The debut of Summit Rock Golf Club at Horseshoe Bay Resort and the repeat of Whispering Pines Golf Club in the top spot highlighted the storylines in The Dallas Morning News’ annual listing of the Top 100 golf courses in Texas. Whispering Pines in Trinity leads a roll call of nine Nicklaus Design courses to be ranked in the survey. The eight other Nicklaus courses to be ranked in the list are Cordillera Ranch (No. 5), The Club at Carlton Woods (No. 8), Lochinvar Golf Club (No. 20), Summit Rock Golf Club (No. 23), Dallas Athletic Club Blue Course (No. 34), Traditions at Texas A&M (No. 50), Cimarron Hills Golf & Country Club (No. 60), and Dallas Athletic Club Gold Course (No. 62). The 2013 list marked the debut of Summit Rock Golf Club, which opened to rave reviews last year.
Whispering Pines, a Nicklaus Design course featuring lead designer Chet Williams, has maintained its No. 1 position for eight years now. The course, which is set along the shores of Lake Livingston, rests on 450 acres of beautiful pine and hardwood forest. Steered by a philanthropic vision, all membership and tournament activities at Whispering Pines are managed by the nonprofit World Health and Golf Association, a charity program that supports health related causes and the promotion of amateur golf. Since it opened for play in 2000, the private Whispering Pines Golf Club has been a mainstay on various ranking lists.
Coming in at No. 5, Cordillera Ranch also maintained its ranking inside the list’s top-10. After being named as the top new golf course in Texas in the 2008 ranking, Cordillera Ranch’s stunning Hill Country track has held steady between the Nos. 4 and 5 spots on the list each year since it opened.
The Golden Bear explained what makes his Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course at Cordillera Ranch so special.
“Because of the quality of the existing property, we had to move very little dirt to create good golf,” he said. “The terrain had a lot of natural elements that were just terrific. There were great trees and wonderful little streams that ran through the property. And then there were some dramatic rock outcroppings that allowed us to create a lot of diversity and interesting and fun golf shots.”
The Club at Carlton Woods, located just outside Houston in the successful community of The Woodlands, improved two spots to No. 8. The Jack Nicklaus-designed layout opened for play in 2001 and serves as centerpiece of a an 827-acre private, gated community.
“The Club at Carlton Woods will test the purist, embrace those fortunate ones just beginning the game, and reward all with a memorable golf experience,” Nicklaus said.
Nearly 100 panelists comprised of high-ranking amateurs, golf course design experts, golf journalists and others in the industry across the state submit votes for the “Texas Golf” rankings. This year marks the 25th year that The Dallas Morning News has published “Texas Golf.” The carefully selected raters judge based on various criteria including design uniqueness, playability, challenge and aesthetics to name a few.