The Winter Texan Play Days are in full strength here at Cimarron. Every first and third Mondays of the month we open our doors to those Winter Texans who are not members.

Next, Iíd like to thank Fred Sandoval who wrote me via email asking me what I think are the toughest, nicest and easiest courses in the Valley.

First, let me say that all of the courses in our area can be very difficult if the winds are blowing more than 20 mph. I guess that means a normal day for most of us here in the RGV. Obviously, Iím partial to Cimarron but I donít think itís at all difficult, as it plays well with high winds.

For myself, I donít care much for our Par 5s as they take driver out of my hands. Hole No. 1 and 6, for example, punish a long drive, as there are water hazards awaiting balls hit too far. Then, on the back nine, hole no. 14 has a bunker that will catch a ball hit too far and also a hazard on the left if the ball goes too far. The last par 5 is the 18th hole. Again, a driver isnít needed there. Itís all about placement. Golfers need to place their tee shots on the very far-left side of the fairway in order to make it play its shortest.

Another corky aspect of Cimarron is the par 3s. There are four of them and its possible that one could end up hitting the same club to all four of them. All in all, Cimarron is a great place to play because of the excellent overall shape of the course. As a matter of fact, last month during our last MGA event the green speeds were measured at 11.5.

Last weekend I had the pleasure to take my son on a golf car around McAllen Country Club. Mike Perez, PGA was kind enough to allow myself the pleasure of driving around in a golf car with my 3-year-old son who loves golf and everything associated with it. While my wife was shopping at the mall, Will Jr. and myself had a great time. McAllen CC has wonderful trees. My son and I counted at least a dozen squirrels on one hole. Next we saw large fish in the pond fronting the green on the back nine.

Additionally, my son loves planes and there were plenty taking off and landing, as MCC is located just next to the McAllen Airport. Finally, lots of friendly birds in the hundreds of mesquite trees along their course. MCC is a beautiful setting with lots of friendly members always ready with a smile.

Los Lagos is a big hitterís dream come true. While Los Lagos is the longest of all the Valley courses, itís also the most wide open. There isnít a tree to be found on the course. However, there are lots of rabbits all over the course which makes one think of Easter, even before Christmas.

Seven Oaks (now Meadow Creek) is a favorite among winter tourists. It maximum length is only 6,000 from the tips and generally has slower green speeds. Last time I was there was 1999, so I canít comment on its current shape.

Tierra Del Sol is the pride and joy of the city of Pharr. Without question this is where most winter Texans have played or will play this winter. Having a RV park as its neighbor, its hard to imagine them not playing there. Tierra Del Sol has good length, fairly wide open. However, the greens tend to play very firm. Every time I have played there I have had to allow the ball several bounces to stop on the greens. Also, the greens tend to break much less than what they read.

The Palms of Mid-Valley in Mercedes is another hit among the winter tourists. Again, very few trees and oftentimes there is little separation among the fairways. Just watch out of stray balls from adjoining fairways. I havenít played there in 10 years, but according to fellow PGA member Joe Powell, its in the best shape ever from the heavy rains and flooding the area endured over the summer.

Harlingen Country Club is a great place to play. Its one of the easier courses in the area and always in good shape. I havenít seen their new multi-million dollar clubhouse, but I have heard good things. If you are ever asked to be guest at this private club, drop what you are doing that day and go play it.

Tierra Santa, when it opened, was the Augusta National of the RGV. Since that time, things have changed but one thing has remained the same ó driving the golf ball. Itís my favorite course to hit the driver and hit it hard. The fairways are 40 yards wide on most holes and there isnít a tree to be found.

Treasure Hills is a tough track! The par 3s are tough and so are the last three holes. Sadly, this gem of a course has had some bad luck in the past with its management. Hopefully its current operators get it right and it stays open for years to come. If you play this course, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to find it as it weaves its way through a nice neighborhood with poor signage, so its easy to get lost.

The Tony Butler course is owned and operated by the city of Harlingen. Without question, a true favorite to our friends from the north who spends their winters here.

Rancho Viejo El Diablo (The Devil) is a true championship course. Back in 1976 it hosted the final stage of PGA Tour Q-School. Today, the stars that made it through at the Old Ranch are Peter Jacobson, Curtis Strange and Jay Hass. Sadly, these guys endured one of the harshest northern cold fronts to hit the RGV that year and they havenít been back since. A few years ago the LPGA Futures tour played their first event there and the winning score was well over par. This, by far, is one of the toughest courses in the Valley. Lately, they have even been opening their doors to public play.

South Padre Island Golf Club aka bring a dozen! Itís possible to lose a dozen on this course if you donít have a straight ball. By far, this course has the best greens and views of all the Valley courses.

Brownsville Golf Center, great Winter Texan course. Easy to walk and easy to play. Itís well located in Brownsville.

VICC is a tough course with long par 4s. The only drawback to this course is it doesnít have a practice tee and the greens tend to be slow.

Riverbend in Brownsville offers beautiful views of Mexico as you play it. However, it makes my list as the least walkable course in our area. I recall playing there with my dad several years ago. We were walking and carrying our clubs. The walk from one green to the next tee was so long I thought that I was walking back to McAllen.

In Summary:

Toughest Course: Rancho Viejo óDiablo & Treasrue Hills(Tie)

Easiest to play and Walk Brownsville Golf Center

Best Greens: South Padre Island

Best Views: South Padre Island The 3rd and 4th holes are the best anywhere

Best Value: Los Lagos

Least Walk able: Riverbend

The course I will play nextÖCimarron of course!

As a disclaimer, I realize I have omitted some courses. The reason is I have yet to play them. It isnít fair for me to comment on a course I have never played. So there you have it!

Thank you to Fred Sandoval for your question and I hope my answer was trough enough. Please keep them coming.

Tip of the week: Before leaving the range try to hit with the club that your most likely to hit on your first tee shot of the day. For example, if you are starting on a hole where you normally hit 3-wood then end your warm up session with some 3-wood shots.

Triva Question: How many holes in one have I had? (First Correct answered email to me gets a free lesson)

Until next time, Iíll see you at the Lessons Tee.

Will Borowski, PGA

The Club at Cimarron