This letter is in response to a letter by Curtis Hatcher on March 28.
I have known Curtis for all of the 30 years he has been playing golf at Tony Butler and consider Curtis a friend and a fine customer at Elliott’s Custom Golf.
I simply have to respectively disagree with him on most of the points he made about our Municipal Golf Course.
First of all, he should remember the condition of the course back in the mid 80s, the course was pretty horrible.
I played in that 8 a.m. group back then with Curtis and we took the liberty to find grass, and that may have taken a good 20 yards to find a patch.
The course has come a long way in those 30 years. I wanted to see the “horrible” Tony Butler for myself, I took a ride 3/29/17 to check out all the issues.
I found the fairways 90 to 95 percent covered in grass.
Yes, bare spots can be found occasionally throughout the course.
Grass is a little thin but there was good coverage throughout the course. I must remind my friend that course conditions change from season to season, we cannot control Mother Nature.
This year was a banner year for all local golf courses due to lack of rain, they seldom had to close.
This brings up other issues; no rain hurts the course condition.
No better fertilizer than Mother Nature’s drink; we have gotten very little.
Course rest is also an issue, Harlingen Country Club closes one day a week to do maintenance and let the course rest. Tony Butler has had no rest for about 6 months.
Course traffic, due to the banner year, the thousands of feet and carts rolling over that course the last 6 months has been incredible.
All this happening and the course looks pretty damn good to me.
My shop is a pretty good sounding board for golf course conditions and most comments have been the “course is in the best condition in years.”
What prompted my friend to write such a letter? I have never known Curtis to be a whiner.
My guess is he was hanging around with some of the local golfers in the Pro Shop having a cold one and everyone is bitching about this and that, trust me, that is what a lot of golfers do.
They do a lot of bitching and complaining and not a damn thing to actually solve problems.
My guess is, you look at the complainers and you may find the guys that are driving in the middle of the fairways, parking up next to the greens, cutting the ropes and are just not following proper etiquette of play.
Curtis, like me, likes to write; he probably said I will write a letter. And he did.
What Curtis wants is what we all want, a perfect conditioned golf course, well maintained and well run. A perfect Tony Butler would mean a complete remodel.
We would have to get rid of that clay dirt Curtis was talking about and rework all the drainage in the greens and sand traps.
The layout is pretty good, but fixing the issues above would cost millions.
This is the point where I would say “be careful what you ask for.”
The Muni in McAllen, Palmview, went through a major renovation several years ago and the course is awesome.
Green Fees are $39. Oh, by the way, for the last month, their greens have had a fungus and are hurting at this time.
Yes, you can find bare spots at Palmview as well.
Ask yourself, “are you ready to pay a $39 green fee?” (TBGC green fees $27).
All is not lost. Curtis has a point, the course can be better.
There needs to be a plan in place to keep improving Tony Butler.
Most of our Harlingen City Dads do not play golf; therefore they just do not care. Not a priority.
Tony Butler is an awesome asset to Harlingen and for the most part it pays its own way.
Tony Butler has now been put under the Parks and Recreation Department, I hope my friends Javier Mendez and Jeff Lyssy will put together a plan for Tony Butler, we need to keep moving forward.
Curtis I hope we can agree to disagree. Come by for a cup of coffee, I’ll buy.
Tim Elliott Elliott’s Custom Golf