The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail
The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, one of the most renowned golf destinations in the United States, was a visionary project brought to life through the collaborative efforts of a passionate team. The brainchild of Dr. David G. Bronner, CEO of the Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA), the trail was created to attract tourism and economic growth to Alabama. The idea was to leverage golf as a catalyst for development, providing world-class courses accessible to locals and visitors.
In the late 1980s, Dr. Bronner enlisted the expertise of renowned golf course architect Robert Trent Jones Sr. to design and develop the trail. Jones was already an established figure in golf, having designed numerous prestigious courses worldwide. His involvement was key to ensuring that the trail would succeed and could compete with the best golf destinations in the world.
Borrowing from a Field of Dreams, Bronner decided to “build it, and they will come.” Not a baseball diamond in an Iowa cornfield but a collection of public golf courses in Alabama like no other.
The construction of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail began in 1990, with the ambitious plan to build a series of 18 championship-caliber courses across Alabama. The trail would span across the state, covering diverse terrains and landscapes, showcasing the natural beauty of Alabama while offering golfers a unique and challenging experience at each location.
Over the years, the project saw tremendous progress, with each course meticulously designed and crafted by Robert Trent Jones Sr.’s team. The trail’s allure grew exponentially, attracting golf enthusiasts from far and wide and putting Alabama on the golfing map. As a result, the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail significantly boosted Alabama’s tourism industry and created thousands of jobs, transforming the state into a golfing destination that continues to thrive.
The Trail offers authentic championship layouts that have stood the test of time and will pose a serious challenge to golfers for years to come. Most people tend to forget or overlook easy courses or holes, but a golfer never forgets the exhilaration of hitting a brilliant shot to conquer one of the toughest holes. It stays etched in their memory forever. The Trail is full of golf holes that will become permanently etched in your memory. You may remember some of them for the wrong reason, and you can only think about returning for a do-over.
In a truly unique way, the Trail’s tee boxes are based on skill level, not gender or age. The course measures 4,700 to 7,700 yards from the tournament tees, offering various options for golfers of all skills.
Sunbelt Golf Corporation manages the RTJ Golf Trail. The philosophy from the beginning was to build the world’s finest collection of public golf courses and run them as a successful business investment. A dream come true for Alabama golfers and for golfers around the world, the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail is the only golfing experience of its kind in the world.
RTJ Golf Trail Courses/Locations
- Cambrian Ridge (27 holes) – Greenville
- Capitol Hill (54 holes) – Prattville
- Grand National (54 holes) – Opelika
- Hampton Cove (54 Holes) – Huntsville
- Highland Oaks (36 holes) – Dothan
- Lakewood Golf Club (36 holes) – Point Clear
- Magnolia Grove (54 holes) – Mobile
- Oxmoor Valley (45 holes) – Birmingham
- Ross Bridge (18 holes) – Birmingham
- Silver Lakes (36 holes) – Gadsden/Anniston
- The Shoals (36 holes) – Muscle Shoals
In addition to its world-class courses, the Trail offers a variety of amenities and services for golfers. Each course has its own clubhouse, complete with dining facilities and pro shops stocked with the latest golf equipment and apparel. The Trail also offers a variety of golf packages and special events, including golf schools and tournaments.
Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail – Resorts
The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Alabama is known for its world-class golf courses, but it’s also home to luxurious resorts that offer a complete vacation experience for golfers and non-golfers alike.
- Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa – Montgomery
- Renaissance Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa – Birmingham
- Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel – Mobile
- The Battle House Renaissance Mobile Hotel & Spa – Mobile
- The Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa – Point Clear
- Montgomery Marriott Prattville Hotel & Conference Center – Prattville
- Auburn Marriott Opelika Resort & Spa at Grand National – Opelika
- The Marriott Shoals Hotel & Spa – Florence
With their world-class accommodations, dining, and amenities, these resorts complement the Trail’s stunning golf courses, making for an unforgettable vacation experience.
The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail is a must-visit destination for any golfer seeking a challenging and rewarding experience. According to the New York Times, with its world-class courses, stunning natural scenery, and warm southern hospitality, “the Trail offers some of the best public golf on earth.”
It’s more than just a collection of great golf courses – rather a true destination for anyone who loves the game. So if you want a challenging round of golf with some of the best views in the south, we will see you on the tee box.
For more information, please visit rtjgolf.com.
Photos courtesy of The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.