Rancho Viejo Resort and Country Club is home to two 18 hole courses – El Angel and El Diablo. El Diablo, which translates to "the Devil" is not at all devilish but it is a little harder than El Angel thanks to an additional 350 yards, tighter fairways, and some challenging approaches.
El Angel is not real demanding, in fact it's a real sweetheart and lives up to it's name of the "Angel." Rancho Viejo's El Angel provides a relaxing, non threatening, and enjoyable round with an opportunity to turn in a very good score.
El Angel plays through the Rancho Viejo community and most of the fairways are lined by a variety of trees (mesquite, palm ebony, and Austrian pines) on one side and homes on the other side – some of the homes are huge and beautiful.
From the tee box you can typically see the pin and what you're up against and usually you can pull out the driver and let-er-rip. You'll need to manage the angles thanks to 12 holes with dog legs left or right, the water on 10 holes, and the 44 bunkers. And the capricious Gulf Breezes can create some challenges. The par 3s on Rancho Viejo Resort's El Angel Course are fantastic as well as challenging – you'll need to carry the water (called Resacas which were the ancient waterways of the Rio Grande Delta) to well guarded greens.
The fairways are flat and hard (thanks to a very dry season) and you'll get a lot of extra roll. Generally speaking, the fairways are ample and forgiving off the tee box and all the way to the green.
The greens are large, in good shape, average speed, relatively flat, and hold the ball well – meaning putting is not a challenge. All of the greens have at least one bunker and 10 have two or more, but thanks to the large greens and fringe, we didn't have a lot of trouble avoiding them.
The bunker range in size from pot size to a little bigger than most bunkers. Rancho Viejo, like other courses in the Rio Grande Valley, have a challenge keeping sand in the bunkers thanks to the wind and other factors. Some of the bunkers were sand-less and others had various depths of hard and gritty sand – do what you can to avoid ending up in the bunkers, they can be challenging to get out of.
Both of Rancho Viejo's golf courses are only available to members, winter Texans, and resort guests. Rancho Viejo has some excellent Stay & Play packages with very good lodging and reasonable rates that can include meals as well as unlimited golf. Read our review of Rancho Viejo's Stay & Play – we really enjoyed and can highly recommend a stay with them.
Service is good and very friendly, the restaurant is excellent, the range is good, and the pro shop has everything you need. Pace of play is fantastic. Rancho Viejo Resort and Country Club is also home to an excellent golf school.