Rancho Viejo Resort - El Angel Golf Course Review

Texas Outside Rating: 7.8

Golf - Resort Public Course · 36 Holes · Par 70
Rancho Viejo
Website · Locate This Course
· Stay & Play

Img_6878 Img_6879 Img_6884

Rancho Viejo Resort - El Angel Golf Course Review

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.  

Img_6898 Img_6889 Img_6902

Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Blue 5,936 68.7 120
White 5,566 67.0 115
Gold 6,464 70.2 123
Red 5,097 70.2 115

Course Information

Course Architect:
Dennis Arp
Greens Type:
TIF Dwarf
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Very easy
Beware of water on 10 holes and the 44 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
7.8 out of 10
Fun to Play:
Front Nine Rating:
Back Nine Rating:


Approximate Weekend
$44.00 to $64.00

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.



Here's How Texas Outside Determines the Scorecard Rating

The Texas Outside rating scale ranges from 1 to 10 – a perfect 10 course would be something like this:  links along a cliff overlooking the Pacific ocean and bordered by tall trees; lush fairways on rolling hills with lots of natural hazards; water (which is crystal clear) on most of the holes; immaculate greens (but they are undulating and tough); lots of variety and character (each hole is completely different and includes blind shots, elevation changes, doglegs, and significant challenges); perfectly manicured traps with the whitest and prettiest sand you’ve ever seen; a nice club house with great food and a 19th hole; a GPS; plenty of beverage carts or your own cooler and ice; and it only costs $40 bucks! What this means is that you probably won’t find any 10s in Texas – try Cabo San Lucas, Pebble Beach, or some of the Hawaii courses! 
Texas Outside rates courses on the following:

  • Beauty – tall trees, rolling hills, beautiful houses, waterfalls, and similar stuff would score high; a 1 would be flat, bushes or cactus instead of trees, and some grass but mostly weeds
  • Difficulty – a straight, 300 yard par 4 with no traps or hazards, no out of bounds or water would probably get a 1; if it is a 460 yard par 4 over two ravines, with water along one side, natural hazards on the other, strategically placed traps or that dreaded tree right in the middle of the fairway, we are talking a 10. 
  • Variety – what would you give a course where all the holes looked and played exactly the same (“I thought we just played that hole!”); were side-by-side, which is good for finding or dodging other people’s balls, but not much fun; and you can see the flag from every tee box?  That’s right, it gets a 1.
  • Fun Scale – a 10 is where you walk off the course and say “now that was fun” and you can’t wait to get back, or you immediately turn around and play another 18 holes
  • Value – a 5 is $50 to $60, a 10 is $20 to $30, and 1 is $200 or so – of course all of this is dependent upon how you liked the course.  For example, if a run down, boring municipal course, with six players on each hole was only $10; it would still get a value rating of 1.
  • Condition – this one’s pretty easy – what condition are the fairways. A 10 commands very lush perfectly manicured fairways, compared to a 1, which has fire ants, weeds, and more dirt than grass!
  • Condition of Greens and Difficulty – very hard to read greens with lots of undulation and tough pin placement, rate very high on the difficulty scale.  Condition is self-explanatory.  

All of the above determines the overall score for the golf course.  In other words, we like courses that are pretty, fun, very challenging with a lot of variety, and fairways and greens in excellent condition – all for $40.  We also tend to play the courses that are affordable for the masses, which means in the $30 to $80 range. We rate hard and we haven’t found a 10 in Texas yet – don’t worry we haven’t given up and we’re still looking.