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Golf architect Robert Trent Jones Sr. retired after designing more than 500 courses but in the 1980s was lured back by the promise of a pan-Alabaman golf trail. Those original eight sites plus three more form this epic 32-course circuit. Despite recent devastation from the tornados, the trail emerged relatively unscathed. (Sadly, one course, Silver Lakes, is closed indefinitely.) To book at these courses, go to rtjgolf.com.
Greenville: Ringed by pine trees, the Loblolly course is among the most challenging and beautiful, and the Sherling has the trail’s best nine holes. Pictured; greens fees start at $45.
Prattville: The property features three courses: Legislator, Senator and Judge. The latter, which lies along the Alabama River and has beautiful views, gets the most accolades. Greens fees start at $45.
Opelika: Built on the 600-acre Lake Saugahatchee, Grand National boasts 54 holes, 32 of which are on the shore. There are many options here, but the Lake course’s 15th hole is often called the most beautiful of the entire trail. Greens fees start at $45.
Mobile: These three newly renovated courses (the last, the Short Course, will open in mid-August) boast MiniVerde, an ultra-dwarf grass, but there’s nothing undersized about the 54-hole links. Greens fees start at $45.
Birmingham: With 54 holes, there’s plenty to golf at Oxmoor, but the 18th hole on the Valley course, nicknamed “The Assassin,” might be the most dramatic. Greens fees start at $45.
Birmingham: The spa at the Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa, which abuts the newest course on the trail, is a necessary detour for après-links relaxation. Greens fees start at $95.
Muscle Shoals: At more than 8,000 yards, the Fighting Joe course, which opened in 2004, is one of the longest. Its narrow links are siren calls for shotmakers. Greens fees start at $45.