Thursday, May 23, 2019
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20190213 Favorite Golf Course Overall award Tierra SantaOne thing that you notice about the winning golf courses in the sixth annual Winter Texan Favorite Golf Course contest is that, well, there are always Winter Texans at those courses. Of course, that makes sense because those courses received the most votes, but there's something more than golf at play here.

It's not just about playing nine or 18. If the Winter Texans aren't playing, they're practicing. If they aren't doing either of those, they're enjoying the camaraderie of each other, maybe looking to meet someone to share a cart with or just sitting inside the clubhouse, eating breakfast or lunch and watching television. They'll play cards and do other things because they feel comfortable at these courses.

Tierra Santa Golf Club Wins First Place Valleywide

And for the third year in a row, Tierra Santa Golf Club in Weslaco won the Winter Texans' Favorite Golf Course Valleywide. The course, which ranges in length from 5,300 to 7,100-plus yards, captured nearly 30 percent of all the votes cast to edge out McAllen's Palmview Golf Course, which hauled in about 18 percent of the votes. Fourteen different courses from across the Rio Grande Valley received votes for the overall favorite course,

Winter Texans all across the Rio Grande Valley – from Howling Trails in La Joya to River Bend and South Padre Island – were asked what their favorite course was in three regions. They chose their favorite Upper Valley, Mid-Valley and Lower Valley course. Then, of course, they were asked to choose their favorite golf course overall.

“We're proud of our beautiful course,” said course owner Ezequiel “Zeke” Reyna. “We're thrilled our Winter Texans love us too.”

They'll have more things to love at Tierra Santa in the near future. Reyna said they are building a banquet center adjacent to the clubhouse, and will be doing some major renovations to the dining and pro shop area. More details will be made available in the near future.

It was a clean sweep for the course, which also won the favorite course in the Mid-Valley, securing nearly 65 percent of all votes cast. Second was Tony Butler Municipal Golf Course and third was a sleeper with Village Executive Golf Course in Weslaco.

To top is all off, Tierra Santa also captured the Winter Texans' favorite golf hole with No. 18, giving them the triple crown of Valley golf favorites. It's a hole that's challenging but can be forgiving – if you're patient.”

The green is protected in front and to the right by a lake. If you go long on your approach, you could end up easily out of bounds or on a hill where you have to tap down and hopefully make the ball stop. If you are trying to clear the lake but end up short...well, you know what happens there – lost ball and penalty stroke. But Winter Texans have experience to their advantage, and they use it on No. 18 according to Reyna,

“They will just come up along the left side safely and then hit onto the green,” he said. “You should see their faces light up if they come off that hole with a par. They're ecstatic.”

But there's a lot more than No. 18 at Tierra Santa.

With 14 lakes, and many strategically placed sand traps, Tierra Santa provides plenty of challenges for all levels of golfer. Par 3s are easily reached, for the most part, but where the ball lands will almost always make the difference between and birdie and a bogey.

This was the first year for the Favorite Golf Hole Contest and that, along with the other accolades, paints a more-than accurate-description of this Mid-Valley course, a beautiful golf course that does all the right things.

The course is located at 1901 Club de Amistad, Weslaco. Phone 956-973-1811.

Tony Butler Municipal Golf Course
Mid-Valley Second Place

20170209 Tony Bulter photo 2Tony Butler continues to be a favorite in the Mid-Valley for Winter Texans golfers. One of the things that Winter Texans especially love about the 27-hole facility is the option to play 18 or to jaunt over to the 9-hole course that measures a short 2,600 yards and is a par-35.

Eddie Merlin, director of golf at the club for 16 years, said the Winter Texan golfers are more than just visitors; they develop relationships with them just like the full-time residents.

“The course is in a lot better shape than it has been in quite a while. We have worked real hard on it,” Medlin said. “The Winter Texans, are a huge reason that there are so many courses in this small area. We love having our Winter Texans and build a relationship that goes beyond golf. We look forward to them showing up in November and December, and we are always sorry to see them leave in March and April. That goes beyond just the economical aspect of them being here. They are very special to us.”

Tony Butler also has some major historical value when it comes to South Texas Golf. Born in Ganado, Texas, on April 19, 1908, Tony Butler died at the age of 71 on Dec. 9, 1979, following a 49-year career in golf. He gained fame with the four wood as he occasionally played entire rounds of golf using only that club. He also was responsible for bringing a PGA tournament to the Valley with greats like Gene Sarazen attending.

Located at 2640 South M Street in Harlingen, the 18-hole section of the course measures 6,400 yards and is a par-71. Phone 956-216-5970.

Village Executive Golf Course
Mid-Valley Third Place

Last year, Long Island Village in Port Isabel sent the “big boy” courses reeling by being named as one of favorite Winter Texans golf courses.

This year, Village Executive Golf Course in Weslaco took on the sleeper role by grabbing third place as the most favorite course in the Mid-Valley – and probably one of the better golf restaurants considering the full name is Village Executive Golf Course and Taqueria Del Golf.

No. 5 is a 147-yard par 3 that plays closer to 140. You have to clear water (and a bird statue in the middle – something you don't see just anywhere) to get a shot at birdie, which is possible. But, as one person said, this hole comes down to one thing – you either make it, or you don't. And many, many people don't. It's also a very scenic hole on a well-kept golf course.

Before you even think about taking a swing on this dogleg left, ask someone who has played the course where to aim your tee shot. Of course, there's a pond that gets in the way and some shrub, but hidden behind that shrub, maybe just 130 yards away, is a welcoming green. So instead of hitting straight, cut the corner, get on the green and go for birdie. The alternative isn't anywhere near as pretty.

This may be one of the greenest golf courses in an area known for lack of precipitation. It is filled with shot-making choices and its yardage can be deceiving. Now would be a good time to check it out. Afterall, it is one of Winter Texans’ favorite golf courses in the Valley.