First impressions can mean a lot, set within the right context. J.K Rowling said, “A good first impression can work wonders,” while Daniel Handler has a completely different take and said, “I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed this, but first impressions are often entirely wrong.”
However you view first or early impressions and whether they make a difference on you, they remain something that, as Charles Swindoll said, “never have a second chance.”
The following is a look at some of the first impressions provided by Mid-Valley golf courses. Don’t forget to vote for your favorites by December 7.
Cottonwood Creek Country Club
1001 S. Ed Carey Drive, Harlingen
This is a deceivingly fun golf course and as you stand over No. 5. it’s a straight, 175-yard punch over a resaca that protects the hole.
What people don't know is that there's a giant magnet in that resaca and more balls than you would think end up in there.
Now, we know that magnets don't attract golf balls – but whatever is in that lake has been appealing to thousands of golf balls every year. In other words – take enough clubs or you will join the throngs of those who have dropped into the black hole. You go in, you don’t come out.
Harlingen Country Club
5500 El Camino Real, Harlingen
This is a place that exudes high class without being stuffy. It’s more than a golf course, it feels like home. The pro shop is stocked with a lot of accessories and has a little seating area. Of course, there’s the bar and the restaurant and a wonderful patio outside of the pro shop where golfers gather to talk about whatever’s on their minds, most often times enjoying a nice meal, snack or beverage.
It’s already a wonderful experience by the time you reach the first hole of the 6,541-yard course. It’s not super long but golfers need to make super shots because of a design that will make them consider multiple options.
Harlingen Country Club is also refreshing with its large oak and other trees throughout the course. The wind is not a major factor but when it kicks up it becomes a problem because this course is tight in several places.
It is one of the best full golf experiences in the Valley, the amenities are exquisite, and the staff always seems to be friendly.
Stuart Place Country Club
155 Highland Dr., Harlingen
There may not be a better lasting early impression than at Stuart Place, the 2,742-yard 9-hole par-36 facility. This is just a welcoming place, and you can feel it as soon as you drive on the property.
As soon as one drives in, sees the cottage-like looking clubhouse and ganders down the street to the course, a calmness overtakes you. The first impression alone will leave you wanting to come back for more.
Winter Texan Ken Tanula certainly has a wonderful impression of this quaint (but don’t think it’s easy just because it’s peaceful) course after nailing a hole-in-one earlier this month on No. 9.
There’s also no better course to celebrate a special occasion like that than here, inside a tiny clubhouse with cold drinks, snacks and some of the friendliest people on the planet. No matter what the first impression is of this course, when you leave, you’re going to have considered it a successful outing – and probably will have made a couple of new friends along the way.
Tierra Santa Golf Club
1901 Club de Amistad, Weslaco
The first impressions are great and endless it seems, and they never stop coming at this country club-esque challenging course that seems to always be in pristine condition.
And now golfers have been given a treat. Instead of having to wait to get to what used to be one of the most spectacular finishing holes in the Valley, the old No. 18 is No. 9 now. The long par-4 leaves most golfers with a decision on how to approach with water across most of the front. Go for it? Or be safe and hit left, where a chip to the green awaits.
The course is designed with golfers’ abilities in mind. More than one hole has multiple ways to get to it, all based on risk and reward.
But this course is so impressive as a full body of work, from the restaurant to the new pro shop/clubhouse/restaurant and on to the putting green and driving range.
Oh, and the breakfast tacos are a great way to start or finish the day.
Tony Butler Golf Course
2640 Golf Course Dr., Harlingen
This course is a jewel of golf history. That alone is a striking impression for golfers of all levels and experience.
The 27-hole municipal course doesn’t, however, just rest on its laurels – something it could’ve easily done as pro golfers from all over the country flew in here to play with the Valley’s great golfer, Tony Butler.
What’s extremely appealing at this 27-hole course is the way it meanders through the natural South Texas terrain. Holes No. 6 and 13 are especially tranquil – for a golf course – as you find yourself in what feels like the deep woods. With mesquite trees, a holding pond, and plenty of vegetation in an area best described as “bushy.” Those two holes will definitely leave a lasting impression.
Some holes, like No. 23 — a 348-yard par 4 — are a hole that isn’t very difficult, but it can be. It’s the little “twists and turns” of this course that make it so enjoyable for golfers of any skill level
Most golfers are encouraged to lay up about 110 yards from the green where two ponds on each side of the fairway challenges golfers to “go for it.”
And the wild and crazy ones try – but that’s one of the best impressions golfers will leave with after a round here. They’ll go through all their clubs, relax in the holes that provide shade and comfort from the South Texas heat, and realize they walked a course where “other” legends also walked.
Treasure Hills Golf Club
3009 N. Augusta National Dr.
Treasure Hills is a treasure chest when it comes to golf in the Rio Grande Valley. One time it looked like it was going to be sold, but in 2015 new owners took over and the course is in beautiful shape and continues to work on improvements.
There are two completely different nine holes. The front nine is fairly wide open, with not many obstacles and very little homes in the way (how dare anyone put a home on a golf course!).
The back nine is where water comes in to play and is a little tougher. If there was a word that would describe a round of golf here, “pleasant” wouldn’t be a bad choice. Golfers will also enjoy the fact that there’s a breeze that runs through the course – not the Valley type of wind that makes you go crazy figuring out what club to choose – but a subtle and comforting wind.
It offers a tiny clubhouse with snacks and drinks, but it also has nice accessories. If you’re thinking about putting your clubs in the car at a moment’s notice and hitting the links, this is the place to give a shot.
Raymondville Municipal Golf Course
13839 Emma Ross Road, Raymondville
When you drive up to this municipal golf course you might be told that it's flat and not challenging. Really, what you're being told is don’t judge this book by its cover. It may be flat, but like all well laid out golf courses, it has its challenges and those are the first impressions you’ll take away.
A great example is No. 9, a par-3 that plays “just” 140 yards. Make sure to pick a long enough club because it's all over water. The green slants back to front – better known as back to water. You want to land short (but beware the water) but landing long is the safe shot, until you realize you are putting downhill (again, beware the water).
The par-5 No. 6 plays just about 500 yards. In front of the green is a little dip. This is the target, especially for those hitters who think they can hit the green in two, which is totally possible but not the easiest. If you're going to go for it in two, you will probably have to use a club with a little less loft, meaning the ball is going to go into the green screaming hot. This green is flat and if the line drive lands on the green, chances are you'll find it in the parking lot behind the green.
When you’re finished with this course, your impression of it will be more impressive than your first thoughts.