Maybe at one point in someone’s recent memory, Stuart Place Country Club in Harlingen was probably considered “Little Stuart.”
Now, it’s a golf giant. Underdog, or diamond in the rough, be gone. The secret is out and well-known.
Golfers, and probably several non-golfers, declared that the 9-hole course was their favorite course across the Valley during the Winter Texan Times annual Favorite Winter Texan Golf Course contest.
The par-36 course plays approximately 2,600 yards, is walkable and has enough challenges to give golfers at any level some risk and reward opportunities.
The course’s website states “Stuart Place. Where life can be enjoyed.” While golf plays the key component in the course, which is open to the public, there’s a certain ambiance that turns “playing a round” into having an “experience.” Maybe it’s the friendliest clubhouse in South Texas. Maybe it’s the people. Maybe it’s the course layout or a combination of all three and more.
Whatever it may be, the course that is known for “knowing everybody’s name” has erupted into a place where “everybody knows its name.”
Stuart Place is located at 155 Highland Dr. in Harlingen. Call (956) 428-2000 for information.
Of course, it only makes sense that Stuart Place also won Favorite Mid-Valley Course followed by Tierra Santa and a tie between Harlingen Country Club and Treasure Hills Golf Course.
Monte Cristo Golf & Country Club and Tierra Del Sol shared the nod for favorite Upper Valley course followed by Los Lagos Golf Club. Meanwhile, River Bend captured the favorite title in the Lower Valley, followed by Brownsville Golf Center and then South Padre Island Golf Club.
Tierra Santa Golf Club
A common theme in the courses considered the favorites across the Valley seems to be a reciprocal feeling of “take care of us and we’ll take care of you” as most of the courses have undergone improvements/changes focused on giving golfers the best experiences. Such is the case with Tierra Santa.
A course that is among the best designed with tricky holes, devilish wind and great rewards, Tierra Santa has made its appearance even more golfer friendly with improvements in the clubhouse, the grill and, of course, on the well-manicured course.
The course plays a whopping 7,139 yards for those who want to brave the course from the tips - including a 614-yard par-5. It’s 6,045 from the whites and 5,283 from the reds.
And, before or after, the new and improved Tony’s Grill has a wide variety of deliciousness on its breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus.
Tierra Santa is located at 1901 Club de Amistad in Weslaco. Call (956) 973-1811 for information.
Harlingen Country Club
A course unlike many in the Valley, Harlingen Country Club gives golfers that venerable feeling that they are playing somewhere special. One of the oldest courses in the Valley, HCC plays a manageable 6,541 from the tips and comes down to 5,625 from the whites and 5,035 from the reds. Length is great here. Accuracy is better.
Harlingen Country Club is located at 5500 El Camino Real in Harlingen. Call (956) 412-4100 for information.
Treasure Hills Golf Club
Elevation changes and grip-it-and-rip it holes keeps this treasure of a golf course among the favorites. The Robert Trent Jones Sr.-designed course plays 6,960 from the tips. It’s a scenic course with rolling terrain, water on many holes and a never-ending South Texas wind that blows through especially the holes that are wide open.
The course plays 5,422 from the golds and 5,230 from the reds. The course is located at 3009 Augusta National in Harlingen. Call (956) 425-1700 for information
Monte Cristo Golf and Country Club
Being a little removed from the middle of the busy cities throughout the Rio Grande Valley, Monte Cristo offers those who live there a country club atmosphere without the country club expenses. Take a little drive up 281 and you can find this gem of a course.
The course’s signature hole is a par-3 island hole that plays just 128 yards from the white tees. It’s a picturesque hole and the course will challenge golfers to make shots, not just hit it hard, wish it well.
Monte Cristo, a par-71 course, plays a modest 6,392 from the golds, 5,373 from the whites and 4,521 from the reds. It is located at 2919 N. Kenyon Road in Edinburg. Call (956) 381-0964 for information.
Tierra Del Sol
Nearly a decade ago, the City of Pharr shut down the course to make it bigger and better for golfers across the Valley. The reviews when it reopened and since have been nothing but exceptions. Since then, Tierra Del Sol has consistently grown in popularity – and there are more changes/improvements to come.
The par-72 course plays 6,827 from the tips, 5,820 from the golds and 5,266 from the reds. The course has several wide-open fairways but it’s still a challenge for all levels.
Tierra Del Sol is located at 700 E. Hall Acres Road in Pharr. Call (956) 402-4545 for information.
Los Lagos Golf Club
The uniqueness of this course cannot be overstated. It’s challenging – and the wind is a confusing and permanent fixture. Fairways lean toward the water everywhere, it seems, and the moguls permeated all 18 holes. The more you risk here, the greater the rewards. Patience, however, is the key.
Los Lagos plays a big 7,188 from the tips, made longer thanks to Mother Wind. It's 6,211 from the whites and 5,561 from the reds.
Los Lagos Golf Club is located at 1720 South Longoria Road in Edinburg. Call (956) 316-0444 for information
River Bend Golf Course
When you play River Bend you won’t feel like you’re in the Valley. This course has elevation changes like nowhere else in the Valley as the course meanders along the Rio Grande and provides some challenging holes and breathtaking views.
The course was once the best kept secret golf course in the Rio Grande a Valley. That’s no longer the case. Now, it’s one of the best courses, no secrets allowed. In the past few years, the course has removed trees and cleaned out the holes that run along the Rio Grande, providing golfers with a breathtaking view that is enough to bring them back to the course.
River Bend plays just 6,452 from the tips, 5,349 from the whites and a short, and fun, 4,778, from the reds.
The course is located at 4541 Military Highway in Brownsville. Call (956) 548-0192 for information.
Brownsville Golf Center
Whether you carry a single-digit handicap or no handicap at all, this is a course that always has open arms, friendly rates and a course that is integral to fun and entertainment in Cameron County and beyond.
Wide open fairways and large – yet quick – greens give golfers an opportunity to improve their game without being beaten up. The greens are large - but it doesn’t make them easy.
Brownsville Golf Center plays 6,144 yards from the blues, 5,652 from the whites and 5,091 from the reds. It is a par-70 18-hole course.
Brownsville Golf Center is located at 1800 W. San Marcelo Blvd. Call (956) 541-2582 for information.
South Padre Island Golf Club
If you live in Buffalo, New York, you have to go to Niagara Falls at least once. Likewise, and with that same sense of urgency, if you’re a golfer in the Valley, you must play South Padre Island Golf Course. It’s a bucket-list must.
The course has some of the most scenic holes in all of South Texas, overlooking the Laguna Madre. Don’t get caught daydreaming though, the layout is challenging, and the wind makes everything more challenging. The course has consistently worked on improving its cart paths, sand traps, natural beauty, and other areas in recent years.
The course plays nearly 7,000 yards from the tips (6,931), 5,552 from the whites and 5,200 from the reds. It also has gold tees that play 4,079 for the faint of heart.
South Padre Island Golf Club is located at 1 Golf House Road in Laguna Vista. Call (956) 943-4653 for information.