A surprise inclusion on the GOLF Magazine Top 100 list in 2009, the Whispering Pines Golf Club, in Trinity Texas, was designed by architect Chet Williams, while working for Nicklaus Design. Strangely, this exclusive club, which is only open for 15 weeks each Spring and Fall, credits Williams with the design of the course ahead of his more marketable boss, which makes a refreshing change.
The course Chet Williams designed occupies a large 400+ acre property an hour or two north of Houston, the site comprises a mix of scrubby woodland and naturally occurring creeks and lakes. These water hazards are well used in the latter stages of the round, but earlier the course is actually rather flat and fairly unremarkable. On the front nine, the 2nd hole is a well thought-out and nicely shaped par five, but between this hole and the horseshoe par four 14th the holes are rather unexciting. The closing run is good, however, 14 is a fine test and followed immediately by consecutive par threes, the 15th a particularly appealing hole that drops into a lake and features a dangerous isthmus green. Following a small river that runs alongside the property, the bold par five 17th is also very good while the 18th is a nasty finishing four played first along water then over a pond toward a tight final green.
Given its natural wetland areas, and attractive forest setting, Whispering Pines is a pleasant place for golf and the course is generally presented in excellent condition. With some exceptions, the holes themselves are not to the standard one would expect from a layout ranked among America's Top 100, which makes the clubs inclusion on the 2009 Golf Magazine list a little surprising.