South Padre Island Golf Club Review

Texas Outside Rating: 8.6

Golf - Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
Laguna Vista
Website · Locate This Course
· Stay & Play

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South Padre Island Golf Club Review

Review & Rating of South Padre Island Golf Club - Laguna Vista

You can't leave the Rio Grande Valley or South Padre Island without playing at least one round at South Padre Island Golf Club.  This is a fun, challenging but fair, and scenic course with some interesting and memorable holes.  The front nine is fantastic with holes three to seven playing along Laguna Madre Bay with views of South Padre Island.  The back nine leverages the local terrain and you'll need to keep your ball away from the native scrub brush, palm trees, cactus, natural sand areas, and away from the snakes. 

In December 2017 a group of private investors purchased South Padre Island Golf Club.  The immediately started making improvements, some of which included: renovations and improvements to the restaurant, adding new sand to almost all of the bunkers, converting some of the fairway bunkers to new grass or waste bunkers, and more.  They seem committed to continuous improvements and making sure that the course is friendly for all skill levels and remains one of the best courses in the Rio Grande Valley.

On both nines, to score well you'll have to manage the wind which may require you clubing up or down at least one and usually two clubs and anticipate being pushed left or right or stopped short.  The good news is the wind can make some holes an easy birdie, but others can easily become a tough bogey. 

Some examples of why we really enjoy South Padre Island Golf Course include:

  • there are some scenic, yet challenging holes that play along Laguna Madre Bay with great views, like #3 which is a challenging 190 yard par 3 with a carry over water to a green with little room for error, #4 which parallels the Bay for 571 yards, or #13 which is a 547 yard par 5 that horseshoes around a skinny body of water that goes from tee to green
  • a couple excellent opportunities to test your risk-reward tolerance - #5 is really scary looking from the tips and offers a great risk reward shot to try and carry more of wetlands and the natural sand and brush to shorten this already short 335 par 4 or #16 which horseshoes right around the lake and temps you try and carry more than you can handle
  • some tough approaches like #7 with water encroaching into the fairway and covering the left side of the green or #15 which has a turtle back elevated green which you'll find hard to hold
  • a variety of hazards that you don't find on your typical Texas courses like large natural sand areas, cactus, scrub brush, bay wetlands, water and some challenging wind

The fairways are ample but if you miss them you could be in big trouble thanks to thick native grass, water, brush, wetlands, and sand.  The majority of the fairway playing surface are in very good condition but along the sides there are several patches of dirt with no grass because the natural plants would take over and make the rough very tough.  The fairways are thin and firm and give you lots of extra roll you need to manage. 

The greens were in very good condition, ran smooth and true, and held the ball very well.  They range in size from small to average and are a variety of shapes.  The slope and contour isn't severe but you will encounter some spines and tiers.  Several of the greens are raised making it tough for a bump and run. They seemed to be running around an eighth or so. 

The vast majority of the greenside bunkers had recently been redone and they were in great shape with soft, fluffy, thick sand.  Faces are manageable but don't expect to hit in the bunker and roll out. Over 13 of the bunkers are being converted to grass or waste bunkers.

South Padre Island Golf Club also has some great stay and play packages with unlimited golf - read our review about our Stay & Play at South Padre Island Golf Club to learn more. 

Bottom line - a fun and memorable track and a pretty good value.

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Black 6,931 73.5 129
Blue 5,542 66.6 120
White 5,406 69.5 121
Gold 6,291 69.3 125

Course Information

Course Architect:
Chris Cole & Stephen Caplinger
Greens Type:
Champion Bermuda
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Fairway Condition
Bunker Condition
Course Map
Beware of water on 8 holes and the 24 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

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


Approximate Weekend
$40.00 to $60.00

Service is good, the pro shop has the basics, and the grill serves some pretty good food for breakfast and lunch. Practice facilities are adequate and the staff is excellent.



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.