Southards: Whispering Woods Golf Club makes a comeback

Whispering Woods Golf Club wants to shout that it is making a comeback.

The club in Whispering Pines fell into disrepair under previous owners who let maintenance slip while they tried to sell it.

But now the course has new green surfaces, a new general manager and other improvements. Things began to change when the course was taken over by Warrior Golf Management about 18 months ago.

Two men are spearhead-ing the effort. Chris Hawk left Cypress Lakes about three weeks ago to take over as general manager. Course superintendent Randy Hilburne has been on the scene for seven years. He has seen the bad times and is now enjoying the turnaround.

“I moved here to join Warrior Golf, because I heard so many good things about them,” Hawk said. “They are one of the few companies putting capital back into golf courses. Then I met Randy and saw what they had done here.”

The course closed July 1 to resurface the greens with Champion Bermuda grass, a more heat tolerant strain. It reopened Sept. 6.

The biggest problem the course had was getting water on it. A breach in the dam at its water source restricted watering to the greens only.

“We could only water about 20 minutes per day,” Hilburne said. “We kept the greens alive and it just barely did. We couldn’t water the fairways and tees.”

But the dam has been fixed, a new pump station installed and the irrigation system upgraded.

“Warrior has poured some money into it,” Hilburne said. “We also renovated the bunkers.”

Membership fell to about 50 people because of the decline of the course, but it survived on outside play. Hilburne said there has been “an uptick in play and we’re getting positive reviews.”

“The golf course is in tremendous shape,” Hawk said. “Everybody that comes in the shop is glowing about it.”

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