Robert Trent Jones at Grand National (Lake)

Robert Trent Jones at Grand National (Lake) – Played May 2013

  • Rankings: None of the four lists
  • Location: 3000 Robert Trent Jones Trail, Opelika, Alabama
  • Year: 1992
  • Architect: Robert Trent Jones, Sr & Robert Rulewich
  • Course Access: Public
  • Walking Rules: Carts Available

Score Card Information:

  • Purple: 7,289 yards, Par 72, 74.3 Rating/136 Slope
  • Orange: 6,488 yards, Par 72, 71.3 Rating/126 Slope
  • White: 5,948 yards, Par 72, 68.7 Rating/117 Slope (Men’s), 74.4 Rating/133 Slope (Women’s)
  • Teal: 4,910 yards, Par 72, 68.7 Rating/117 Slope (Men’s), 68.0 Rating/119 Slope (Women’s)

For our last RTJ tour on this go around, I want to give a final thanks to Brian for the pictures on this post.  Check out Brian’s other photos @virginiagolfguy on Instagram if you haven’t already.

According to the website for The Trail, Grand National was the single greatest site for a golf complex Robert Trent Jones, Sr. had ever seen.  The entire complex has 54 holes, which includes a Short Course.  It was built on 600-acre Lake Saugahatchee with 32 of the 54 holes along the shore.  The Lake Course hosts the Barbasol Championship on the PGA Tour as well.

Let’s get this tour started!

Hole 1 – 364 yards – Par 4

The large bunker you see guards the left side of the fairway.  Drives need to be short or right of it.  The lake juts in out the right side and guards portions of the fairway and green.

Hole 2 – 381 yards – Par 4

This is a demanding tee shot with water left and bunkers right.  The green is a partial peninsula and makes for difficult approaches.

Hole 3 – 178 yards – Par 3

The third features more water.  I think it was at this point I understood why this was the Lake Course.  Shots short or left will be wet.  There isn’t much area to miss on this one.

Hole 4 – 480 yards – Par 5

This shortish par five is definitely a birdie opportunity.  The dogleg right plays up the hill on the approach shot to an undulating green.

Hole 5 – 396 yards – Par 4

You are presented with a nice view from this elevated tee.  The three cross bunkers should catch your eye on the tee shot.  The green features multiple tiers.

Hole 6 – 381 yards – Par 4

This dogleg right has plenty of trouble around the green.  The lake comes in from the left and can even affect longer tee shots.  The green is quite large since it is a double green shared with #1.

Hole 7 – 521 yards – Par 5

I’m seeing a lot of dogleg rights!  Missed shots off the tee can find a bunker, but missed shots on the approach can find the water.  Once you get on the green the challenge is not over.

Hole 8 – 182 yards – Par 3

This green is difficult to hit.  You will want to take note that the front of the green is way lower than the rest.  Proper club selection is a must.

Hole 9 – 379 yards – Par 4

This hole plays uphill all the way and even more so because of the elevated green.  This is one of the tighter holes as well due to the tree-lined fairway.

Hole 10 – 397 yards – Par 4

The tee ball here needs to find the fairway or the approach is much more difficult.  The green is elevated and has a bunker in front.  The bunker is actually quite a bit in front of the green so it shouldn’t be in play.

Hole 11 – 387 yards – Par 4

The tiered fairway slopes downhill from the tee to give your drives a boost.  The approach is slightly back uphill to a green guarded by a large bunker in front.

Hole 12 – 493 yards – Par 5

This hole has some of the best views of the lake.  It also has plenty of big number potential.  The hole bends to the left with the lake skirting the entire left side.  Err on the right side!

Hole 13 – 388 yards – Par 4

This is a tough one playing uphill and usually into a breeze.  There is a fairway drop off to the right, but a bunker guards the left side.  The tee shot it the hardest part of this hole.

Hole 14 – 510 yards – Par 5

Just a straight par five here.  Make three good shots and you will have a chance to hit the small green and leave yourself with a birdie putt.

Hole 15 – 182 yards – Par 3

The signature hole here is certainly pretty, but also fraught with danger.  The green is an island and the wind is normally blowing.  Trust your instinct here.

Hole 16 – 297 yards – Par 4

This little hole may entice you to go for the green, but beware.  There is plenty of water out there to gobble up mishit drives.  The sensible play is long iron off the tee.

Hole 17 – 174 yards – Par 3

With water down the left, hookers beware!  The green features plenty of movement to add to the challenge.

Hole 18 – 398 yards – Par 4

The finisher is a tough hole and a deserving hole to end a PGA Tour event.  The fairway is a must off the tee.  The green has a collection area to the left for wayward shots.  The green has multiple ridges.

Overall a solid course.  The RTJ Trail doesn’t overwhelm me to be honest.  The courses are good and in fine shape, but there is just something about them that doesn’t fit my eye or preferences.  That being said, if you like what you’ve seen here the trips here can be very budget friendly.  There is nothing wrong with that part of the Trail.

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