Monday, February 13, 2012

Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail

Robert Trent Jones is a famous golf course designer. The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Alabama is one of the largest golf construction projects attempted. The 11 golf clubs stretch from the Lakewood Golf Club in the south, to the Shoals in the north. In total, the trail extends 384 miles.

Lakewood Golf Club

Starting in the south, Lakewood Golf Club is a private club with two courses comprising 36 holes. This course has undergone extensive renovations and can be considered the most recent addition to the trail. It has considerable water features, and is lined with 200-year old oak trees.

Magnolia Grove

Just beyond Lakewood, you can find Magnolia Grove. This boasts three courses, the Crossings, Falls and an 18-hole par 3 known as the Short Course. The Short Course is regarded as one of the best par 3s in America while the longer ones are championship courses.

Highland Oaks

Highland Oaks is special for its 9-hole courses. It has four golf courses in total, with three championship courses and a short par-3 course which is most notable for its putting greens and bunkers.

Cambrian Ridge

The Cambrian Ridge also focuses on 9-hole courses. Take a look at The Sherling Trail, which may well be the best nine on the trail. The ninth hole features an uphill hole with a deep ravine, and shares a double green with Canyon's nine.

Capital Hill

Capital Hill, as the name suggests, does have a certain theme. With three courses appropriately named: The Senator, The Legislator and The Judge. These are three 18-hole championship courses, with The Senator having a Scottish style links layout.

Grand National Club

If looking for a longer par 3 course, the Grand National Club will be worth a look. It has an 18-hole par 3 course, in addition to two 18-hole championship courses. The links course is the cornerstone course, and has perhaps the hardest finishing hole on the trail. Spanning across a lake on the left, the tee shot requires a shot across the left side to make the fairway.

Ross Bridge

Ross Bridge has just the one 18-hole links course, the fewest number of holes for any club on the trail. It is designed for tournament play and has considerable elevation changes, combined with water and natural hazards, to provide a test.

Oxmoor Valley

For scenic forests, and numerous creeks, you might consider trying Oxmoor Valley. It boasts 56 holes, across three 18-hole courses. The short course provides elevation changes, and many downhill holes.

Silver Lakes

Silver Lakes provides four 9-hole golf courses. With some especially scenic golf, the Heart-breaker nine is considered to be the most challenging nine on the trail from the pro tees.

Hampton Cove

Hampton Cove has three golf courses on offer. The most unique of these is the River Course, the only Robert Trent course without a single bunker!

The Shoals

This brings us to the furthest northern course on the trail - The Shoals. It has two 18-hole courses, and Fighting Joe is an especially long one. As the first on the trail to break 8,000 yards, it is long trek.

These 11 golf clubs provide a number of fantastic championship and short courses for the average golfer to try their hand. Be careful on the harder ones, they are not ideal for the beginner, but the shorter courses can be suitable. One thing is certain; you will not be lost for choice, for the trail has a total of 26 golf courses on its 11 sites! Check out the Trent Jones Trail website for further details. 

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