Golf

Take on the Pines and Lakes of Whitmoor Country Club

At Whitmoor Country Club, we have great variety in our two beautifully maintained courses, designed by Karl Litten in 1988. A Florida architect, Litten is known for courses he designed in that state as well as for designing Dubai's Emirates Golf Club, among the first grass courses in the Middle East. He has also laid out many well known courses in the Caribbean and Australia.

Our North and South courses weave through a community of gracious homes and along gentle hillsides shaded by statuesque maples, white pines, oaks and birches. Watch as creeks meander throughout both courses connecting Whitmoor's 10 lakes.

The North is a par-71, slightly shorter than its big brother, the par-72 South, according to Brian Maine, Director of Golf. But both share many similarities: lots of hilly fairways, plentiful doglegs and exciting water shots. “The greens at Whitmoor are huge,” said Maine, “and many of them have multiple tiers. There is a great benefit to placing your shots.”

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Here are some other suggestions from Brian Maine, for playing the two courses:

The North

You start your round on the North with a slight dogleg right par-4 (441 yards from the back and 256 from the front). A large lake, thick with cattails and brush, runs down the right side of the fairway so slicers need to be extra cautious. Drifting right can mean the loss of your ball. But trees and an out-of-bounds area lurk on the left as well. “But players need to favor the left side to get the right angle to the green,” said Maine.

Next you meet No. 2, “effectionately known as 'The Monster,'” said Maine. This signature hole on the North won its nickname partly because of the 10-acre lake running down the right side of the fairway but also because of No. 2's length. It's a spectacular and super-size par-5 (605 yards from the back and 413 from the front) so even the best and longest players need three shots to reach the green.

You'll be making your approach to the green with a carry over part of the lake that's 100 yards wide at its narrowest point. “Every shot here has a hazard in play, and it's almost impossible to reach the green in two shots,” said Maine. “For your tee shot, you need to stay left avoiding the water hazard on the right. Your next shot is a lay-up where the player will try and leave him/herself an approach shot of 150 to 125 yards to the green.”

Your next hole is an all uphill par-3 with pretty good length (203 yards from the back and 118 from the front). You'll need an extra club to reach the elevated green. Just be sure to look for the pin and hit the correct tier with your tee shot, according to Maine. “If you're on the wrong tier, it almost always means a three-putt.” Lots of narrow fairways run through the North, and one of them is No. 5, a par 4 that measures 377 yards from the back and 301 from the front. Mounds and an out-of-bounds area stands on the left and trees and an out-of-bounds area lies to the right. An accurate drive on this straight par-4 is imperative.

“No. 7 is a great hole,” said Maine. “It's a sharp dogleg right and you need a good tee shot.”

First you need to hit a fairway wood or long iron to the middle of the fairway on this par-4 that plays at 402 yards from the back and 331 from the forward. “The more of the hole that you try to bite off from the tee, the narrower the fairway gets, putting both length and accuracy at a premium,” said Maine.

In fact, there are bunkers left and a lake down the right side of the fairway. The landing area slopes to the right which makes it easy for errant tee shots to roll into lake if you're not careful.

Precise tee shots are needed on the par-4 No. 10 where a lake runs up the length of the fairway on the left. “There's a little water to carry off of the tee, but it's not difficult,” said Maine. “The fairway narrows the as you get closer to the green. Most players will hit a fairway wood or long iron off of the tee. The approach is also difficult because you can't go short, left or right.”

One of the more difficult holes on the North is No. 14, a par-5 that measures 534 yards from the back and 426 from the front. It's tough reaching this green in two. Part of the problem is the water you have to cross to reach the putting surface. Make sure your second shot gets as close to the water as possible to allow an easy shot to the green.

On No. 15, a left-leaning par-4 that plays at 402 yards from the back and 291 from the front, you can see all the dangers that lie ahead off the tee. The landing area is very narrow and has a set of treacherous bunkers. “The sand makes this hole tough,” said Maine. “You want to be left off the tee, but you don't want to end up in those bunkers.”

No. 17, a par-4 that plays at 391 yards from the back and 282 from the front, you face out-of-bounds to the right and a pond in front of you. “You don't have to hit driver here. It's about 180 yards to the landing area, and then straight up a long, steep hill.” said Maine. "It's a large two-tiered green with a huge bunker on the right. Don't go long or right and make sure that you are on the correct tier or you can leave 17 with a big number.”

A great par-4 (376 yards from the back and 278 from the front) awaits you as your final test on the North. This hole is a sharp dogleg left. A short tee shot leaves a blind downhill shot into a green around the bend. The trick is getting your drive to the bend. “Reaching the dogleg is key. It will leave you with a short iron downhill with a perfect view of the green. “Don't try to cut the corner or hook it left or you will loose your ball in the naturalized area or hit it out of bounds.”

