat plains-like Valley. Of course, it has Tierra Santa Golf Course