55. Whispering Pines Golf Club
Chet Williams (2000)
Corby Robertson, who made a fortune in coal reserves, staked out the Whispering Pines course in the early 1990s, then brought Texas-based golf architect Chet Williams (at the time a design associate of Jack Nicklaus) to help him create strategies through bunkering and green contours. Williams refined the rough-hewn routing cut through east Texas piney woods into a dazzling romp across a gently rolling landscape, culminating in a final six-hole stretch along gator-infested Caney Creek and the headwaters of Lake Livingston. Whispering Pines continues to rise in the rankings since its debut at No. 75 in 2013.
100 Greatest History: Ranked since 2013. Highest ranking: 54th, 2019-2020.
Watch Golf Digest’s latest “Every Hole At” course videos below:
Panelist comments, Whispering Pines Golf Club:
“Pure golf in complete silence in the middle of the woods and off the beaten path, which adds to the mystique.”
“A beautiful setting that does a good job of taking advantage of its natural terrain. A natural progression of holes, including a very stout final six holes that are difficult yet inspiring finishing holes.”
“Chet Williams of Nicklaus Design Group did a masterful job of using the land features, scrub, sandy soil, marsh land, and rivers to craft a superb, interesting routing in the woods of East Texas. The fairways are wide in most spots, with severe and interesting bunkering on most holes.”
“Some of the best greens I've ever played. Until I played Whispering Pines' par-3 course after my round -- and those greens were even better than the big course.”
“Almost an Augusta National experience with amazing greens, private cabins to stay in and an all-world par 3 course (called the Needler) that is as good as any. This is a special place.”
Hugh Hargrave/Courtesy of Whispering Pines CC