By Mike May
There are not enough column inches to give you a blow-by-blow account of all the great golf holes in Alabama, I will briefly describe seven of the finest holes, so you will have an idea of what to expect.
The Ridge course at Oxmoor Valley, built on land once mined by U.S. Steel, offers several elevation changes, filled with many memorable photo ops!
The par 5 third hole is cleverly designed for a tee shot to a peninsula-like fairway. The green is raised from the fairway and supported by a shelf of exposed shale rock, plus reclaimed railroad ties. At this a one-of-a-kind hole, par is to be celebrated, but birdies are a possibility.
Many of the holes, at the Lake and Links courses at Grand National, border the 600-acre Lake Saugahatchee. When you play the Links course, many people walk off the 18th green convinced that they just played one of the most difficult finishing holes in the state. It features a tee shot struck across the corner of the lake., while the approach is hit to a shallow, raised green, supported by massive rocks.
Bring out the camera for the par 3 15th hole at the Lake course. Its 100 percent carry over water and is one of most scenic holes on the entire RTJ Golf Trail.
Words cannot do justice to the view as you stand on the first tee of the Judge, located at Capitol Hill. With a 200-foot drop to the fairway, it is simply stunning! Plus, it is flanked by the backwaters of the Alabama River. Straight is preferable, as water flanks the right and rear of the Judge’s first green.
FarmLinks’ par 3 fifth offers one of the most dramatic and visually appealing shots that you will ever hit in your golfing life. After taking a winding trek uphill to the tee box, golfers are faced with a 170-foot downhill shot to the largest green at FarmLinks. Sulphur Mountain can be seen in the distance. This is FarmLinks’ version of a ‘Rocky Mountain High.’
NorthRiver Yacht Club features many classic holes, but the finest of those is the par 4 16th hole. From any of the four tee boxes, water must be carried, preferably with a left-to-right ball flight. The approach must not drift right or short, otherwise it might get ‘wet’ or ‘sandy.’ If the wind is in your face, it’s one of the finest holes in the state.
“The 16th hole at NorthRiver is a beautiful golf hole that requires some thought, says Andrew Tomes, Director of Golf, NorthRiver Yacht Club.
“The fairway slopes from left to right and eventually falls into a pond that lines the complete right side of the fairway. The pond extends up close to the green that features a narrow kidney shape. The green falls from right to left and is heavily bunkered. Par is a great score on this hole!”
Finally, the 9th hole at Ross Bridge is particularly interesting. It is a right-to-left dogleg par four where water hugs the left side of the fairway from tee to green. To complicate matters, the fairway is split by a bunker. Choose your route wisely and commit to your shot!
These courses are all accessible, affordable and available for play today!
Finally, when you visit Ol’ Colony, consider wearing a cream and crimson outfit since it’s the home course of the University of Alabama golf program. Roll Tide!