RTJ Trail

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By James W

  • 3 Replies
  1. James W

    James W
    Castle rock, CO

    Going to play some of the northern trail in May, I was wondering if anyone has played The Shoals, Hampton Cove and Silver Lakes, what kind of shape and is Silver Lakes worth going to Thanks Jim

  2. Thomas Y

    Thomas Y
    Wenham, MA

    Been a number of years since my last trip to RTJ Trail. I used to escape winter in MA with a trip in Jan or Feb, trying many different courses and finally settling on the southern (hopefully warmer) sites. Silver Lakes is an interesting collection of 3, nine hole courses. I'd play all three and decide which you prefer. There isn't a lot in the immediate area surrounding Silver Lakes (at least, not when I was last there 10 or more years ago), so maybe stay in Huntsville and make day trips to the Shoals and Silver Lakes?

    Hampton Cove has two courses, and The River Course is (was?) the only course designed by RTJ Sr. without any bunkers. (Guess what there is lots of, though?!) It's different and a good challenge.

    If you buy the yardage guides for the courses, be aware that the pictures aren't quite accurate as you might think the widest part of the fairway is at the point indicated in the guide, but suddenly see that the water creeps in a bit more than expected. Stuff like that.

    Go have fun and see different courses, then begin to understand RTJ Sr design philosophies!
  3. The Shoals and Hampton Cove two nice courses. Try to play at The Shoals at least once a year both courses have a great layout.
  4. Allen L

    Allen L
    Clarington, OH

    I play the trail November through March to get away from Ohio. Muscle Shoals is a favorite, it has a nice resort with a rotating restaurant. The Shoals has two courses, both are challenging. Hampton Cove is outside Huntsville, we usually stay at a Hampton Inn that is close to the courses. Hampton Cove is also two challenging courses, as noted the River course has no bunkers but there is plenty of water.

    On the Trail there are three locations that have 27 holes, you can play any combination of 9's to get your game. I'm not a fan of any of the three 27 hole locations. Played Silver Lakes for a day, it was ok but I haven't gone back.

    With the crazy weather this year its hard to tell if maintenance is on schedule. On the Trail website they have the dates for maintenance but you may want to call ahead and ask about course conditions and maintenance. The Trails pro shops are where to call instead of the 800 number.

    All Trail locations have excellent practice facilities.

    They have starters and usually marshals, play is rarely slow.

    The greens are fairly large. I use a GPS watch for yardages but a rangefinder to the pin would be more helpful. Make sure that the starter gives you the pin placement number before you start or check the first hole tombstone.

    Unlike a lot of courses no one has their hand out for tips. The pro shops are pretty nice, they usually have some things on sale that are a good buy.

    If you have non-players with you there are plenty of things to see and do in both Muscle Shoals and Huntsville.

    Enjoy ...

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