The Country Club of Whispering Pines: River Course (Whispering Pines, NC on 11/29/14)

Even though it was chilly in the morning, it warmed up and turned out to the be the nicest weather day so far on the trip. I didn’t think that I had much chance to finish another 18 holes but I still wanted to play somewhere until it got dark to enjoy the nice day. I figured that by the time I got over to another course, it would leave only 2 hours of daylight. Not impossible to make it around before dark, but highly unlikely.

I actually went over to Hyland Golf Club which is a few miles from Talamore in hopes of playing 13 or 14 holes. I got over there a bit before 2:30pm and was hopeful of maybe another round! However, the proshop told me that carts needed to be in by 4pm when I inquired about playing. I mentioned that I’d like to take the cart for the front nine and then walk until dark. That got shot down too because he then mentioned that they want all golfers off the course at 4pm.

The guy at Hyland was honest which I appreciate! But, I didn’t want to play just nine holes so I hurried back over to Whispering Pines. I knew for sure that they would be open until dark based on my experience on Thursday! Plus, the facility has 36 holes so golfers would be all spread out. Plus, I wanted to compare the River course to the Pines course while it was still fresh in my mind. I’ve played enough golf that I have certain hunches and was thrilled when I got there and the parking lot as deserted! I paid my $30, threw my clubs on the cart, and rushed to the first tee!

I started at 2:45pm, but I had the course to myself! I’ve never played a round of golf in 2 hours before so my only goal was to try to see all 18 holes (even if I didn’t get to play all of them). I blitzed through the front nine in less than an hour and just saw one group that peeled off into the community before I caught them. I putted with my glove on, didn’t line up putts, and did some running to get to my shots because it was cart path only! I played in a little less than 2 hours which is the fastest that I’ve ever played! I wouldn’t want to play every round that quickly, but I had a lot of fun.

The River course is going to the shorter, more player friendly course on the property. It plays to a par 71 (with three par 5’s) and is only 6,521 yards from the blue tees where I played. The rating is 70.8 and the slope is 130 so it would be the first choice for someone who doesn’t play much. There are some narrower fairways but plenty of room to miss on either side. The openness and many short irons are going to lead to some good scores! There are a few forced carries on the back, but someone who is learning the game could still enjoy the course without getting beat up too bad. I only faced a couple shots where things can go terribly wrong. It had a very relaxed feel to me even though I was rushing around.

The front nine is a very simple with holes 1 through 5 all playing in the same direction before holes 6 through 8 run back the opposite direction. Most of the holes on the front are parallel, separated by pines, and pretty flat so the front nine isn’t anything special. Even though the back nine still has some parallel holes and not much elevation change, it is more interesting because it works its way around some lakes with water coming into play on about six holes. However, the water should only into play on a very poor shot. I’ll also add that the front nine doesn’t return to the clubhouse on either course so anyone considering walking is going to want to keep that in mind.

Not surprisingly, the River course was in similar shape to the Pines course. The fairways were still trying to grow in from the overseed and the greens were aerated and sanded. Therefore, I didn’t get to enjoy putting on what I think could be some tricky greens. They rolled well considering the recent maintenance, but were a little slow. If they were faster then I think they could challenge even the best green reader because it looked like they had subtle breaks. I didn’t care about the condition of the course though! I was just out to enjoy some nice weather and add another course to my list.

The Pines course is going to be the championship course on the property so if someone is trying to decide between the two I’d give the nod to that one. The River isn’t bad, but I’d recommend it more for couples, seniors, or juniors. The courses aren’t too dramatic and don’t have the charm that some of the other local courses do, but I don’t have anything bad to say about them! The Country Club of Whispering Pines offer 36 holes at a reasonable cost and the courses won’t beat someone up which is why I liked playing them.

#1 (462 yard par 5):

The 1st is the shortest par 5 on the course and it is nearly 100 yards shorter than the other two. So, it offers a chance to get out of the gates with a birdie! The fairway is narrow, there is some trouble left, and the fairway runs out into a creek. Because it is uphill to the green, someone might have to land it short of the green with a long club to keep it on the putting surface.

1-1 1-2

#2 (365 yard par 4):

I was rushing and didn’t get a picture of this hole. The distance and left to right shape of the hole is actually similar to the 3rd. The fairway narrows as someone gets closer to the green and the green angles back and to the right.

#3 (351 yard par 4):

There isn’t much to this par 4. The long hitters can carve a left to right tee shot over that bunker to leave a flip wedge into the green. I hit a 3 wood and a pitching wedge so there are a couple different ways to play the hole. The main challenge here is going to be a green with some humps and bumps which will test lag putting.

