Situated on the northern shores of Wilson Lake, close to where Shoal Creek enters the Tennessee River, Turtle Point Yacht & Country Club was built on a 200-acre site belonging to one of its founders, Stanley Robbins.
Debuting in 1961, it opened with a marina, its first tennis court, and a brand new 18-hole layout designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr.
The course features spacious greens and trademark runway tee boxes, with a rather clever routing that makes the most of the long slope down toward the water and a small valley that cuts through the middle of the property.
Playing away from the river, the architect quickly takes golfers to the top of the property with an uphill approach at the doglegged 1st and a challenging one-shot 2nd which plays all of 230 yards to a back pin placement. The par four 3rd parallels a valley with a domed fairway and a lone bunker protecting a large green that measures 43 yards in length.
The 4th is a bit tight, with mature trees encroaching somewhat, as it plays around the end of the valley. The 519-yard 5th requires a good tee shot to reach a plateau landing area then the hole plunges down into a valley with a pond protecting the front and left of the putting surface.
The 6th is a 435-yard par four that plays up and out of the valley to one of the few seriously contoured greens on the layout. The 7th veers back toward the lake before the 168-yard 8th and its offset green is tackled. The 472-yard par four 9th then plays to the river, dropping around 50 feet from tee to green.
The par three 10th takes advantage of a narrow portion of the property, close to the clubhouse, before the 502-yard 11th doglegs severely right and uphill to a 2-tiered green. The 459-yard 12th continues to rise through the valley and plays a lot longer than the scorecard indicates.
A couple of “breathers” arrive at the 13th and 14th, running parallel to each other, then the 15th and 16th play along the ridge toward the river with the front bunker at the 194-yard 16th the only greenside hazard on the course preventing a ground shot approach to the green.
The 548-yard par five 17th veers left and down toward the lake before the 364-yard “signature” 18th provides a memorable finish. The tee shot is aimed directly at the river then the fairway turns sharply left, across an inlet, to the home green located on the water’s edge.
Wonderful RTJs course located right on the Tennessee River in northern Alabama. Built in the early 1960's the pine trees have created tight fairways and they can block you out, especially on the par 5s. The par 3 8th, while not long has a redan green with a carry over H2O. Club selection is paramount. Number 9 is lovely par 4 heading south towards the clubhouse and the Tennessee River. It does have two fairway bunkers guarding the left and right as well as two greenside bunkers on the left and right. Ten is a tough uphill par 3 with four bunkers protecting the green from all quadrants. Depending where your drive is on the par 5 17th you may not be able to see the creek that bisects the fairway. Consider yourself warned. The 18th is the signature hole, relatively short par 3 over H2O going back to the clubhouse. The membership is especially proud of their flagpole which has a bunch of pennants flying. It was explained to me why one pennant was above the American flag. I did not quire understand, they were citing maritime law going back centuries, so i just nodded my head and said, "That is great. Thanks for having me."