(Rio) Grande plans for golf in Laredo, Texas with building of new muni Max A. Mandel Golf Course
There are only a handful of golf courses in Laredo, Texas, which is exactly what you would expect for this town about 250,000. But civic leaders have visions of this remote Texas border city located two hours southwest of San Antonio becoming a golf destination.
The first step in that quest is currently underway. Earlier this week, architect Robert Trent Jones Jr. visited the site along the river with some members of the local media. The Max A. Mandel Municipal Golf Course is expected to open sometime in late fall. It sits on 270 acres and has a hole, the par-3 15th, which is perched 60 feet above the Rio Grande. Upon completion, it will play more than 7,000 yards with five sets of tees.
“The Max A. Mandel Golf Course is a celebration anew of the great game of golf and its cherished roots as a game of the people,” Jones said. “The city of Laredo has graciously provided us with the latitude to let our imagination roam free across a rare piece of land that exuded the rugged essence of this storied region. For the one-time capital of the Republic of the Rio Grande, we have created a golf experience that we hope will be a source of great pride and satisfaction for the public. We believe the city of Laredo’s inaugural public golf course is destined to be regarded as one of the best public golf courses in Texas.”
Those are high aspirations, to be sure, but before you discount them consider this: The best municipal golf course in Texas is arguably in another place you wouldn’t expect – El Paso. Butterfield Trail Golf Club, a fabulous Tom Fazio design that opened in 2007, has already been named the third best muni in the country by two major golf publications.
The new Laredo course is named in honor of the late Max A. Mandel, a successful bank executive whose vision helped put the city of Laredo on a strong economic foundation. The course sits on Mandel’s farm, named Las Islitas (Spanish for “little islands"), and the Mandel family generously donated a total 390 acres of land, $1 million for the construction project and water rights for irrigation purposes to the city of Laredo to commemorate Mandel’s business acumen, philanthropic spirit and civic legacy.
The course has two deep arroyos, a variety of mesquite trees and river vega flora. Seven of the holes have been shaped with vistas of the Rio Grande. One thing we know for sure is that the city of Laredo is serious about this course, having hired Jones.
“The city of Laredo is proud of the progress that is being made on this very special golf course that will rate as one of the very best public access facilities in the state of Texas,” said Horacio De Leon Jr., assistant city manager and project manager for the golf course. “We are on schedule and on budget for what will prove to be a world-class golf course… Hopefully, this will be the start for several more courses, which ultimately would position Laredo as the next great golf Mecca.”
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