RTJ Golf Trail is next for Shanks and the Boys
In addition to our 3-4 day mini-trips that we take throughout the year to Williamsburg or Pinehurst, the boys and I have gotten into the habit of taking one big trip per year, usually lasting one week or longer. And I should point out at this time that the lovely and wonderful Mrs. Shanks is verrrry understanding of my need for such golfing adventures.
After sandwiching a couple of drive & play trips to the Masters around a 2-week foray to the links nirvana of Scotland over the last few years, this year eight of us are flying south to the RTJ Golf Trail in Alabama for 9 days in early April. I’m not quite sure how we settled on this destination for 2006, but we have been aware of the Trail ever since it opened in 1992. I’ve always heard nothing but good things about it and am anxious to get a first-hand look at it myself. Several of the courses have held professional events from the LPGA & Nationwide Tour and the newest of them – Ross Bridge – is hosting its first Champions Tour event in May.
The Trail is set up for easy access by locating the course clusters very near the interstates. We will focus on the center of the state to keep the driving to a minimum as well as limiting ourselves to just one motel switch. What that means is we’re only going to see approximately half of the Trail. The combinations other than what we are doing seem endless – you could play the top half of the state, the bottom half, the Eastern half or Western half. Or you could take 2-3 weeks and play them all! Yeah, right.
Several of the the Trail locations actually have some high-end accommodations at or near the courses. My group prefers to forego the nice amenities since we don’t spend much time in our rooms. We will stay at nearby chain motels and put that little savings into sampling the local nightlife. My man Tim McDonald from this very website has given me some dining tips for the region. I hope he knows what he’s talking about. Otherwise the guys will be all over me. The trip starts in 10 days and, frankly, it’s hard to think about anything else. I guess everyone has their cross to bear.
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The Capitol Hill location near Montgomery has 3 18-hole tracks all by itself with another 63 holes within an hours drive. Oxmoor Valley in Birmingham has 2 18-hole courses with the new Ross Bridge layout just 3 miles away and another 27 holes within an hours drive. And that doesn't count the world-class par 3 short courses.
However, for the couple of us do enjoy a leisurely morning meal, it will be at Cracker Barrel instead of Waffle House, if at all possible. That competition is not even close!