Panther Golf Course Review – The Woodlands Resort
In August 2014, Dallas based ClubCorp, a well respected publicly traded company which is a leading owner/operator of over 3400 holes of golf at numerous public and private courses across the United States – acquired Panther Trail, Oaks, and Lake Windcrest. Shortly after the acquisition, ClubCorp made a number of changes, some of which included:
- Reinvented Royal Mile Bar & Grille with an expanded bar, updated designs and improved seating
- Redid all of the bunkers on Panther with new soft white sand which improves playing quality and aesthetics plus they added a Top-of-the-line construction method that provides maximum drainage
- Enhanced course and range amenities
Originally designed by Joe Lee & Robert von Hagge, Panther was completely renovated in 2002 by Roy Case. The renovation gave the course new contours, water features, and over 20 acres of wildflowers. The designers have created an excellent layout with good variety, plenty of dog legs, water on 10 holes, and pristine conditions. To play Panther you need to be a Woodlands Resort Guest which is adjacent to the course and the Resort has a fantastic Stay & Play rate – read our review of the Woodlands Resort & Conference Center Stay & Play.
Panther was recently ranked one of the "Top 5 Courses To Play in the Houston Area" and it made our list of the "Best of Houston Golf Courses" and "Best Courses in Texas" list. Panther Trail is home to some outstanding holes, including the "Best Par 4 in Houston.” Some of the holes we loved included:
- #1 sets the stage for what you can expect – a carry over a pond to a dog leg left contoured fairway (a great risk-reward opportunity for the big hitters) leading to a green guarded with two large bunkers
- all of the par 3s are excellent and require an accurate tee shot to avoid some big bunkers, a creek crossing in front the green, mounds, and a lake
- #9 is fun – a 571 par 5 that curves around a lake on the way to the green – accuracy, course management, and some guts to try and fly the lake to stuff it on the green are required for par
- the back nine is outstanding – every hole is unique and different and it throws a little bit of everything at you including dog legs, water, strategically placed bunkers, risk-reward opportunities, forced carries, mounds, and raised guarded greens
- #18 will make you want to come back and play this course again – for this hole, save your best approach shot to stuff it on the island green with two big bunkers
Each time we have played Panther Trails the fairways were like velvet, the rough was very thick but playable, the bunkers were perfect, and the greens were in excellent condition and running about a nine to ten on the Stimp Meter.
The greens can be tough – most are about average size, some are turtle back, a majority have some slope and contour, and all are pretty well protected. They are smooth and run at a great speed, run true, and hold the ball well.
The bunkers range in size and shape, the lips are manageable, and the white sand is perfect. We played just after some huge rain storms and the bunkers were dry and soft. Another course we played the next day had bunkers that were like swimming pools with lots of damage.
Bottom line – Panther is a must play if you're in the Houston Area. If you're not local, you should consider making a trip to The Woodlands, staying at The Woodlands Resort & Conference Center, and playing the Oaks, Lake Windcrest, and Panther. Once you've played those three courses, there are several other excellent courses nearby. Panther was one of the courses that we played on a 90 hole 4 day Golfing Southeast Texas Vacation.
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Service is excellent, the pro shop is very well stocked, and there is a great practice facility. The restaurant above the pro shop is excellent.
Jasmine and Christy Lee set us up for a stay in may 2015