Sunday, December 16, 2018
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20181205 Long Island Village Golf Course aerial FEATDespite all the rumors and comments, the wind is NOT always in your face on every hole of every golf course in the Rio Grande Valley.
It's not true; not a chance. And as soon as we find out which hole it is, you'll read about it right here in the Winter Texan Times. We promise.

But for now we want to hear about your favorite holes in the Valley. You see, golfers are a unique breed. They can remember a hole they enjoyed playing – just once – 25 years ago down to the smallest of details (the pin was sitting 12 yards from the center on the back right edge of the green – and other mystifying facts).

That's why we're counting on you. We want you to pick your favorite holes at public courses in the Rio Grande Valley. Not your favorite golf course – we’ll have that contest in January-February. But for this contest we want you to tell us which holes you like most. Pick no more than two holes per golf course and choose up to 10 favorites. You could pick one hole or two holes per course, up to 10 picks. You don’t have to pick all 10, just pick as many as you like.

To vote for your favorite holes, go online at www.wintertexantimes.com and complete the online ballot. And everyone who votes in our contest will be entered in our drawing for free rounds of golf and other prizes. Entry deadline is December 31, 2018.

Following is the first of a three-part series featuring some of the Valley's signature holes at public courses. Feel free to send us your input and be sure to vote for your favorite holes. Then we’ll announce which holes are the winners of the Winter Texans’ Favorite Golf Holes contest.

These are some of our favorite holes. If you haven’t tried them, you might want to play these courses and check them out for yourself before you cast your vote.

Monte Cristo Golf and Country Club
2919 N. Kenyon Road, Edinburg

(956) 381-0964
Most courses are just a stone's throw off Highway 2, running from Howling Trails in La Joya to Brownsville Golf Center or South Padre Island Golf Club.

Monte Cristo isn't one of them. This course is up Highway 281 and on Kenyon Road, and adjacent to Wrigley's RV Park.

The signature hole is No. 13, a par 4 island hole that sits 128 yards from the white tees. You're going to want to land short on this beautifully laid out hole. Par is a great score but it's tempting to go for that birdie. The course also has a 466-yard, par 5 to end your first nine. It is scenic, challenging and can either start you off on a great note at No. 10 or have you looking at ways to make up some strokes.

20181205 Favorite Golf Holes Miller Tierra Santa No

Tierra Santa Golf Club
1901 Club de Amistad, Weslaco
(956) 973-1811
Whether you've had a good round or a round to forget, you're going to end your day on one of the Valley's most beautiful and challenging holes. One of the nicest closing holes in the Valley is the 407-yard, par 4 No. 18 that ends with a daring long shot over a lake, unless you take the safe route and go up along the left side. (But does anyone do that?)

Tierra Santa has wide open fairways, but fairways that dogleg left and right and being on the wrong side of one could add 100 yards to next shot – the wind can seem especially aggressive on this course. A perfect example is right off the bat at No. 1, a 358-yard, par 4. Keep your tee shot down the middle on this late dogleg left. You want to be far enough right so you can see your next shot – but go too far left and you're hitting from the driving range.

20181205 Favorite Golf Holes Miller Los Lagos NoLos Lagos Golf Course
1720 South Longoria Rd., Edinburg
(956) 316-0444
One of the more unique courses in the Valley, often considered a links-style course, Los Lagos is inundated with rolling hills, fairways that lean toward water and sand traps, residential areas blocking you (well trying to block you) from cutting off those doglegs, tiered putting greens – and wind.

The par 3 No. 14 hole is the course's top handicap hole and signature hole. It plays 140, but pin placement is critical on this kidney-shaped green that is guarded by water on the left and a very large pot bunker. This is a hole where undoubtedly you will have to take the wind into consideration.

No. 18 is a par 5, 502-yard bomb of a hole. If you haven't met the South Texas winds by the time you got here, feel blessed. The yardage is long enough but the sand, wind and water make this a hole you'll want to be patient with.

Tierra del Sol
700 E. Hall Acres Road, Pharr
(956) 702-2320
Standing on No. 6 at Tierra del Sol, on a peninsula-styled tee box, the 130-yard shot seems easy. Just clear the water, don't go left or right either out of bounds or in some difficult grass and don't go long...and it's not even the course's signature shot.
A course that is still rising from improvements ranging from tee-to-green cart paths to leveling tee boxes, Tierra del Sol's signature hole is the 400-plus yard No. 5, a par 4 with water along the right and out of bounds on the left. Catching the wind on this hole could turn it into a bogey or worse in no time at all.

Playing from the back, black tees the course will carry 6,700 yards or more, but players can choose one of two other sets to heavily cut down the distance while still keeping it challenging.

20181205 Favorite Golf Holes Miller Palm View NoPalm View Golf Club
2701 S. Ware Road, McAllen
(956) 681-3444
Palm View is a course with many options. There are plenty of safe shots, but there is also danger lurking with every club selection. No. 9 is a 372-yard, par 4 that fades right the entire time. Water rides parallel along the entire length of the fairway and your landing area for a long drive is the thinnest of areas for this course.

No. 18 is a 467-yard, par- 5 harsh dogleg left. If you can draw your ball around the turn you could be in the perfect spot. If you draw it too much, you have large trees, a sand trap and an uphill blind shot to the green.

20181205 Long Island Village Golf Course aerial FEATLong Island Village Golf Course
950 S. Garcia St., Port Isabel
(956) 943-3113
This course is an 18-hole, par 3 course with holes ranging from 44 to 146 yards. Don't let that fool you. Bring some mid- to long- irons with you. Hole No. 3 is just 109 yards but there is water along the right and it juts in front of the hole right at the end – and the pin is usually buried behind the water. So, stay safe by going to the left side of the green, or go for a tough birdie.

Hole No. 8 is 112 yards – the second longest – and is the No. 2 handicap hole on the course. Water surrounds most of the hole; don't go long or right or short, and a secondary landing area is tucked in short and to the right with a retaining wall one has to chip over to get to the green.

201081205 GOLF PHOTOS SOUTH PADRE ISLAND2South Padre Island Golf Club
1 Golf House Road, Laguna Vista
(956) 943-4653
Don't relax just because there's a lot of beautiful scenery. This course has challenges (and wind) at every turn. No. 9 is a long 428-yard, par 4 where you have to clear water right off the tee, land in a tight area and right – water is all on the left – and maneuver around the bunkers to try for a clear shot to the green. The hole fades right.

No. 18 is another par 4, shaped like a crescent moon. You can take off as much as you dare by hugging the left side, but if you hit it too far, it's going for a swim. A strong draw plays nice but there's plenty of problems if you draw too hard to the left as well. Might be worth swallowing your pride and hitting an iron up the middle for a better approach.

20181205 Favorite Golf Holes Miller River Bend NoRiver Bend Golf Course
4541 Military Hwy 281, Brownsville
(956) 465-1141
At least there are no bunkers on this well-kept secret of a golf course. Holes No. 1 and 2 will tell you right off the bat that, while there's no sand, there are plenty of traps and challenges on this court. No. 1 is a 288-yard, par 4 that doglegs left. You can try to clear the water that sits 10 yards in front of the hole, or play it safe – yeah, may as well go for it. It's No. 1 after all right? Right after that, you face the No. 1 handicap hole on the course, the150- or 205-yard (based on where the tee markers are) par 3. This is simple – stay straight, clear the rough that shoots out about 110 yards before a landing area appears. A little right or a little left and you'll be counting those penalty strokes.