Rancho Viejo Resort - El Diablo Golf Course Review

Texas Outside Rating: 8.0

Golf - Resort Public Course · 36 Holes · Par 72
Rancho Viejo
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Rancho Viejo Resort - El Diablo Golf Course Review

Rancho Viejo Resort and Country Club is home to two 18 hole par 70 courses - El Diablo and El Angel.  El Diablo, which translates to "the Devil" is the longer (by 350 years) and plays a stroke or two harder than "the Angel."  Both course's fairways are lined with palm trees and a variety of native trees,  tropical vegetation, and homes.  We didn't find El Diablo all that devilish - the fairways are ample, the greens are small but fair, and if you can hit it fairly straight you'll have a relaxing and enjoyable round with an opportunity to turn in a pretty good score. 

Rancho Viejo's El Diablo course meanders through the community and from the tee box you can usually see what you're up against and plan your shots accordingly - no tricks, hidden bunkers, or water to get ya.  You will find the dog legs require fairly precise shots if you want to par the hole, some of the bunkers can be treacherous thanks to some steep faces, and the greens are on the small size and require accurate shots to hit and hold. 

The front nine's fairways are all tree lined and compared to the back, much tighter.  The back fairways are much more open, except for the last two, but the greens seem small and more challenging with tiers, undulation, and more slope.  There are some fun holes on both nines like:

  • #3 a 440 yard par 4 (par 5 for the women) that dog legs left around a lake and to a slightly uphill green with a bunker on each side
  • #5 offers the brave and long hitters a great risk reward shot to try and carry the trees to shorten this dog leg left 533 yard par 5
  • #7 and #16 require you to carry the lake off the tee box, which always makes me a little nervous
  • #10 is challenging off the tee box requiring a precise shot to the dog leg left uphill very small and two tier green

The fairways at Rancho Viejo's El Diablo were well manicured and in very good condition when we played in December.  The rough is a little thick but playable and if you're under the trees, you should be able to find your ball and chip back to fairway or toward the green. 

Speaking of the greens, they were also in very good condition, very true, a tad slow (8 or so), and held the ball well.  They vary in shape and size and most were a little smaller than average.   All of the greens have at least one bunker and the vast majority have two traps guarding them.  The slope on the greens is manageable and you will encounter a few tiers and some undulation that can cost you a stroke if you're not careful.  Putting isn't a problem, once you're on the green.

We played just after a rain and the bunkers were still wet, but they were in good shape with soft sand.  Some are very steep faced.

Bottom line - if you're in the Rio Grande Valley, this is a course you should play - good conditions, good value, and an opportunity to score well.

They also have a good stay and play package, read our review of the Rancho Viejo Golf Resort Stay & Play Package to learn more.

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Blue 6,315 70.8 122
White 5,979 68.9 116
Gold 6,821 72.5 124
Red 5,556 73.8 123

Course Information

Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Course Map
Beware of water on 8 holes and the 41 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

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


Approximate Weekend
$44.00 to $64.00

Service is very friendly, the club house has a very good restaurant, the pro shop has the basics, and the practice facilities are adequate.



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.