Thursday, March 21, 2019
Text Size

20181218 BROWNSVILLE GOLF CENTER NOThis is the final installment of a three-part series highlighting some of our favorite holes to play at the Rio Grande Valley’s golf courses. With this series we are inviting Winter Texan golfers to tell us which holes are their favorites – and while you’re at it, maybe win some cool prizes. Your choice holes can be from any of the Valley’s public golf courses, or country clubs that are open to the public.

You can vote for your favorites either online at www.wintertexantimes.com, or use the ballot printed in today’s edition of the paper. We are looking for the Top Ten Winter Texan Favorite Golf Holes, so you can choose up to ten holes as your favorites, ranking them 1 to 10.

Everyone who votes will be entered in a drawing for prizes, such as free rounds of golf at local golf courses. Entry deadline is December 31, 2018.

Here is part two in our series about some of our favorite holes. Check them out and see how they stack up against yours.

Alamo Country Club
438 Country Club Dr, Alamo
(956) 787-0910

Self-proclaimed as the best kept secret in South Texas, the Alamo Country Club golf course may truly be just that.

Hole No. 5 is a challenging par 3 that forces all golfers to fly the green to avoid a well-kept pond that guards it. In fact, it surrounds about 70 percent of the green. In addition to the water, a large bunker creates issues for anyone who avoids the water but misses the green. There is also a 50-foot palm tree that stands between the tee and the green. You must either hit over it or around it AND avoid the water and sand to land safely on this extremely sloped green.

No. 1 at Alamo CC is a short par 4 with out of bounds on both sides. You have to fly the water and avoid the palm trees that line the right side of the fairway. The right half of the green is guarded by three large palm trees that affect many approaching shots. Being too aggressive on this hole can create a large starting score for your day. Avoid the obstacles, however, and you could have an easy birdie.

Ebony Hills
300 W. Palm Dr. Edinburg
(956) 292-2144

Another course that is considered not too challenging, Ebony Hills and the South Texas wind will make the easy, tough and the tough impossible.

No. 2 could be any of those – easy, tough or impossible. The 530-yard, par 4 gives the golfer a straightaway shot toward a green that is protected by a hazard in front. A good golfer (or one who thinks he's good) can get on the green with two good shots. However, when the wind comes in from the northwest, if you're not hitting long and straight, a 6 on the scorecard is a good score – write it down and run with it.

No. 6 is a long par 4 where accuracy is a big plus. You can be a 300-yard hitter but with out of bounds on the left and trees lining the right, you're going to have to hit it as straight as possible down a narrow fairway. Even then, your approach shot is onto a narrow green. Stick it and you'll be rewarded; go left or right and you'll be wondering why they told you the course “wasn't too challenging” after dealing with this hole and No. 2 – you're just a third of the way done.

Raymondville Municipal Golf Course
13839 Emma Ross Road, Raymondville
(956) 690-4068

The first thing that they'll tell you at this municipal golf course is that it's flat and not challenging. Prod the people in the pro shop a little more and you start realizing that even “flat and not challenging” has its challenges.

No. 9 is a par3 that plays 140 yards but make sure to pick a long enough club because it's all over water. The green slants back to front, which brings more challenges. 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).

No. 6 is a little par 5 that plays just about 500 yards. In front of the green is a little dip and hill. This is one's target, especially for all 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 truly is flat and if the line drive lands on the green, chances are you'll find it in the parking lot behind the green. However, if you can put that approach into the dip in front, you could get a great kick and a shot at eagle.

Brownsville Golf Center
1800 W. San Marcelo Blvd., Brownsville
956-541-2582

So you've just finished 17 holes in the wind and heat of South Texas. You have a good round going. You're a little tired from the long day but there's just one hole to play, but this hole can either turn a bad round into a good one or turn a good round into throwing the scorecard away a soon as you get back to the pro shop.

You 'll need your mental toughness for this 580-yard, par 5 that plays over 600 yards if the wind decides to come out. The hole is a dogleg left and the key is how much you can draw around the dogleg. Hit your tee shot too long and straight, and you're in trouble. Don't make it to the 200 yard mark from the tee, you're in trouble. Draw it nicely and you could leave yourself 250 yards out for a long, but possible second shot into the green. Oh yeah, and there's water on the left and houses on the right.

According to the scorecard, No. 5 – a 113-yard, par-3 – is the second easiest hole on the course. Maybe it means just the most easily deceptive. There's water all along the left side from tee to green, there are houses on the right, and if you hit it about 100 yards into a green the size of some counties, you will be fine – except now you have to putt. The large inviting green might make it easy to just hit a ball casually, knowing that a football field is waiting to bring in your ball. The problem is that there's a little ridge along the right side and the ball will roll back down. If you land too far from the pin, because you were hypnotized by the size of the green, a four-putt is not unlikely and a three-putt is almost definite. Key here – go for the flag.

20181218 No. 4 part 2 village executiveVillage Executive Golf Course
3300 S International Blvd, Weslaco
(956) 968-6516

First of all, the full name of this course on their Facebook page is Village Executive Golf Course and Taqueria del Golf. We're just putting it out there, but the name alone bring along enough curiosity to take a drive and see what this course has to offer.

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.

Valley International Country Club
301 McFadden, Brownsville
(956) 548-9199

Valley International Country Club used to get lost in the mix but over the past few years, more and more golfers are realizing that this course is a pleasant one to play, with a layout that makes the most of water hazards (our favorite type of hazards) and fairways are either bordered or dissected by a resaca.

No. 10 is a 148-yard, par 3 and one of the few that doesn't have too much in terms of hazards, except for water on the right hand side. The fairway is narrow but the green is welcoming so if you hit it straight, you don't have to worry about the narrow (we said it again for emphasis) fairway. After all, it's just 148 – how tough can it be?

No. 3 is another version of No. 10, but there's no water and the fairway is a little more open if you end up short. It starts narrow but it widens at the green, giving you some room for error. The green is decent size but don't let that fool you; the pin is usually tucked away and a two-putt is a good ending, even though the way the hole is set up, you should expect a birdie – but don't we expect that on every hole we play?

20181218 IMG 1037Howling Trails Golf Course
1910 Hole In One Dr., Palmview
(956) 323-2165

Two par-5s highlight this vastly improving course that is run by the La Joya school district. No. 6, a 543-yard, par 5 is the signature hole and is guarded by a pond right in front. Most golfers will need to lay up at a comfortable distance to make sure they get a good approach into the green and a shot at and up-and-down birdie. Others (most people probably) will just go for it on their second shot. A long iron or hybrid could get you there and the greens will hold the shot, unless of course it's a screeching line drive. If you end up laying up, take advantage of the right side, where the fairway wraps around. Don't be fooled – it's not an island green, the water just sucks in errant shots at a very high rate.

If you're a golfer who can't hit the ball straight and keeps going from one side of the fairway to the other, this may be a good hole for you – as long as you start out by hitting left. This 532-yard par-5 has a wooded area along the right side from the tee box. This will open up the fairway for an approach shot, which you now need to keep on the right side because water goes along the left side for the remainder. After that it's a simple pitch and one putt for birdie. (We sure made that sound easy, huh?)