Robert Trent Jones at Capitol Hill (Judge)

Robert Trent Jones at Capitol Hill (Judge) – Played May 2013

  • Rankings: None of the four lists
  • Location: 2600 Constitution Avenue, Prattville, Alabama
  • Year: 2000
  • Architect: Robert Trent Jones, Sr
  • Course Access: Public
  • Walking Rules: Carts Available

Score Card Information:

  • Black: 7,813 yards, Par 72, 78.5 Rating/147 Slope
  • Purple: 7,082 yards, Par 72, 75.1 Rating/142 Slope
  • Orange: 6,517 yards, Par 72, 71.7 Rating/131 Slope (Men’s), 76.4 Rating/134 Slope (Women’s)
  • White: 5,910 yards, Par 72, 68.7 Rating/128 Slope (Men’s), 74.4 Rating/137 Slope (Women’s)
  • Teal: 4,951 yards, Par 72, 64.7 Rating/115 Slope (Men’s), 68.4 Rating/123 Slope (Women’s)

Before I start I want to give a special thanks for the pictures on this post to Brian who runs @virginiagolfguy on Instagram.  I didn’t have photos from my trip, but he stepped in on this one and helped out.  Thanks again Brian!

I went to the Trail in May of 2013 with a bunch of golf buddies.  It’s still one of the only actual buddies trips I’ve ever taken.  That’s just a fact of life for me as a lot of my golf buddies love the game, but don’t travel near as much for it.  Most of them do a few trips a year, but I plan out a bunch and we usually can’t make the timing work.  I’m also more into playing new courses a lot, but that’s part of the quest baby!  Alright, mini-rant over.

We played 36 per day over a few days and the heat really got to us.  I would say May is not the best time to go as the summer heat gets going early in Alabama.  I think the Trail is best suited to a spring or late fall trip.

So the first course we will take a look at is The Judge which is part of the Capitol Hill stop on the Trail.  It is one of the most popular sites and has two other courses in The Senator and The Legislator.  We’ll look at The Senator in a following post.  Located in Prattville, the site has garnered a lot of praise.  Let’s get into the tour.  All yardages are from the orange tees.

 

Hole 1 – 379 yards – Par 4

The view from the first tee is the most spectacular on the entire property and probably of the entire trail.  While it is beautiful it can be difficult to get a feel for what club and how far you need to hit it.  The trees and water on each side come at you quick.

Water is in play all down the right side so the common play is to err left.

Hole 2 – 379 yards – Par 4

This dogleg right is flanked by water on the right side.  You will want to be up the left, but the trees speckled on that side can cause some trouble.

The second shot’s main obstacle is the large bunker short and right of the green.

Hole 3 – 155 yards – Par 3

The green on three is pretty large and hitting it should be the main objective.  You can get up and down if you miss, but you are better off with a long putt than a chip.

Hole 4 – 548 yards – Par 5

The hole is long enough, but water and sand add to the challenge.  Avoiding the quick hook is the main goal here with the agua up the left.

The water doesn’t back down for the entire hole which can make the layup a little nerve wracking.  The further right in the fairway you can be provides the best angle to the green.

Hole 5 – 342 yards – Par 4

The fifth presents you with a decision.  How far right do you want to go with your drive?  The best line is over the left fairway bunker which should leave you with a wedge or short iron.

Once you get on the green you can relax a bit as the undulation is not crazy.

Hole 6 – 148 yards – Par 3

The infamous island green concept makes an appearance here.  There is some room back left that you can’t really see, but other than that it is all or nothing here.  Fortunately, this is the largest green on the course.

Below is a look at the multiple tiers on the green.

Hole 7 – 589 yards – Par 5

In case you haven’t figured out the vibe of the Judge, the place is like walking into a heavyweight fight.  The holes are tough and demand precision.  This tee shot is no different.  Water is all over the place and you must carry your drive to the fairway.  Oh and the hole is almost 600 yards from the middle tees.  Water extends all the way down the right side and curves in front of the green.  A three-shot hole for sure.

Hole 8 – 425 yards – Par 4

You get a break from the water on this hole, but there is still plenty of challenge.  Pot bunkers line both sides of the fairway along with rough.

Below is the green and a look back up the hole.

Hole 9 – 362 yards – Par 4

The fairway sits slightly below the tee and there isn’t much in the way of trouble for your first shot.

The green is elevated from the landing area and plenty of sand resides before the green.

Hole 10 – 543 yards – Par 5

While it is manageable from this set of tees, this can be one of the longest holes on the Trail.  It tips out at 711 yards!  Other than the length though you really just have to contend with a few bunkers.  Hit it solid.

Hole 11 – 370 yards – Par 4

This is an interesting tee shot that forces you to choose between two fairways bisected by a water hazard.  Once you accomplish that the green is guarded by two bunkers lined up back to back as seen in the second photo.

Hole 12 – 179 yards – Par 3

It’s imperative to hit a good tee shot here as it is all carry.  You get a good view of the surrounds when you ride over the bridge to the green.

Hole 13 – 358 yards – Par 4

This shorter dogleg right requires an accurate tee shot to avoid the fairway bunkers on the right.  Once you get past those the approach goes to a small green with more sand.

Hole 14 – 385 yards – Par 4

There isn’t much to this one aside from what you see.  You need a straight drive of course.  The green is slightly elevated increasing the effective yardage.

Hole 15 – 500 yards – Par 5

Long hitters can reach here, but everyone must avoid the water on each side.  The water is only an issue for the tee ball, but the challenge doesn’t stop there.

The approach to the green plays uphill over some thick grass.  A small pot bunker is situated short, which you can barely make out in the photo below.

Hole 16 – 170 yards – Par 3

I like this hole even though I play a pull/draw.  Water is present short, right, and long.  Even with all that trouble there is still ample room to land your golf ball.  It’s a good example of toughness with options.

Hole 17 – 364 yards – Par 4

I don’t care as much for this hole as some of the others.  It’s straight and a bit too tight for my liking.  Water is down the right side past the trees.  From this yardage you can avoid driver if you prefer.

Hole 18 – 321 yards – Par 4

The last hole of this brutish course is not a beast at all.  It is more finesse than brawn.  It plays longer than the yardage because of the slope, but driver is definitely not necessary.  Favoring the left side of the landing area will result in the best angle.

Here is a great overhead shot looking back down at the green.

The Judge will certainly give you rough sentence if you aren’t striking the ball well.  Like most courses though it is all about choosing the right set of tees.  I’m not always the biggest RTJ fan, but the views on this course make for a fun time.  I liked the par threes as well.  I would definitely say to spend some time on the range before the round.  I recommend visiting the Trail if you’ve never been, but make sure it won’t be sweltering hot.

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