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Awards & Accolades

#15 in Texas, Golf Magazine's Best Golf Courses You Can Play, 2014
#40 in the U.S., GolfWeek's Best Municipal Golf Courses, 2013

pdfGolf Magazines Top Courses Near You    pdfGolfweek's Best Of     pdfThe Golf Life

Texas Outside Review & 9.3 Rating!

Designed by Robert Trent Jones II, Max A. Mandel Municipal Golf Course opened to rave reviews in 2013. Known as "Max", the course cuts through the sandy terrain on over 270 acres of rugged south Texas landscape with the style and beauty of a ballet folklorico dance.  The course leverages the natural gently rolling terrain which is home to two deep arroyos that will come into play on six holes and the Rio Grande River that lines 4 of the holes with a beautiful view of the river and into Mexico. Contributing to the beauty of this course are the 100 year old mesquite trees and other desert flora that litter the landscape and line many of the fairways.  Combine the scenic beauty with excellent conditions from tee box to the cup, a layout that is fair but challenging, greens that are near perfect, and reasonable rates plus excellent friendly service, the result is a memorable and fun round of golf.

The Max is owned by the City of Laredo and managed by Landscapes Unlimited who has done a great job since taking over in 2015.  Proof of that is evident in the conditions of the Max, the high level of quality service, and the attention to detail.  All of which has helped the Max achieve some significant recognition and well deserved awards and accolades, some of which include:

  • #15 in Golf.com's list of the Best Courses in Texas
  • Best New Courses of 2013" - Golf Digest
  • Top 100 Courses You Can Play - Golf Magazine
  • Best Municipal Courses in the US - Golfweek
  • Listed on Texas Outside's Best of Texas Golf Courses

The Max has 5 sets of tee boxes with yardages ranging from 4769 to 7220 yards.  The fairways are wide and forgiving with no surprises and the rough is wide and playable, but the greens can add quite a few extra strokes to your round - spend some time on the putting green and remember that the greens will break toward the Rio Grande River.

Robert Trend Jones sculpted a fantastic layout that offers a little of everything that keeps us coming back for another round - dog legs left and right, risk reward opportunities, some minor ups and downs, trees and arroyos to contend with, and very demanding green complexes.  Some of our favorite holes included:

  • #4 is fun - a short 315 yard let-er-rip and go for the green par 4 with a carry over a small arroyo off the tee box, a slight dog left along a somewhat tight fairway, and a green with a bunker on the left front and a steep drop off the left side
  • #7 requires some precise shots - its a 608 yard par 5 with a fairway that is straight off the tee box, then goes left, and back right around a bunker leading to the green - watch out for the bunker in the middle of the fairway on your approach shot - you might have a great risk reward on your second shot to try to cut the corner
  • #10 is a 553 par 5 that requires a decision off the tee box - take the risky shorter route left with trees, mounding, valleys, and bunkers or go right to a wider landing zone but a much longer second shot
  • #17 is a 593 par 5 that takes a 90 degree turn right around a lake - a good risk reward opportunity for long hitters to try and carry more the lake to get closer to the pin or for some us to put some golf balls in the lake
  • #18 is a beautiful hole - a 426 yard par 4 with a huge wide open landing zone followed by a challenging shot over an arroyo to a green with a front and back bunker - or you can take the right side along a tight fairway lined on the left with huge mounds and swales and valleys - you might also find a lot of hecklers with cold drinks watching your approach from the patio at the clubhouse

Part of the joy of playing the Max are the conditions which are very good from tee to cup.  The Max fairways were in excellent condition and I felt guilty taking a divot.  The fairways are ample with a wide playable rough (also in perfect condition) and the ball tends to sit on top of the dense grass.  Miss the rough and you're lost in the native tall grass and brush.

