Course Review: White Wing Golf Course

White Wing Golf Course
Sun City, Georgetown

Stereotyping is always dangerous and almost always unfair. But in my mind's eye, when I was invited to play White Wing in Del Webb's beautiful Sun City, north of Georgetown, I couldn't help but cons der these things:

1) Sun City is a retirement community

2) The minimum age to buy a piece of property there is 55

3) The golf course designers were well aware of items 1 and 2, above

Having played a few courses in retirement villages around the United States, I had no doubt that White Wing would be well groomed, beautifully sculpted, featureless, slow playing, and challenging only to the golfer who showed up with a solid 25 handicap.

Once again, as happens every time I stereotype, I was wrong. The course designers, Billy Casper and Greg Nash, obviously had not understood the stereotype when they put this beautiful, 6,288-yard gem together. The result is a “real” golf course, littered with diabolical obstacles, punitive roughs, and huge, undulating, fast (but true) greens of TifEagle Bermuda. The 419 Tifway Bermuda fairways set the ball up nicely for each shot, however, the thoughtless designers appear to have run out of gasoline for their chain saws. Starting immediately out on the first hole, a 335-yard par-4, they left a gigantic elm tree on the right hand side of the fairway, which forces you to aim well left of center if you wish to have a decent shot into the green. And, right in the middle of the par eighth, they forgot to take down a huge oak tree! When there weren't trees standing boldly in my way in the faiways, there were trees choking down the launch paths from the tee boxes. (With my patented “power fade,” better known as a slice, tight launch paths are the sure trail to bogey golf!)

Don't think that because you can navigate around the trees that you're out of the woods. There are beaches everywhere. I counted 56 of them, and while I didn't visit them all, most of the grooves on my sand wedge needed recutting at the end of my round. One particularly nasty bunker lurks on the back side of the 518-yard, par-5 third. (Nice people don't put bunkers in the BACK of greens!) And this one has a 5-foot high wall for you to scale as you attempt to hack your way out and onto the putting surface. It looks like an import from the Royal and Ancient!

The support infrastructure at White Wing is impressive. A 12,000 square-foot chipping green, a 15,000 square-foot putting green, a large driving range, a completely stocked pro shop, and a full service restaurant which opens at 7:00 am are first class, all the way. And if you'd like a few pointers, the resident pro, Bruno Ybarbo, will be glad to work with you.

White Wing is a worthy opponent to any of you who'd like an opportunity to use all the clubs in your bag and all the shots you've developed over the years. It's a demanding but fair golf course. And, by the way, they not only have a stringent “pace of play” rule, they enforce this rule stringently. You play your 18 holes in 4 hours and 15 minutes or you will be escorted from the course! It works wonderfully well, and I wish more courses would adopt this enforcement approach.

I give White Wing Golf Club two enthusiastic thumbs up!


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