The northern Alabama city of Huntsville is situated in Madison County, close to the border with Tennessee, and it nestles in the Cumberland Plateau of the Appalachian Mountains. The city is partially surrounded by hills, three of which run lie to the east of the city centre and on one of these peaks, known as “Huntsville Mountain,” sits a small residential development that has The Ledges as its sporting focal point.
Opened in 2000, the course was designed by Dr Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry when they were in partnership together and it occupies a rather spectacular site overlooking the city. The front nine holes are set out on the northern portion of the property, where a number of stone walls and rock formations have been cleverly incorporated into the design.
Quite a few of the holes have been routed along ridge lines, especially the finishing four holes, where each of the fairways drop off to the left. The best of this closing quartet is undoubtedly the 403-yard 16th, where the fairway leads to a raised green that’s fronted by a menacing creek and an intimidating 12-foot deep, sod-lined bunker.
The Ledges in Huntsville, Alabama is well worth playing. It is located at the highest point in Huntsville, over 1500 feet above sea level and is a challenging shot maker’s course. My favorite hole is Hawks Haven, the downhill 178 yard par 3 11th. It is a well-protected redan green with bunkers right and left and anything left of that will literally go off the ledge. This hole was made for me, as it favors a right to left ball flight. I do not hit the ball very high, so it is typically difficult for me to be pin seeking unless the pin is back. It was, I felt good about this one, and aimed at the right edge of the right bunker and let my six iron rip. As soon as I hit it I said, “That should be pretty good.” Sure enough, it started drawing in towards the green, landed on the front third and bounced towards the pin. I started rooting the ball on and coaxing it towards the hole and it was listening quite nicely. The ball rolled and rolled and just when I thought it may go in, it wobbled and came to rest about 18 inches left on the cup. My playing partner said, ‘Wow, I thought that was going to go in for a minute. What a beautiful shot.” I said, “Thanks, but I pulled it.”