To score well on the Max you need to know how to read the greens which is not that easy.  There is plenty of slope and contour, tiers and ridges, and lots of unexpected subtle breaks.  The good news is that the greens are in very good condition (a couple had some weather damage), run smooth, hold the ball well, and ran at a good speed of around 9 or so.  The greens at the Max are a variety of shapes and sizes and range from 27 to 42 yards deep.  Pin placement can be challenging.

The bunkers range from average size to a couple huge monsters.  The sand is good on the front nine but the back need needs some work which is in the planning stages.  The faces range from a few inches to very steep which can be troublesome.

Bottom line - one of the best courses in Texas and you need to go out of your way to play the Max - excellent conditions, near perfect greens, a fun layout, top notch service, very affordable rates, and a great clubhouse with a bar and grill with very good food.

See the Original Article Here

Long-Awaited Public Course Grants Municipality’s Wish in Laredo, Texas

by American Golfer Magazine

Inspired by the majestic beauty of the Rio Grande River and the oasis it has nurtured – in stark contrast to the typically sparse and rugged South Texas landscape – the team at Robert Trent Jones II Golf Course Architects is proud of its role in bringing the new Max. A. Mandel Municipal Golf Course to life. Reflective of the City of Laredo’s vision for its future and the important role of golf in that plan, “The Max” golf course is one of a very few new golf venues to open in the U.S. in 2012 and is the first city-owned public golf facility in Laredo, Texas.

“We felt a significant responsibility to the people of Laredo, as well as to the game of golf itself, throughout the process of creating this golf course,” said course architect Robert Trent Jones Jr., Chairman and Master Architect of RTJ II. “We have created a golf experience that we hope will be a great source of pride and satisfaction for the community.”

Routed along bluffs overlooking the Rio Grande across to Mexico, the highly anticipated par-72 layout winds through 270 acres of sandy terrain. Encompassing almost a mile of riverfront property, the course presents four holes that play adjacent to and high above the water as it traverses deep arroyos and navigates through 30-foot tall mesquite woodlands and upon open farmland.

Jones has provided an excellent balance of drama, playability, risk and reward that will make for exciting and enjoyable golf. Featuring five sets of tees and wide, inviting fairways throughout, the course can be configured as a tournament test of more than 7,200 yards, yet is still a perfect fit for golfers who desire a more manageable challenge at less than 5,000 yards. Play is scale-able as the routing creates “courses within the course” with the closing nine presenting returning loops of three-holes and six-holes flanking the practice facility. This concept allows for play of three, six, nine or 18 holes as well as maximizing the ability of “The Max” to provide instruction for the golfers of tomorrow. Each hole also integrates “family tees” to encourage parents and children to play together.

The $6.6 million project – which includes roadways, golf course, clubhouse, and maintenance facility – was made possible through the generous donation of 390 acres north of the city by the family of the late Max A. Mandel, a Laredo bank executive and economic visionary whose involvement in a variety of civic issues the past 45 years is legendary.

“We understand how an exceptional new golf course like this can enrich a community,” said Jones, who has created more than 270 courses in more than 40 countries on six continents. “The impact reaches beyond just those who play golf. It reflects upon the identity of Laredo, which may now be seen as an even more inviting place to develop businesses and raise families.” The locals agree. “This golf course will be the catalyst for business development and investment in our community,” said Mayor Raul G. Salinas.

An exceptional golf venue that will be considered among the best golf courses in South Texas, the new facility is nonetheless intended for Laredo residents to enjoy and play often, thanks to the affordable fee structure that was a primary consideration from the outset of the project. RTJ II worked on the construction of the Max A. Mandel Golf Course with Landscapes Unlimited of Lincoln, Neb., as well as the management team of Foresight Golf, of Boerne, Texas, which is to oversee ongoing golf operations for the City of Laredo.

