Cambrian Ridge .. Riding High On Alabama’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.

Scotland’s historic Home of Golf region, Ireland’s North and North-West links gems, Melbourne’s famed Sandbelt, Mytle Beach, the Costa del Sol, the Algarve, Mission Hills, Bulgaria’s Black Sea and Turkish delights in the Belek region.

Golfer’s around the world are spoilt for a choice of global golfing destinations.

This journalist has been very fortunate to travel to all of the above and more-recently I happened across another – the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.

Located in Alabama and where the Appalachian Trail ends, the ‘RTJ Golf Trail’ begins boasting 11 sites, 26 golf courses and a combined 468 holes spread out over a combined 100-miles.

The initial project saw the opening of eight sites and once opened, construction began on two new sites that were completed in 2005, expanding the Trail to 10 different sites. The historic Lakewood Club in Point Clear has undergone extensive renovations and is the Trail’s latest addition, bringing the total to 11 Trail sites.

Trent Jones,  who passed away in 2000, was known as ‘the father of modern golf course architecture, designing or re-designing more than 500 golf courses in 45 U.S. states and 35 countries. In reference to this, Jones took pride in saying, “The sun never sets on a Robert Trent Jones golf course.”

Indeed, he left Alabama with an impressive portfolio of golf courses to compliment the ‘Camellia State’.

Two of the world’s leading professional tours, the PGA Tour and LPGA Tour, know all about the ‘RTJ Golf Trail’ and so too do the likes of Lexi Thompson had her first professional win at the 2011 Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic on the Senator course at Prattville’s Capitol Hill in Montgomerie.

The world No. 1 duo of Aria Jutanugarn and Lorena Ochoa each won the Yokohama event twice while Scott Piercey, Aaron Baddeley, and Grayson Murray all won PGA TOUR events along the Trail.  In 2019, RTJ Capitol Hill was the only location in North America to host men’s and women’s professional golf events on the same course.

I visited the Cambrian Ridge near Greenville and around 40-miles south along the I-65 from Montgomerie.

Photo @tourmiss

Cambrian Ridge (Photo @tourmiss)

The driveway up to the Cambrian Ridge GC – Photo @tourmiss

After parking your vehicle the first impressions was the steepness of Cambrian Ridge with the clubhouse regions serving like a huge pulpit looking out over the 36-holes below.

There is four nine-hole loops at Cambrian Ridge:-

The Canyon nine, carved from former hunting grounds where deer blinds remain nailed to the hardwood, is a thrilling stretch of target-style golf.

The Loblolly nine, with its gently rolling fairways, massive bunkers, cathedral-like pines and water-fronted greens, exudes a stately, Augusta-like quality.

The morning mist makes for a stunning sight here on the 9th hole of the Sherling course at Cambrian Ridge. (Photo Cambrian Ridge)

Dawn breaks over the Cambrian Ridge course

The Sherling nine starts at the highest point in Butler county and drops to play along Sherling Lake before culminating with a dramatic climb on the final hole and

The nine-hole Short Course is a marvelous collection of holes laid out beautifully between a ridge and Sherling Lake, where water comes in to play on five holes.

The Sherling/Canyon combination was named in 1994 by Golf Digest as the 3rd best new public course in America when it opened and 13th in their list of America’s Top 50 Affordable Courses.

Since then Cambrian Ridge has not rested on its laurels with the Loblolly and Sherling nines upgraded in 2013 and 2014 while the Canyon nine was redesigned and completed in 2016.

The 3rd hole on th Loblolly Course at Cambrian Ridge (Photo – Cambrian Ridge)

Canyon course at Cambrian Ridge GC – View looking out over the par-5, 7th hole (Photo – Cambrian Ridge)

All greens were also redesigned to accommodate the higher greens speeds associated when the club replaced the turf with ultra-dwarf Bermuda grass.

Also, the club indicated many of the holes were redesigned to open up views of  Sherling Lake, deliver a challenging test of golf while providing players of all skill levels a variety of ways to play each hole and enjoy the experience.

Here is selection of four very positive reviews:

1.”We played the Loblolly & Sherling courses at Cambrian Ridge golf course in Greenville, Alabama and had a great time. This Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail course has it all: steep hills, narrow fairways, bunkers, water and absolutely stunning views. The course was in great shape as the fairways were like carpet and the greens were like fast carpet. I’m from Texas and not use to the elevation change so it was a special treat. The clubhouse and food was fully stocked. I’d love to play there again. It was so natural with deer on the course and majestic trees”.

The 5th hole on the Loblolly course at Cambrian Ridge GC – Photo @tourmiss

The 6th hole on the Loblolly course at Cambrian Ridge (Photo – Cambrian Ridge)

2. “We loved everything about this golf course!! The views are spectacular and the course is beautiful in a natural kind if way. The pictures im posting do this course no justice. Lots of elevation changes, great natural hazards and huge, tough greens. We played the Sherling and the Canyon nines. The staff is super welcoming. Look forward to coming back someday!!”

3. “Cambrian Ridge is conveniently located about 5 miles off Interstate 65 near Greenville, AL. The course is in fantastic shape. I stopped to play on a trip from Mobile to Prattville. I played 18 holes between rain storms. The course drains very well and there were very few “wet spots.

“The course is very scenic with many elevation changes and a significant amount of water. Tee shot control is a very big factor on the course due to strategic bunkers and water hazards. I enjoyed a great round on two of the three nine hole courses. I would have played the Canyon as well but a storm was brewing in the area.

Photo with thanks Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.

9th hole Loblolly course at Cambrian Ridge GC – Photo Cambrian Ridge

“Great golf course and worth the time to stop in and play a round”.

4. “We had just played Bermuda greens in Hilton Head and these put those to shame. Fast and firm, easy to roll the ball on. They did hide a great deal of dirt and sand under them. The humps can be a challange. You have a wide selection of tee boxes and its critical you get the right ones for your game. It has 3 nine hole courses. We played canyon and sherling… it was all I wanted from the orange. I’ve already planned another trip back.

  • Thank you to the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.

Comments are closed.