Monday, October 25, 2021
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Long Island Village – Winter Texans’ Favorite Golf Course

20200219 Long Island Village Golf Course aerialAfter three weeks of voting, Winter Texans have told us who their favorite golf course is this year. Winter Texans were asked to participate in a golf course survey for the past several weeks in which they voted for their all-around favorite golf course, and their favorite golf course by region as well. A big thank you to those the participated. Here are the top three favorite overall golf courses.


Two years ago, Long Island Village made its first appearance as a Winter Texan favorite earning second place in the Lower Valley, finishing between two perennial favorites – River Bend and South Padre Island course.

Read more: Long Island Village – Winter Texans’ Favorite Golf Course

Valley Star Awards deadline next week

You have seven more days to cast your vote for your favorite Wintertainers™. Your vote determines the winners for this year’s valley Star Awards. The deadline to turn in your ballot, or fill one out online, is 5 p.m., Wednesday, February 12.

Each year we ask the Winter Texans to help us choose the top Wintertainers™ who perform in the Winter Texan resorts in the Rio Grande Valley. This is your chance to decide who will receive the top awards at the annual Valley Star Awards Show, hosted by the Winter Texan Times and Robert and Billie Ferguson.

We will tally the votes and have them ready for the February 19 event that will be held at Mission Bell Resort, from 1 to 4 p.m.

Read more: Valley Star Awards deadline next week

Golf Favorites: Third Stop – River Bend Golf Course

20200205 RiverBendGolfCourse IMG 8548How long can a secret remain a secret, especially when more and more people discover that secret?

River Bend Golf Course and Country Club was once the best kept secret golf course in the Rio Grande a Valley.

Since then, however, ownership has not only marketed the course to Winter Texans inside and out of the country club, but they’ve also added a touch to make the challenging, but fun course, a more memorable event.

In the past two year, the course has removed trees and cleaned out the holes that run along the Rio Grande, providing golfers with a view that is enough to bring them back to the course.

Read more: Golf Favorites: Third Stop – River Bend Golf Course

Vote for your favorite golf course

20170209 GOLF PHOTOS SOUTH PADRE ISLANDThe deadline to vote for your favorite golf course is drawing near. You have until 5 p.m., Wednesday, February 12 to cast your vote. Your vote can be made by using the ballot located in the Winter Texan Times paper, or online at

This week, and the past two weeks, we have highlighted a favorite golf course from each area of the Valley. While you can consider voting for these again this year, consider the hidden gems that we published in November as well to help you with your votes this year.

Please review these stories and use your best judgement from your experience to place your vote on your favorite golf course in the Lower, Mid and Upper Valley.

Valley Star Wards offers great lineup of entertainment

20200129 VSA desert polynesiaEvery year, the Valley Star Awards offers a great lineup of entertainment – and this year is no different. The lineup includes some of the best Wintertainers™ performing in the Winter Texan parks and resorts during the Winter months. This year’s lineup includes Rick McEwen, Dave and Daphne, Tom Wurth, Desert Polynesia, Maggie Mae and Dan Smith, and Absolutely Country, Definitely Gospel.

Rick McEwen performs classic rock, classic country, rhythm and blues and soul music. He is a member of the Traditional Country Hall of Fame. He has performed with greats such as Earl Suggs, Webb Pierce and The Dillards. He has opened for Waylon Jennings, George Jones, Loretta Lynn, Dottie West and other county legends.

Dave Salyer has toured the world with Barbara Mandrell, performed for presidents at the White House and has appeared on countless TV shows. Daphne Anderson has toured with some of the greatest Southern Gospel Groups and has been described as a cross between Shania Twain and Patsy Cline. Together, they perform country music and Daphne yodels.

Read more: Valley Star Wards offers great lineup of entertainment

Golf Favorites: Second Stop – Tierra Santa Golf Club

20200129 TierraSanta The Rio Grande Valley golf landscape is unique. There are no real elevation changes (unless you count moguls), leaves will never fall in the fairway enough to cover your ball and you will never be unable to play due to snow.

That pretty much means year-round golf.

Last week we featured a Valley favorite – Palm View Golf Course. In today’s edition we will take a look at another favorite – Tierra Santa Golf Club. The next issue will feature a Lower-Valley area favorite.

By filling out the survey, you could win free rounds of golf or other prizes – just by voting for your favorite RGV golf courses. You can fill out the form in today’s edition of the Winter Texan Times (or the next two issues) or fill out the form online at All entries must be received by 4 p.m., Wednesday, February 12.

Read more: Golf Favorites: Second Stop – Tierra Santa Golf Club

Golf Favorites: First Stop – Palm View Golf Course

20200122 PalmView IMG 9636The Rio Grande Valley golf landscape is unique. There are no real elevation changes (unless you count moguls), leaves will never fall in the fairway enough to cover your ball and you will never be unable to play due to snow.