Featured in GOLF Magazine

The Max A. Mandel Municipal Golf Course, designed by world-renowned architect Robert Trent Jones, Jr., is featured in the April issue of GOLF Magazine. Laredo's stunning new addition to the golf scene in south Texas is praised as an exceptional value for the quality experience The Max offers in a feature titled Rio Grande Slam. Noting that the course s natural setting along the Rio Grande adds a sense of beauty and grandeur, the magazine advises golfers to run to the border to play this superb, affordable new RTJ II signature design.

This is tremendous recognition for The Max, said Horacio De Leon, Jr., Assistant City Manager, City of Laredo, Texas. South Texas golfers and golf enthusiasts along the NAFTA corridor have a first-class public access course on which to play that is worthy of national attention. The City of Laredo-owned golf facility will see increased play as the news continues to spread that we have a splendid one-of-a-kind course, designed by a famous architect and occupying a majestic site with dramatic views of the Rio Grande.

The challenging par-72 course sits on 270 acres along the Rio Grande and it caters to golfers of all ability levels, with five sets of tees available and yardages ranging from 7,069 from the back tees to 4,759 for the forward tees. A provision has been made for competitive tournament tees to be extended to 7,297 yards, and a dedicated juniors teeing area on each hole is incorporated to increase enjoyment for family play. For tee times or additional information about The Max A. Mandel Municipal Golf Course call (956) 726-2000.

A Texas-Sized Opening of a Robert Trent Jones, II Signature Design

by The Laredo Sun

Today, City of Laredo leaders officially opened the Robert Trent Jones, II signature design Max A. Mandel Municipal Golf Course, with a ceremonial putt and invitational “par-is-your-partner”
tournament that included City of Laredo leaders; RTJ II; Landscapes Unlimited, the course builder/contractor; Foresight Golf, the course operator; the Mandel family and Ermilo Richer, the
benefactors and land donors; and members of the local golf and business community.

In fact, the golf course, in all of its majestic beauty, is dedicated to Laredo’s golf community and local business leaders, all who have been waiting with bated breath for a high quality, city-owned public golf facility in Laredo. “I believe this is a landmark project for Laredo, all of South Texas and even, our friends in Mexico,” said City of Laredo Mayor Raul G. Salinas.

“It touches several aspects of our community from recreation and leisure, job creation, and, adding a quality of life component that many outside business prospects look for when deciding where they want to bring their companies. I look forward to seeing my colleagues, neighbors and friends, right here at The Max!”

Nestled on 270 acres along the Rio Grande, the architect took this pristine farm and river vega land and designed it into a signature top-notch course where hard-core golfers, novice players and everyone in between, will find the course challenging, fun, beautiful and just as importantly, affordable.

The Max golf course design and construction, including the green, fairways, bunkers and sand, incorporated some of the unique Laredo landscape into the features, and carved the natural beauty of the South Texas brush and the Rio Grande into the design, truly making the place a one-of-a-kind golf course in the country.

Jones says of the new course: “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. 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 and Mexico.”

Before the groundbreaking for the course took place in late 2010, local golfers, golf pros, golf coaches and students, and the public in general were able to meet with the designer and others involved in the golf course construction so that they could give input about the features they would like to see incorporated into their municipal golf course. According to leaders, the idea of a municipal golf course was always a project that was on the horizon, but lack of financing and other priority projects always pushed the project to the back-burner.

When the City of Laredo first came up with the idea of a public/private partnership to develop the golf project into a reality, officials researched the possible positive financial impact the golf course would have on not only current and future Laredoans, but also, the impact to the economy in terms of jobs created. City leaders soon realized the golf course was a priority project and pushed for turning the dream of a golf course into a reality. After a competitive bid process, which included 32 responses of all the top names vying for the job, the first municipal-owned golf course was about to get well on its way.

In fact, City of Laredo District VII Council Member Jorge Vera, in whose district the golf course lies, was a proponent of the project even before he was elected to the Laredo City Council.
Once on board, he immediately became engaged in helping the project become a reality, donating $1.2 million of discretionary funds to complete the golf course.
“I always saw the need for a golf course of this caliber for our community because I see how it will impact Laredo in very positive ways, from our economy to more local talent playing the game,” said Cm. Vera.

