Renovation almost complete at designer’s top-ranked and peerless Whispering Pines
LEROY, Texas (July 20, 2020) – A year after Whispering Pines in Trinity, a solo Chet Williams Design, was honored as the top golf course in the state, the Texas-based architect achieved another first, with courses ranked No.1- 2-3 in the state, a first in the latest Texas golf course ranking by the Dallas Morning News.
While Golf Digest magazine still has Whispering Pines as the No. 1 course in the state, the Dallas Morning News statewide survey, which came out earlier this month gave Williams more design praise. He’s the first Texas course designer with top-three ranking in the state.
Williams’ Houston Oaks layout in Hockley was ranked No. 2 in the state, its highest ever placement, while the Morning News had Whispering Pines, currently undergoing a Williams upgrade, as No. 3.
No Texas course designer has ever had two of the top three courses in the state in the statewide survey of 800-plus courses. in addition, another Williams redesign, Dallas Athletic Club, Blue, an original Jack Nicklaus layout, which Williams re-did as part of a club golf masterplan, moved back into the top 50 in the state.
Add the fact another Williams’s renovation, Champions Golf Club in Houston which will serve as the host site for the 2020 U.S. Women’s Open in December moved up two spots to No. 12 in the Morning News ranking. Another Williams restoration, Royal Oaks CC in Dallas was ranked No. 28 statewide.
“It’s always an honor to have your courses voted as among the best in the state where you live, but it’s really a tribute to many hard working superintendents, grounds crew, construction team, members, owners and guests,” Williams said. “To have this many courses honored is really incredible, but one I’m very happy with for everyone involved.”
Each of the courses came together in various ways. For Houston Oaks, which once housed a Cold War era bomb shelter, and served as a company recreation facility, Williams and his team crafted a championship layout while keeping the huge signature oak trees which dot the Southeast Texas landscape.
Houston Oaks has already hosted the Big 12 Match Play Champions and is poised to play host to other statewide championship events. It features a shorter Family 9 and a championship par 71 18 hole championship course with water on several of the holes including the dramatic par 4 18Th hole.
“It’s a course with a lot of character and plenty of natural scenery. The dedication and passion of the owners have led this to be ranked as the No. 2 course in the state with even better things to come,” he said
Also included is a resort swimming pool, a fish camp, horses, tennis courts, softball field, tree house along with outdoor and indoor meeting spaces, a small hotel lodging facility and private houses.
Champions is one of the most famous courses in the state of Texas, opened in 1957 by Texas golf legends Jack Burke, Jr, and Jimmy Demaret and originally designed by Texan Ralph Plummer.
In advance of the Women’s Open this year, the first ever held at Champions, Williams was asked by Burke and his wife Robin to renovate the course for the world’s best female players and upgrade the putting surfaces. After several months of play from members and practice rounds from some of Texas’ top female professional and amateur players, it’s ready for the first December U.S Open in United States Golf Association history.
“I’m interested to see what the top female players do and how they attack this challenging course with some top greens,” said Williams.
Reno on schedule at Whispering Pines
Williams has been tearing up the roadways from his home outside of Waco, to Whispering Pines Golf Club in Trinity as he works to complete the renovation off he highly acclaimed course for a tentative October 1 opening.
“I’ve been spending a lot of time out there, but it’s really starting to look good,” Williams said. “People may only see a few of the changes there, but it will be some big improvements.”
Some of the biggest improvements will the be plush zoysia fairways, the newly shaped putting greens and clearing out some brush to better highlight the scenic nature of the course.
Williams will next take his experienced design work to historic Corpus Christi Country Club on the Texas Gulf Coast where greens at this century-old Texas classic will a full restoration and renovation.
The primary work at CCCC will be the redesign of all the green complexes, including the rebunkering of the entire course,” Williams said. “The goal is to create greater variety in the design of the course and make it more fun and interesting to play. Some tees will be added / relocated and fairways will be regrassed.”
The plan is to start workin Corpus Christi in Dec. 2020.