That pretty much means year-round golf.

In today’s edition we will take a look at one of last year's Upper-Valley Favorites – Palm View Golf Course. Then the next two issues we look at a favorite from the Mid- and Lower-Valley areas.

By filling out the survey, you could win free rounds of golf or other prizes – just by voting for your favorite RGV golf courses. You can fill out the form in today’s edition of the Winter Texan Times (or the next two issues) or fill out the form online at All entries must be received by 4 p.m., Wednesday, February 12.

Read more: Golf Favorites: First Stop – Palm View Golf Course

It’s time to vote for your favorite entertainers

2020122 Dave Daphne promo picShows and dances hosted by mobile home and RV parks and resorts are attended in numbers by the Winter Texans that spend their winters here in the Rio Grande Valley. The parks and resorts spend a lot of effort getting popular wintertainers to perform at their venues. Each year, the Valley Star Awards, hosted by Robert Ferguson and the Winter Texan Times, presents awards to the Rio Grande Valley’s top Winter Texan entertainers – are as we call them, “Wintertainers™.”

This year’s Valley Star Awards will be held on Wednesday, February 19, from 1 to 4 p.m. at Mission Bell Resort. Lunch will be available from 12 to 1 p.m.
So now it’s time to vote for your favorite Wintertainers™ - and the Entertainer of the Year for 2020.

Read more: It’s time to vote for your favorite entertainers

Victoria Palms Restaurant

The Man, The Myth, The Legend?

                                   Omelet you decide

If you have never had an omelet made by Dave at the Victoria Palms Restaurant located at Victoria Palms RV Park, the experience is a must. In fact, recently a couple drove from Rio Hondo to Donna to partake of a masterpiece creation by “The Omelet Guy.”

“I told them they probably had passed 50 restaurants that served omelets,” said Rountree, in his 11th season making omelets and waffles and more for customers. “They said they read it in the newspapers and just had to come and try one.”

Similarly, I had to try what is becoming a local legend - an omelet by Dave.

“It’s just an omelet,” Dave said as he tossed some mushrooms, onions, bacon and jalapeños into what was to become my three-egg breakfast, with hash browns and wheat toast. “It’s not rocket science, or I wouldn’t be doing it.”

Dave is coming up on his 100,000th omelet being served in his 11 seasons here. He began as a breakfast cook in St. Louis back in 1969, hitchhiking from the Valley not long after graduating from PSJA High that May.

“I started as a breakfast cook in St. Louis and now I’m a breakfast cook here,” he joked. “With a lot of mileage in between.”

The omelet was perfect - and a meal in itself. Soon, others lined up asking for a variety of Dave’s creations.

The omelet, however, is just part of breakfast. For the complete experience, one needs to just sit near Dave, and, for no additional charge, a fantastic conversation will surely ensue.

“This is the time of year when grandchildren will come visit their grandparents here,” Dave said. “This one girl told me I was making her first omelet. I asked her old she was, and she said she was 12.

“I told her the bad thing was that if she lives to be 100, she won’t have one that’s better than her first.”

Dave loves to cook. He loves to talk with people. Once a month he will cook for 52 people - 26 in one group and 26 in another - from the deck of he and his wife, Lynne’s, trailer.

“When I retire - not anytime soon as long as I can put my feet down and come here - I’m thinking about cooking from home like that once a week. I love to cook.”

And that’s a good thing. From omelets to fluffy and crispy waffles, the “Omelet guy” is a must to add to your bucket list. Maybe you’ll be the lucky one to eat his 100,000th omelet at Victoria Palms. If not, you’re still lucky to experience Dave and an omelet any chance you get.

Golfers share their favorite Hidden Gems

golf follow up2For six months out of the year, John McCutcheon works on a golf course cutting grass as the Legacy Ridge’s groundskeeper in Owenstown, Ontario.

Now, however, he and his wife are back in the Rio Grande Valley and enjoying the weather, food and friendly people at their Victoria Palms winter home. And for these six months, McCutcheon is playing golf instead of working it.

“Whenever I can get out on the golf course, I’m just thrilled,” said McCutcheon, who has been golfing for 49 years, since he was 16 years old. “A friend back home was telling me he just pulled his boat off the dock and he was walking on ice. He said it turned icy Nov. 12, the earliest in 50 years.

“So, yeah, I’m pretty thrilled to be on a golf course any day here.”

McCutcheon, like most golfers, have his favorite courses and within those favorite courses there are a few holes that are more enjoyable to play for the golfer than others– it could be because of the challenge, or because they do well on it or simply because of the scenery and nature. These are the course’s hidden gems, holes that rise up to the player’s favorites list and keeps them coming back for more.