This $8 million project, which includes the championship golf course, clubhouse, roadways and maintenance facility, was made possible by the generous land donation of 270 acres by the family of the late Max A. Mandel, a Laredo bank executive and economic visionary whose involvement in a variety of civic issues the past 45 years is legendary. Along with the property, the family also donated $1 million to the facility, as well as water rights for irrigation purposes.

“Max was an outstanding individual who loved Laredo, Texas and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico and worked all of his life in Laredo to make this region a better place for all who live and work here,” said Gary Jacobs, Mandel family spokesperson. “When he passed away, Mrs. Mandel and her three daughters: Jessie, Louise and Suzanne, along with the grandchildren, wanted to do something lasting in his good name and something that would be a joy for people from all walks of life. Max loved his Las Islitas farm on the Old Mines Road, so this beautifully designed and executed Robert Trent Jones, II signature golf course, is a wonderful tribute to Max and of his love for our Los Dos Laredos.

Additionally, we applaud the City of Laredo for their commitment to and vision of creating a great golf course, a model for what a public/private partnership is that leverages the relationship to the benefit of the taxpayers and the entire community.” The facility will open to the public on Friday, October 19, 2012, without a club house; however, club house services will be operating out of the cart barn, including: offering Max A. Mandel golf apparel; golf course material; snacks; and temporary restroom facilities.

Golf professional running the course for Foresight Golf will be Jorge Flores, a Laredo native who graduated from The Professional Golfers Career College in Temucula, California, with a specialized associates’ degree in Professional Golf Management.

Flores later worked under three-time Pac-Ten Champion and First Team All-American, from 1964-1966 Sherman W. Finger, III at the Knollwood Club in Lake Forest, Illinois before returning to Texas.
According to Foresight, one focus of the new golf course will be to attract new enthusiasts to the game, hosting workshops, clinics and player development programs for young and novice players.
“Once again, the City of Laredo has created an extraordinary opportunity for its citizens and the many people that visit this great community. Foresight Golf is proud to have worked with the City in this effort and stands ready, willing and able to provide a remarkable experience for everyone that visits The Max,” said Dan Pedrotti, President, Foresight Golf.

“Our approach is to establish and maintain consistently exceptional conditions and remarkably attentive customer service. Our strength comes from years of knowledge and experience as an owner/operator in concert with a keen sense of humility about our company and our efforts. We are here to serve and we will work diligently to provide memorable events for all who visit The Max.”

He continued, “We believe strongly that this stunning golf course will stand the test of time. It is absolutely unique in the world of golf as it was carved out of the magnificent South Texas Brush alongside the mighty Rio Grande. The beauty and drama of the land upon which it was built provides an excellent showcase for our part of the world. It will serve the good people of Laredo in high fashion for many, many years to come and we are very pleased to be on the frontline of this effort,” concluded Pedrotti.

“We hope that The Max will attract the youth of Laredo who will want to come and learn the game in an informal atmosphere, and of course, golf enthusiasts who look for a challenging, charming and aesthetically pleasing course,” said Horacio De Leon, Assistant City Manager and golf course project manager. “Additionally, we expect that this golf course will attract visitors to Laredo from throughout Texas and northern Mexico, who are looking for not only a competitive golfing experience that will be found here at The Max, but also, all the cultural amenities that our great city has to offer.

As a facility, the golf course will add to an already bustling visitor economy.” The club house, which was expanded from its original one-story design to include a second floor with a breathtaking view of the Rio Grande, is currently under construction and is expected to be open in the spring of 2013. The permanent club house is designed by local designer William Mortiz Luft and Metaform Architects.

Max A Mandel
Municipal Golf Course
27700 FM 1472 Mines Road
Laredo, TX 78045