River Bend Resort & Country Club Review

Texas Outside Rating: 8.3

Golf - Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
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River Bend Resort & Country Club Review

Review of River Bend Golf Course in Brownsville

Wow, what a pleasant surprise and after playing, we were not surprised that River Bend Golf Course was named by Golf Digest as a "Best Places To Play" in 2008/2009.  River Bend Golf Course plays along a bend of the Rio Grande River and through River Bend Resort which is a very nice, well manicured and landscaped resort community of RV rentals lots, town homes, and residential property.  The course is open to the public and a must play if you're in the Valley. 

Here's some of the reasons why we liked River Bend Golf Course:

  • with 4 sets of tee boxes, the course is a little short but it's a tad demanding, but fair and a blast to play
  • fairways range from tight "don't miss um" to wide and forgiving "let-er-rip"
  • there is lots of variety with each hole offering something a little new and different
  • there are long and tough par 3's, some go for the green birdie opportunities, and some holes that require good course management and club selection and precision on the approach
  • there is a good mixture of trees, mounds, dog legs, raised various sized greens, intimidating water carries, challenging putting surfaces, and  risk reward opportunities - all of which will test your game but it won't beat you up

A few of the holes that we really liked included:

  • #5, the number 1 handicap hole is a 567 yard dog leg left with a tight fairway that plays along the Rio Grande River - a tree about a 100 to 150 yards in front of the tee box forces you to fly it or head right and another tree in the fairway at 125 out requires a precise approach shot
  • the two par 3's (234 and 223 yards) require a precise tee shot for par
  • #15 is fun - a 431 yard par 4 with a dry deep creek bed along the right side that cuts into three quarters of the fairway starting at 150 out - the fairway is tight tee to green
  • #17 is a 158 yard par 3 that's all carry from an elevated back tee box over the lake to a green with water around three quarters of it

The fairways range from tree lined to lined by a mixture of natural areas, water, or residences - all of which can come into play.  The fairways are very tight and favor accuracy over distance.  The back nine seemed a little more open and forgiving.  The fairways are dry and firm with some bare spots and rough ranges from a tad thick to thin and playable.  The rough also has several brown/bare/dirt spots.

The greens ranged from on the small side to about average.  Some are raised, most are relatively flat but you will encounter some fairly significant slope and some undulation that can cause a three putt if you're not careful.  They were in good condition, firm but held the ball well, and ran at a good speed. 

You can leave your sand wedge at home, River Bend doesn't have any sand unless you really spray the ball in the Rio Grande or into some farm land.

Bottom line - well worth playing thanks to reasonable rates, fun and challenging holes, and fair conditions.

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Blue 6,275 71.0 115
White 5,663 68.6 110
Gold 6,735 72.6 119
Red 4,970 76.0 128

Course Information

Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Fairway Condition
Beware of water on 15 holes and the 0 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

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


Approximate Weekend
$21.00 to $35.00

The pro shop has very limited golf gear and snacks and drinks only. The practice facilites are ok. The staff is very friendly.



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.