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.