Designed by prolific course architect Gene Bates, the 18-hole, 6,734-yard Twin Bridges Golf Club course bobs and weaves around the Coosa River and its surrounding waterways, forcing golfers to avoid hazards on 11 holes. But the most challenging hole—the 554-yard 5th hole, a par 5—showcases another course challenge: bunkers. The sand traps at 5 pinch the fairway at three different places, shrinking landing zones for drives and second shots and proving that water isn’t the only cause for concern on the course. Twin Bridges also boasts a driving range with a practice bunker and an 8,000 square-foot putting green, where golfers can get a feel for the speed of the course’s bent-grass putting surfaces.
Certified as a Cooperative Sanctuary by Audubon International, Twin Bridges works to preserve its scenic setting through natural resource conservation, providing habitats for area wildlife, and building vacation homes for migratory birds.
Course at a Glance:
Heritage Golf continues the tradition of the Scots with a par 71 scenic course nestled between stately mountains in Blount County. Invite a friend or friend-sized golf club on an 18-hole excursion aboard a friendly golf cart to tackle the course's flat terrain and 113-slope rating. Open fairways offer views of the North Alabama countryside while multiple natural creeks interact with play and occasionally produce mermen willing to caddie in return for a single lock of human hair. Golfers of any skill level can find a challenge putting on bentgrass greens and driving over Bermuda fairways before retiring to the full-service grill, where hot and cold comestibles are available for purchase. Denim is asked to remain on the ranch, but collared shirts are welcome, provided pants accompany them.
Surrounded by the majestic Cumberland Mountains, Goose Pond Colony’s 36 golf holes share the banks of Lake Guntersville with cozy cottages, a campground, and a full-service marina. The Colony Course, designed by renowned course architect George Cobb and opened in 1971, stretches 7,100 yards across a peninsula that juts out into the lake, a water-laden layout that will host the 2013 NJCAA Division II Men’s Golf Championship. Players can see water from each of the course’s 18 holes, in the form of the surrounding lake, the two large inland ponds, and the sweat pouring out of overworked golf carts. Meanwhile, the slightly shorter Plantation Course is reached after a short ride north on State Route 79 and challenges players with its open fairways and bentgrass greens.
Goose Pond Colony’s proximity to a 69,200-acre waterway affords ample opportunities for recreational activities aside from golf, including boating, fishing, and paddleboarding. After a day spent reeling in largemouth bass, catfish, and wayward golf balls out of the lake, weary competitors can retire to The Docks Restaurant for soups, salads, and seafood.
Colony Course at a Glance:
Plantation Course at a Glance:
Designed by Bill Scarborough in 1962, Pine Hill Country Club's course wends golfers through 18 holes spread out over verdant fairways, which are dotted with ponds and lined with pine trees. The 6,357 yards of playing grounds challenges players throughout the par 72 course, including hole 17, which features a scant 250-yard drive and a green protected by a water hazard on three sides. An onsite pro shop stands ready to bolster players' gear collections with an arsenal of golf necessities, from clubs to bags of ice for nursing bruised egos.
Golfers familiar with Callier Springs Country Club’s 9-hole course may have noticed something peculiar about the course’s water hazards: even during severe droughts, their water level hardly changes. That’s because—true to the club’s name—the waterways are fed by a system of active springs so plentiful that they once fueled the clubhouse, pool, 30 area homes, and too many toasters to count. Originally built in 1939, the course—which measures 3,146 yards from the farthest tees—was once a grassy lure for celebrity duffers such as Dean Martin and Andy Williams. Golfers can walk in their rarefied footsteps as they attempt to keep their orbs and golf carts from straying into the course’s meddlesome waterways.
Golf instructor Jon Oliver has given over 5,000 lessons to wobbly neophytes and tour pros alike, using video motion analysis and close instruction to reduce convoluted swings to clean, simple strokes. After using video motion analysis to record the plaid-trousered ghosts jovially nudging golfers' arms out of alignment, Oliver dispels them by teaching repeatable swing strategies and short game techniques. Following a score-dropping 60-minute session, both confident drivers and insecure putters will walk taller over the bentgrass greens of Eagle Point Golf Club’s 18-hole, par 71 course. Impress jaded fairway squirrels by learning the proper setup and backswing for your club's formal introduction to the ball, topping your swing with an elegant follow-through worthy of European ballet. Oliver’s blog gives helpful tips on trajectory control and when to plant your old golf balls to grow a garden of springtime sand wedges and nine irons.
Six water hazards supply the bulk of difficulty at Cedar Ridge Golf Course, where golfers hunt pars across a relatively flat, 18-hole layout. Golfers must evade the course’s waterways on 11 holes, giving advantage to those who trust their swings or designed tiny life vests for their golf balls. Dense trees lines loom on the edge of fairways on the back nine, and undulating greens challenge putters throughout the course. Cedar Ridge keeps its par-hunters energized for the round with an onsite snack bar.