Montgomery is the capital of Alabama, and accordingly the most popular facility in the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail is located here. Although The Judge — with its challenging layout — is the big draw, The Legislator may be the most relaxing of the eighteens at Capitol, but that’s a low bar to set when Robert Trent Jones is the designer.
Indeed, the opening 630-yard par five is hardly a “gentle handshake.” It doesn’t let up from there, stretching nearly 7,500 yards from the back tees. Still, that’s the shortest yardage of the three courses at Capitol. There are some semblances of mercy that might make this the best “warm-up” round for the other two courses: This route is the most traditional in terms of its parkland layout. It features less water and, in a very rare occurrence for the RTJ Golf Trail, the par three No. 6 features absolutely no bunkers or ponds...just a multi-tiered green that demands accuracy.
The course will put on a showcase of the region’s ecosystems, rising and descending along its hilly terrain as well as tracing cypress marshes in the lowlands.
The Legislator was my favorite of the three courses at Capitol Hill. It's a unique layout with three different areas. The front nine is a nice piece of land with gentle, rolling hills. The course has the usual RTJ mult-tiered greens and multiple fairway and greenside bunkers that help define the line of play. The back nine occupies the same area of land that the Judge course is routed over. They actually do a pretty decent job of working the course up and around the large ridge, although a couple of the holes border on being ridiculously narrow. Once the back nine is up on the ridge the last three holes share the same land as the Senator course with a more open feel to them. Overall I enjoyed the course and the variety of holes.
The Legislator starts with a 600 plus par five that bends right. There is a pesky fairway bunker right in the landing zone and then two more left about 60 yards further. Play it as a three shotter. The 2nd also leans right and is slightly downhill and also has bunkers on the inside elbow. Off the tee favor left of the bunkers. Your approach will then be over the two left greenside bunkers. The 3rd is the shortest par three with two pot bunkers in front and one in the rear. The 4th is a long par four, albeit with a generous fairway with the landing area running down to the green. Tough hole. The 5th is another 600 yard par five. Favor the right side, as a hooker, I paid the price. Play it as a three shotter and be left of the large right fairway bunker about 140 yards out. The 6th is a mid-length par three with no hazards, however, it is a three tier green. The 7th is a sharp dogleg right with bunkers on the inside elbow. You can cut some of the corner. There are front bunkers but choose your approach club carefully as this narrow green is at least 60 yards deep. The 8th is the longest par four on the course. The fairway contours left to rate so favor the left side to take the right fairway bunker out of play. While, I was only in one of the two front pot bunkers, it was not a pleasant experience. The 9th is another hole that bends right. The right is protected by a ridge and there are fairway bunkers on the left side.
The back starts with another dogleg right. A decent drive in the landing area will then run downhill big time. Consider laying up. The 11th is the longest par three with a swamp carry. There are pot bunkers front and rear. The 12th is the shortest par four and probably the tightest with water on both sides. Consider laying up, as all you really need to do is find the fairway. The 13th is the shortest par five and is reachable. Favor the right side and the hero second shot will be all carry as there is a front bunker. Good birdie hole, yet it is the number four handicap hole. The 14th is the longest par four on the back and bends right. The hole contours left to right, so favor the left side of the fairway. The valley par four 15th is a unicorn, a dogleg left! Ample landing area, however, on the approach take an extra club. The 16th is a mid-length par three and is the number 18 handicap hole. Front and right bunkers. The 17th is probably the tightest par five with fairway bunkers on both sides. My advice is favor the right side and play it as a three shotter. The 18th is a straightaway par four. If the pin is right, it is green light. Learn from me, do not muck with a left pin. #@$%^&!
Predictable, but beats a sharp stick in the eye.