Review of Tierra Santa Golf Club in Weslaco, TX
Rated by Golf Digest as a 4 Star "Place to Play" in 2008, Tierra Santa Golf Club is clearly one of the best golf courses in the Rio Grande Valley. Tierra Santa Golf Course is semi-private and was designed by Jeff Brauer with help from Steve Elkington and opened for play in 1997. This is a links style course that is typified by a fun and interesting layout, open and forgiving fairways, huge greens, lots of berms, and pretty good conditions.
With four tee boxes and yardages from 7139 to 5283 you should be able to find a range that fits your style of play – don’t be too macho and bite off more than you can chew. Check with the wind – the prevailing winds can play havoc with your score. With a rating of 73.6 and slope of 124 from the tips (71.3 and 121 from the forward tees), Tierra Santa Golf Course is no walk in the park. You’ll encounter a little bit of everything from forced carries, to elevated and challenging green complexes, water coming into play on several holes and sometimes twice on the same hole, and plenty of traps, tall mounds, swales, and some deep grass bunkers. Brauer must have moved many millions of cubic feet of dirt and sand to create the contoured fairways and all the dramatic mounding out of some flat ranch land. We really enjoyed playing Tierra Santa.
The front nine meanders through the Tierra Santa planned residential development community and some beautiful huge homes of many different architectural styles line some of the fairways. This nine seemed to be a little more fun, more demanding, and the more interesting of the two nines. The fairways and roughs also seemed more lush and plush and in a little bit better condition than the back nine. There are also a couple of very fun, challenging, and memorable holes like
- #3 a short 384 yard par 4 that demands accuracy all the way to the cup thanks to having to carry a lake off the tee box to a landing zone with water and bunkers followed by a somewhat tough approach
- #7 which is a 547 yard dog leg right with water on the left side of the tee and fairway and again on the right side from 150 yards out all the way to and around the right side of an uphill green.
The back nine of Tierra Santa gives you a great opportunity to have an excellent round – it is more open with generous with much straighter fairways, large playable roughs, huge greens, and more straightforward holes with no homes in sight. But again, don’t be lulled to sleep or the traps, swales, grass bunkers, howling winds, and mounds will bite you. I was putting great on the front nine and had several 3 putts on the back – not sure if that was just me or the greens, but beware! The back nine also has some fun holes like:
- #14 a long 610 yard par 4 that dog legs right around a pond and gives you a great risk reward shot on the second shot for an opportunity at a birdie
- 18 is a fantastic and scenic finishing hole with a challenging approach shot.
The fairways are generous and the rough is wide, a tad thick, but playable – it’s hard to lose a ball out of bounds or in someone’s back yard. The Tierra Santa front nine fairways have a lot of contour and gentle roll and plenty of tall mounds, large bunkers, and swales. You can expect a few uneven lies. The front nine fairways were in good condition but dormant when we played and as such firm offering lots of extra roll. The back nine fairways were flatter the mounding didn’t seem as dramatic.
The Champion Bermuda greens were in very good condition and one of the best we played in the Rio Grande Valley. The greens were huge with slope and undulation plus a few had multiple tiers and several were elevated or slightly uphill. As challenging as the greens may sound, we found them very true, easy to read, smooth as silk, and a good speed of around 8 ti 9. Because the greens are big at Tierra Santa Golf Club, they are easy to hit and hold the ball very well. But don’t miss the greens because they are all garded by huge mounds, equally large bunkers, swales, and grass bunkers!
In 2013 all of the bunkers were redone with heavier PGA approved sand and sodded lips. When we played they were filled with good sand – soft and fluffy and thick. The bunkers range in size and most are steep faced and a lttle deep. They could use a haircut around the edges
Tierra Santa Golf Club is a fantastic layout, with great conditions, and a blast to play. Plus it is an outstanding value. A must play if you’re within a hundred miles!
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Service is good, the pro shop has all the basics, the range is adequate, and the grill has a wide variety of very tasty food.