3-1

#4 (416 yard par 4):

This is the 3rd handicap hole on the course and one of the few on the course that could cause major trouble! The fairway slopes from left to right, the hole moves the other way, and the fairway is narrow. That would make for a tough tee shot even without having to fire through a small gap in the trees! The green slopes severely from left to right so I would favor the left side of the green in hopes of the ball releasing to the right.

4-1

#5 (180 yard par 3):

Again, sorry no picture! This par 3 continues the trend of outbound holes to the edge of the property before the rest of the front plays the opposite direction. The hole plays slightly downhill to a small green that has bunkers around most of the front of it. Therefore, if someone doesn’t like playing from the sand then a little long of the green is the miss.

#6 (380 yard par 4):

This is a straightaway par 4. There is a little slope from right to left but the only trouble is going to be left of the rough. I like that there is a fairway bunker to the left which helps catch some wayward shots. The approach plays to a slightly elevated green that could be another challenge to two putt.

6-1

#7 (552 yard par 5):

This is the hardest hole on the course! The yardage isn’t overwhelming but it plays uphill which adds a few yards. It was into the wind when I played and I hit a good drive, but unfortunately it didn’t get to the top of the hill. I was left trying to hit a 3 wood from an uphill lie to lay it up. The fairway is narrow too if someone doesn’t make it to the top of the hill. After a couple good shots someone can still have a short iron approach so that is nice.

7-1 7-3

#8 (322 yard par 4):

This is most likely a position hole but someone could hit a driver up near the front edge. The best play is out to the right off the tee which leaves a good angle into the green. If someone hits it left of the cart path then it could chase out of bounds. Time for a birdie!

8-1

#9 (204 yard par 3):

The front closes with one of the few holes on the course that has some elevation change. It plays about a club downhill to a green guarded by some bunkers. I’d think that the bunker short of the green would get the most bunker play, but like most of the holes out here, it allows for some recovery.

9-1 9-2

#10 (567 yard par 5):

The 10th is the longest hole, and the last par 5, on the course. The hole doglegs to the right after the tee shot and the longer hitters can run through the fairway. The fairway is narrow but, except for some water down the right, the hole is relatively trouble-free.

 

10-1 10-2

#11 (380 yard par 4):

I really like this par 4! The hole moves to the right and has water left and right. The water on the right looks like it could easily come into play, but someone really has to shove one to end up in the hazard. Anything left of the cart path could get a nasty kick. After a good drive it is a chance to stick one close!

11-1 11-2

#12 (393 yard par 4):

Water runs the length of the hole on the left, but the nice thing is that it is set back far enough for the average golfer. There is lots of room out to the right and it is another straightforward iron shot into the green. I’d suggest missing short rather than right, left, or long because bunkers could grab shots in those directions.

12-1

#13 (345 yard par 4):

The 13th is the shortest par 4 on the back nine and requires some thought. The fairway runs out so I decided to hug the left side of the fairway with a 3 wood and had a little over 100 yards into the green. That was about as perfect as I could have drawn it up! What I didn’t realize is that the green angles to the back right and I couldn’t get comfortable with the approach over the water. The water should only come into play with a chuck though. If the short iron isn’t accurate then it could leave a long putt.

13-1

#14 (166 yard par 3):

I think that this is the best par 3 on the course! It is mid-length so I’d say that most folks have a chance to carry it over the water and onto the green. The front pin can be tricky because the water cuts around the green on both sides making accuracy important. Another nice thing is that the deep green is wide enough to catch an average shot.

14-2

#15 (384 yard par 4):

I think that this is one of the trickiest holes on the course! It isn’t long, but position is important. I thought that I ended up in a perfect spot down the left side of the fairway but as you can see from the 2nd picture, I was a bit blocked out from the green. I was forced to try to hook a short iron around some trees short of the green. That didn’t work and it clattered around in them and dropped into a hazard. I’d certainly recommend playing the tee shot out to the right which will leave a longer, but clearer shot at the green.

15-1 15-2

#16 (190 yard par 3):

This is a long par 3 that plays to a green that falls off on most sides. The slope isn’t severe, but it just enough to test someone’s short game if they miss the green. It is pretty open around the green so it allows someone to hit a loose shot with a long club.

16-1

#17 (431 yard par 4):

The 17th is the first of two stout closing par 4’s! The length is going to be the main challenge especially considering that greenside bunkers pinch the opening up to the green. A right to left tee shot is the best shot shape, but not necessary.

17-1 17-2

#18 (433 yard par 4):

Normally, I’m not a big fan of a long par 4 to close. I like the chance for a good score to end the day, but this is a pretty well design finishing hole. It is a long, uphill par 4 (#2 handicap) so a good tee shot is needed for a reasonable length second. The slope in the fairway is from right to left so that adds some difficulty too. The green slopes from back to front so someone has to hit some very nice shots to end up with a par to close. The nice thing is that there are plenty of spots out to the right to play from.

18-1

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