The Dallas Morning News’ Texas Golf Panel has released its annual ranking of the Top 100 golf courses in Texas, and this year, 11 of the 12 Nicklaus Design golf courses in the State of Texas made the list—led by No. 2 Whispering Pines Golf Club in Trinity, which for nine straight years (2005–2014) was No. 1 on the list.
Also included in the top-25 were No. 5 Cordillera Ranch Golf Club, Boerne; No. 11 The Club at Carlton Woods Nicklaus Course, The Woodlands; No. 19 Lochinvar Golf Club, Houston; and No. 21 The Summit Course at Horseshoe Bay Resort, Horseshoe Bay.
Three additional courses were included in the top 50—No. 45, The Hills Country Club, The Hills Course, Austin; No. 46 Traditions Golf Club, Bryan; and No. 48 Dallas Athletic Club, Blue Course. Rounding out the top-100 are No. 62 Cimarron Hills Golf and Country Club, Georgetown; No. 73 Dallas Athletic Club, Gold Course; and No. 83 Flintrock Falls Course at the Hills Country Club, Austin. Traditions Golf Club improved 10 spots over its 2014 ranking in the list and Cimarron Hills improved four spots.
The rankings were determined by the average score of ratings by the panel. Panel members rated courses on a 1–10 scale. To be eligible for the Top 100, a course needed to be rated by 13 of the 97 panel members (or 13 percent).
Companion lists of Texas’ Best 18 and the Most Beautiful 18 were also released. The Best 18 holes includes the par-3 No. 16 at Cordillera Ranch; the par-3 No. 7 at The Hills Country Club; the par-3 Nos. 15 and 16 at Whispering Pines; the par-4 No. 15 at Carlton Woods (Nicklaus); par-4 Nos. 13, 14, and 18 at Whispering Pines; and the par-5 No. 17 at Whispering Pines.
The Most Beautiful 18 list includes No. 16 at Cordillera Ranch; Nos. 7 and 18 at The Hills Country Club; and Nos. 7, 13, 14, 15, 17 and 18 at Whispering Pines. Two par 3s that have become regulars — No. 16 at Cordillera Ranch in Boerne and No. 7 at The Hills Country Club in Austin—return to the list. The Cordillera Ranch hole requires a slightly uphill shot over a gorge to a green carved out of the top of a hill. Twin waterfalls frame the green. Hole No. 7 at The Hills Country Club requires a delicate shot to a narrow green protected in front by a stream.
Whispering Pines pro Chris Rowe calls the closing stretch of six holes “amazing.” There is water to contend with on each hole.