'Augusta of Texas': One-of-a-kind Whispering Pines adds another honor

Pictured, hole 6 at Whispering Pines Golf Club in Trinity. Whispering Pines was recently named the top private course in Texas by Golfweek Magazine.

In what has become an ongoing tradition, Whispering Pines Golf Club finds itself ranked among the best courses in Texas — and the nation as well.

Golfweek Magazine recently named Whispering Pines the best private course in Texas, while also listing the Trinity golf club as the No. 24 modern course (built after 1960) in the country. The club currently sits atop Golf Digest’s Texas course rankings as well, and has been No. 1 in the state according to the Dallas Morning News for the majority of the past decade.

Ask Whispering Pines head golf professional Chris Rowe about the key to the course’s success, and he’s quick to point to the people, the experience and a piece of land unlike any other.

“The key to our success is the people, and creating an experience when people come in here — from the guardhouse to the food to the caddy to every piece of the property,” Rowe said. “We've been blessed with an incredible piece of land, and that's the intangible that's so different from any place in the state. It's just a different piece of land.”

Whispering Pines, which was founded by Corby Robertson and opened in 2000, is situated on the shores of Lake Livingston. Caney Creek runs through the course, with the Piney Woods — and the wildlife and natural beauty that comes along with it — serving as the backdrop.

“The eastern part of Texas is just different than all the other golf courses that are ranked in the top-10,” Rowe added. “We have the creek that runs through here, we have the lake, we have dunes, we have the Piney Woods. You kind of get a little bit of everything up here.”

The club is set to host some of the top amateur golfers in the world from November 7-9 during The Spirit International Amateur Golf Championship. The biennial event has been held since the club opened, and will showcase golfers from 20 different countries.

Competitors stay at nearby Camp Olympia, which Robertson helped found, creating an atmosphere that resembles “an Olympic Village.”

Prior to arriving at Whispering Pines 15 years ago, Rowe served as an assistant pro at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth — home of the PGA Tour’s Charles Schwab Challenge — for a decade. Still, he calls Spirit International Amateur, “the neatest event I’ve ever been a part of.”

Whispering Pines is open to members and their guests on a seasonal basis for 15 weeks each in the Spring and Fall, providing a one-of-a-kind experience for those that play the course.

“It's basically the Augusta of Texas,” Rowe said. “It's a unique experience that is different than any place in the state. The golf course, the people, every part of it is great.”

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