Hit a tee shot from a cliff overlooking the Tennessee River, over what seems to be a bottomless ravine. Stand in the fairway and aim at twin greens bisected by an 80-foot waterfall. From a bluff above the Alabama River, watch your drive sail through the clouds then fall to a ribbon of fairway 200 feet below. These are the kinds of shots you always remember – the ones that give you that extra zing of adrenaline before and after you swing. You'll find these breathtaking shots up and down the world-famous Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Alabama, which helped transform the state into one of the most popular golf destinations in the world. Others have tried to copy the concept, but Alabama's trail is the unrivaled original.
Hoover's Ross Bridge, the Trail's crown jewel, opened in 2006 and became home to the Regions Charity Classic. Nestled in the peaceful valley of Shades Mountain, the wide-open layout gives golfers variety and options, including the chance to play an 8,200-yard course if you're feeling feisty. It is just down the road from Birmingham's Oxmoor Valley, a 54-hole facility.
Other Trail sites with 54 holes include Capitol Hill in Prattville, Grand National in Opelika, Magnolia Grove in Mobile, and Hampton Cove in Huntsville. Several others have 36 holes, like The Shoals in Florence, Silver Lakes in Anniston, Highland Oaks in Dothan, Cambrian Ridge in Greenville and Lakewood in Point Clear.
The Trail stops are spaced conveniently along the state's major roads, so you are never far away from one of those memorable golf shots. Most Trail sites are now associated with luxury Marriott hotels and spas, making stay-and-play packages convenient and affordable.