McCutcheon said he plays Tierra Santa, Los Lagos and Palmview the most, but added that “Palmview is the most challenging because all the balls run into the water.”

“Tierra Santa is close, so we play that one a lot. I think the thing down here that’s different, and I like, is the fact that the fairways are wide, especially at Tierra Santa. They are very forgiving, there are no out of bounds.”

Almost every golfer who has played anywhere in the Valley probably knows of Tierra Santa’s No. 18, possibly the most challenging, and picturesque ending hole in the RGV. Of course, it’s the first one McCutcheon mentions when talking about his list of “hidden gems.”

“No. 18 at Tierra Santa is very challenging and fun to play,” he said.

“Another one I enjoy that’s challenging is the little par 3 at Los Lagos, it’s kind of like an island green and you never know what the wind is going to do out there.”

Another extremely popular hole at Tierra Santa is the split fairway No. 8. A golf can try to go over the water on the left side, or be safe and go right – then still have to go over water for an approach shot into the green.

“You can find water on every shot on that hole,” McCutcheon said. “I’ve taken a 7-iron down the right side and then another into the green and I feel more comfortable there. I enjoy playing that hole.”

McCutcheon has one hole-in-one to his name, that came back in Meaford, Ontario, off a tee box that was elevated 150 feet, making the shot to the green downhill.

“I was playing with my son and we couldn’t see the green and we didn’t know where it went,” he said. “Usually my best shot is like that, one you can’t see.”

Barry Janssen also loves challenges and he said that he gets a good challenge especially with holes No. 8 and 18 at Llano Grande Golf Course and with 1 and 11 at Tony Butler Municipal Course in Harlingen.

He especially likes starting off his round with the big dogleg right at Tony follow up1

“It’s a real big dogleg and if you don’t get your tee shot in the right spot, you are almost guaranteed to not get over the creek on the second shot,” said Janssen, a Minnesota native who lives in Lakewood Village and enjoys playing Llano Grande, Tony Butler, Monte Cristo and Treasure Hills golf courses.

“I also like No. 11 there. It’s a little shorter par 4 from 340 yards out, but with a good drive you can reach the green because it’s downhill after that. You can make quite a few birdies on that hole.”

Janssen actually picked up the sport when some of his softball teammates saw how far he could crush a softball – the same can be said now off the tee.

“I liked hitting the crap out of it,” Janssen said, adding he didn’t start playing golf until he was 29 or 30 years old. “But I’ve learned in the past year or so to slow down and hit the ball square and it will go just as far as if you’re trying to hit the crap out of it.”

Janssen added the biggest difference to him on South Texas golf courses is the grass.

“I just wish I could get out more often to play. I was a contractor for 47 years and was out working whether it was 87 degrees or 20-below. I’d be working today, so I’m glad to be down here.”“It’s a lot different,” he said. “The fairways up there are almost like carpet, except for the six inches of leaves down the middle when fall arrives. I’d say, though, that the challenges are different, but over all about the same.

David Engstrom, of Kansas City, has been coming to the Valley for the past eight years and started golfing “30 or 40 years ago,” he said. He lives at Stuart Place in Harlingen and leans toward that course as his favorite, even though he also enjoys Treasure Hills.

“It’s not overly long but it does test you,” Engstrom said of Stuart Place, a nine-hole course. “You have to hit the ball straight to stay in the fairway and the greens are good. You’ll be rewarded with a good putt.”

His favorite gem is No. 6, a long par 5 where each shot is paramount in setting up the next shot.

“You need to hit a great tee shot and second shot and then you have to get over water to get to the green,” he said. “But if you do all those things then you will have a shot to be rewarded with a birdie.”
Of course, on any hole there’s also the wretched South Texas wind to face.

“You know how the wind is down here, No. 6 is a hole that plays into the wind a lot of the time

 because it faces south and that adds a lot of challenge to it,” he said. “A golf buddy told me once that wind doesn’t affect a well hit shot but one thing about wind is if you hit with a little slice or hook it makes it a big slice or hook, if you hit under it, it will make bigger what you’d done wrong. But 6 is also reachable if you have the wind behind you – and you hit a great tee shot.”

Engstrom is still waiting for his first hole-in-one (“there will be a big party when that happens”) but said that the “Valley needs to do more to get the word out about this place and about the Valley itself.”

“First of all, Stuart Place is the best kept golf course and best kept secret in the Valley,” he said. “It’s just like the Valley – the Valley is the best keep secret in the nation.”

Now, that is truly a hidden gem.

Taste of the Valley
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Valley Star Awards
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