HARLINGEN — Water, fertilizer and seed aren’t just the necessary ingredients for a lush Valley lawn, they also are among the requirements when resurrecting a golf course.
A trio of new Winter Texan owners of Stuart Place Golf Course took over in May, and since then have embarked on an ambitious program to bring the scenic little nine-hole course back to its best.
“They purchased it from the previous owners and immediately started renovating the course and getting it up to snuff,” said Dave Engstrom, greens keeper at Stuart Place. “We re-did all the tee boxes, we re-did all of the greens, we over seeded and fertilized the fairways and we worked on the sprinkler system to get it operational and we rebuilt all the golf carts.
“The swimming pool that we have was drained, sand-blasted and repainted,” he added. “The putting green was completely re-done and now it’s actually a very nice putting green. I’ve been told the green on our putting green is better than most greens in town.”
The nine-hole course surrounded by an upscale housing development is open to the public to play.
The course is a tight, 2,742-yard layout which plays to a par 36. While sand traps are not really among the most prevalent hazards, numerous resacas can give players plenty of opportunity to run through a supply of golf balls pretty quickly.
“Thank goodness we have resacas and we purchase water from the water district that allows us to basically have an unlimited source of water,” Engstrom said. “Without that, there wouldn’t be a golf course.”
Rates at Stuart Place are competitive with other courses in the area, ranging from $12 for nine holes to $17 for looping around again to play 18 holes. Cart fees are $6 for a half-cart for nine holes and $10 for 18.
The club has a variety of memberships, ranging from a full year to six-month to three-month, as well as a punch-card system.
“A punch card you pay for your rounds in advance and each time you play a round of golf they punch your card,” he said.
Like a lawn, rejuvenating a golf course is a process not an event. Engstrom said they were lucky this year that the summer and fall rains came at the right time. The fairways and greens look in good condition by Valley golf course standards.
“It looks like people care,” Engstrom said. “The clubhouse, the golf course, the pool.”
Engstrom said the course was designed for Winter Texans and continues in that tradition, although he said the owners make clear all players are welcome to play the course.
“They believe that the Winter Texans — and you read in the paper that the Winter Texans are tapering off and the golfers are not coming down here, etc., etc. — but there are still a lot of golfers down here who are Winter Texans.”
If you go:
– $12 for nine holes or $17 for looping to play 18 holes.
– Cart fees are $6 for a half-cart for nine holes and $10 for 18.
– Memberships available: full year, six-month, three-month, as well as a punch-card system.