3000 Robert Trent Jones Trail,
Alabama (AL) 36801,
- +1 334 749 9042
8 miles NW of Opelika
Welcome, contact in advance
The longest of the three courses on the RTJ Golf Trail at Grand National, the Links layout can be stretched to 7,311 yards and some think this well-manicured course is the best on the entire Trail. Certainly, the water-laden par four 18th is one of the strongest finishing holes on any of the twenty-six member courses across the state of Alabama.
The Links course doesn’t quite play as firm and fast as its name might suggest. Instead, it requires a decent aerial game to manoeuvre the golf ball around tree-lined fairways, where water and wetland areas come into play occasionally, and there are several holes with significant elevation changes.
Notable holes include the left doglegged par four 4th, where the fairway wraps itself around the waters of Lake Saugahatchee, the par three 9th, which is played to a 150-foot long peninsula green, and the solid par five 12th, with its fairway narrowing at it approaches a sand-protected green.
Perhaps it could have been called Redundant National. Four of the first seven greens were identical: three tiered jobs. On the back nine, a new redundancy appeared: a ridge bisecting the green from right to left. There were still a few of the first redundancies, though. So by the time I’d finished my round, I felt like I’d putted on half a dozen greens at the most.
Or perhaps it could have been called “The Long Walk.” No, it wasn’t nearly the length of Slawomir Rawicz’s trek from Siberia to India during World War II, but it certainly felt like it. I knew I was in for it when the path from the 1st green to the 2nd tee was nearly a quarter mile….as was the walk between the 15th and 16th. There were similar forced marches on half the holes. Yes, I could have taken a cart, but that sport bears only a passing resemblance to golf…..kinda like the difference between downhill skiing and cross-country.
The course does have some redeeming qualities, including good condition and some interesting holes. My four ball rating is nearly a three, but I will concede it is an above average course.
While it is longer than it's sister, The Lakes, i do not think it is as demanding or fun. A few holes of interest include the par 4 4th which doglegs around the lake, how big is your appetitie? The 9th is a cute mid length par 3 that juts out into the water. Other than that, rather pedestrian, but , as with almost all of the RTJ Trail a very good value