Distance, rating and slope on the North Course: 6,645 yards (72.3/132); 6,257 (70.6/127); 5,730 (ladies 72.5/126 and men 68.0/122); 5,591 (ladies 71.7/67.4 and men 67.4/120); 4,803 (67.4/108).

The South

The South Course at Whitmoor has many of the same features as the North, but with added length. From the Black or the Blue tees, the South is one of the toughest tests in the St. Louis Area. It also sweeps across the rolling terrain with a more open feeling and gives players a true taste of the local countryside.

The first hole, 435-yards from the back tees and 325 from the forward, is the longest par-4 at Whitmoor and is also primarily uphill, which makes it feel even longer. There's a wide-open landing area off the tee. “You need to know where the pin is,” said Brian Maine, Director of Golf at Whitmoor. “Finding the right tier is essential. Par is a good score here.”

Early on, you'll face No. 4, a tricky par-4 that measures 374 yards from the back and 252 from the front. “No. 4 is definitely one of our harder holes,” said Maine. “It looks short, but every year, it has a very high stroke average. There is a lake in front of the tee boxes, running into a creek along the right-hand side. You'll also see lots of trees on the right. Then your second shot is over a lake that lies in front of the green. Stay to the left so you can see the green.”

That green on No. 4 slopes from back to front, and Maine advises players to keep their approach shots below the hole.

Nos. 5 and 6 are among the major tests for golfers on the South Course. The fifth hole is a dogleg left par-5, measuring 575 yards from the back tees and 468 from the forward. This hole definitely requires three good shots to get to the green. Bunkers on the left, in the bend of the dogleg, make it difficult to cut the corner here. “The green has three tiers, so check the color of the pin before you hit your approach,” Maine said.

The par-4 No. 6 measures 429 yards from the back and 312 from the front and is the No. 1 handicap hole on the South. The length requires a good tee shot, as close as you can to a large pond in front of the green. If you're short off the tee, you might have to lay up and approach the green with your third shot. “Aim for the right of the fairway, but watch out for the bunkers there,” said Maine. “You need to end up about 150 to 175 yards from the green. Then you have to take your second shot over a creek to the hole.”

Water is also an issue on No. 9, a par-4 that measures 386 yards from the back tees and 281 from the front. Use a fairway wood or three iron off the tee so that you can have an accurate tee shot to the right half of the fairway and avoid the slope on the left that will roll your ball into the rough. “You need to knock your drive down the right side and end up in front of a lake that surrounds the green on the front, back and right,” said Maine. “You have to land your approach on the green. There is no room to run your ball up on the green. The green is huge and better golfers won't have a problem here. Everyone else, just shoot for the middle of the green.”

On the par-4 No. 10 (397 yards from the back and 255 from the front), you'll find 75 yards of water in front of the tee boxes. “The water is not that intimidating,” said Maine. “The intimidating part of number 10 is the very long, very uphill fairway beyond the water.”

The fairway climbs upward, dips down and then makes its way back uphill. All of that upslope makes it play longer than it looks. The green has four tiers so pay attention to the pin location. “Going left of the green leaves you with an impossible up and down,” said Maine.

When No. 13 was first built, this double dogleg par-5 (571 yards from the back and 407 from the front) was called “The Sidewinder.” “For most players, this is a three-shot par-5,” said Maine.

Not only do you have to hit long on the 13th, you've also got to cross a pond that splits the fairway in two in the middle. Your drive plays a key role in your success here. From the tee, you need to get as close as you can to the water. “If you don't cross the water on your second shot, you're really behind the eight-ball,” said Maine. “Once you're over the pond, it's an uphill shot to reach the green.”

Finally, you think you can relax on No. 14 a short par-3 (185 yards from the back and 75 from the front), but there's a lake to cross here off the tee. You'll need an accurate shot here to make par. Short and you are in the water or a bunker...long and you are over the green, past the mounds and rolling down a hill.

A dogleg left par-4 (391 yards from the back and 290 from the front) on No. 18 provides a grand finale for the South Course. A long iron or fairway wood are best off the tee in order to avoid trees left and right in the landing area. Your approach shot is hit over a lake. “You have to hit across the water with everyone standing on the deck of the clubhouse watching how you play the hole,” said Maine. “It makes for a great scene during the club championship.”

Distance, rating and slope on the South Course: 6,970 yards (73.8/138); 6,522 (71.5/134); 6,033 (ladies 73.8/127 and men 69.3/129); 5,802 (ladies 72.6/126 and men 68.0/128); 5,001 (68.6/116).