Our golfing holiday experience this year was a trip to a previously unvisited part of the USA namely Alabama and Tennessee. Our first stop on our tour was a four day stop at the RTJ golf trail Grand National at Opelika.
To say the trip started with a bang would be an understatement, the whole experience of the resort was something else.
The Quality of both the Lakes and the Links courses were exceptional, both very good tests of golf with the courses laid out strategically with lakes and good bunkering, yes in places quite tough, but if you let go of the matcho image and play from the tees which suit your handicap and you best personally, then you will have a really enjoyable experience.
When you take the quality of these courses and add to that, in places the most magnificent scenery along with the resorts whole setting you really have found a little piece of heaven.
But we have not finished there, if you do not play the short course (18 hole par three) then you have missed a trick, if you think the setting of the two main courses is good wait till you get to this one, the quality of the course is still the same high standard but the scenery and views are quite stunning, what a little gem.
As Brits we could not get a RTJ trail card, as these are only for Alabama residents, we could however get the RTJ passport, it costs $30 and lasts a life time. You then get $10 off green fees at every course at the trail sites (9 courses now played) and 15% of Pro shop merchandise and when you have completed every course on the trail there is a bonus, I'm not telling find out for yourselves. Needless to say we shall over time complete the Trail and get the bonus !!!.
We stayed at the Marriott Opelike, (seperate review) which is also very good, but due to the fact we had early tee times we ate breakfast at the club, the staff in the restaurant were very sociable and helpful. We would ask for eggs, sausage, bacon in various combinations along with all the extra's and none of it seemed to much trouble, it was very good too.
To cap everything off, all the staff at Grand National, and I mean all the staff from the caddie master and assistants, starters and not fogetting especially the Pro and his staff, were without exageration some of the most friendly and helpful people I have encountered in my many years touring the USA.
This is a MUST, go and see for yourself. You will not regret it.
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