Panther Golf Course at The Woodlands Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.3

Golf - Resort Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
The Woodlands
Website · Locate This Course
· Stay & Play

Dsc_0622 Dsc_0645 Dsc_0624

Panther Golf Course at The Woodlands Review

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.

Dsc_0627 Dsc_0640 Dsc_0633

Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Black 7,044 74.3 134
Blue 6,201 70.6 128
White 5,614 67.5 120
Gold 6,606 72.2 130
Red 4,896 69.6 116

Course Information

Course Architect:
Joe Lee & Robert von Hagge
Greens Type:
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Fairway Condition
Bunker Condition
Beware of water on 10 holes and the 54 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
9.3 out of 10
Fun to Play:
Front Nine Rating:
Back Nine Rating:


Approximate Weekend
$38.00 to $88.00

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.



Here's How Texas Outside Determines the Scorecard Rating

The Texas Outside rating scale ranges from 1 to 10 – a perfect 10 course would be something like this:  links along a cliff overlooking the Pacific ocean and bordered by tall trees; lush fairways on rolling hills with lots of natural hazards; water (which is crystal clear) on most of the holes; immaculate greens (but they are undulating and tough); lots of variety and character (each hole is completely different and includes blind shots, elevation changes, doglegs, and significant challenges); perfectly manicured traps with the whitest and prettiest sand you’ve ever seen; a nice club house with great food and a 19th hole; a GPS; plenty of beverage carts or your own cooler and ice; and it only costs $40 bucks! What this means is that you probably won’t find any 10s in Texas – try Cabo San Lucas, Pebble Beach, or some of the Hawaii courses! 
Texas Outside rates courses on the following:

  • Beauty – tall trees, rolling hills, beautiful houses, waterfalls, and similar stuff would score high; a 1 would be flat, bushes or cactus instead of trees, and some grass but mostly weeds
  • Difficulty – a straight, 300 yard par 4 with no traps or hazards, no out of bounds or water would probably get a 1; if it is a 460 yard par 4 over two ravines, with water along one side, natural hazards on the other, strategically placed traps or that dreaded tree right in the middle of the fairway, we are talking a 10. 
  • Variety – what would you give a course where all the holes looked and played exactly the same (“I thought we just played that hole!”); were side-by-side, which is good for finding or dodging other people’s balls, but not much fun; and you can see the flag from every tee box?  That’s right, it gets a 1.
  • Fun Scale – a 10 is where you walk off the course and say “now that was fun” and you can’t wait to get back, or you immediately turn around and play another 18 holes
  • Value – a 5 is $50 to $60, a 10 is $20 to $30, and 1 is $200 or so – of course all of this is dependent upon how you liked the course.  For example, if a run down, boring municipal course, with six players on each hole was only $10; it would still get a value rating of 1.
  • Condition – this one’s pretty easy – what condition are the fairways. A 10 commands very lush perfectly manicured fairways, compared to a 1, which has fire ants, weeds, and more dirt than grass!
  • Condition of Greens and Difficulty – very hard to read greens with lots of undulation and tough pin placement, rate very high on the difficulty scale.  Condition is self-explanatory.  

All of the above determines the overall score for the golf course.  In other words, we like courses that are pretty, fun, very challenging with a lot of variety, and fairways and greens in excellent condition – all for $40.  We also tend to play the courses that are affordable for the masses, which means in the $30 to $80 range. We rate hard and we haven’t found a 10 in Texas yet – don’t worry we haven’t given up and we’re still looking.