By RENE TORRES
Special to the NEWS/PRESS
Before I dwell into the local golf scene—allow me to take you back in time to the reign of King James of Scotland.
It was in 1491, the king signed into law, which would have been a death stroke to golf in England, but you’ll be surprised as to what happened.
He was a jeering critic of the game, that is, ‘til he took his first cut. He said, “it takes no skill to hit a ball.” But one day, the king was induced into taking his first swing, and from that moment on, he was a royal duffer.
He spent the rest of his life hooking, slicing and topping balls. The king was reeled in by golf, and what’s more, he refused to enforce the law he signed.
Another historical moment: Zachary Taylor and the golf course on the “Military Highway…”
In 1846, General Taylor was given credit for the development of the most unique highway in the country, “The Military Highway.” The roadway started in Brownsville and ended in Laredo.
Taylor, unlike the original duffer, never dreamt that a golf course, such as River Bend, would meander along the highway. We can speculate that if it did, the boys in “Khaki” would have been afflicted with the golfing bug.
Moving forward to the present—Today, there are legions of golfers making their way to the most unique golf course in the Valley.
A pristine green area, steps away from the Rio Grande River, connects to nature like no other course in the region.
A course that has no boundaries when it comes to challenges with elevated tee boxes and greens. The place is endowed with natural beauty, created by the presence of water.
The river has nudged, carved and shaped the course like a slice of heaven where you can, for a moment, escape from your worldly woes.
As you step into the clubhouse, you will meet Eddie Medlin, golf pro prior to coming to River Bend, who served in the same capacity for 16 years at Harlingen’s legendary course, Tony Butler. He is more than just a golf pro; he is also passionate about keeping the course landscape in a manicured condition.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the other guy in the clubhouse, Adrian Garcia, who is saturated with both syllables and energy. Garcia has been a teacher of the game for over 30 years, influencing hundreds of young golfers as a coach at Porter, Vela and Hanna High School in Brownsville.
Today, both are shaping kids to become lifelong golfers through summer golf camps staged at River Bend.
The kids are fortunate to have teachers who, not only can deliver the knowledge of the game, but that also, never miss the opportunity to complement the kids on a good shot. A brush with success, breeds more success!
Each kid comes with their own identity, and from different backgrounds, but coexist near their parents and coaches, while learning a game that they will endure for life.
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