Montgomery on the RTJ Golf Trail

By Alice and Danny Scott

The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail should be on any golfer’s must play list and Montgomery, Alabama serves as a special trail spot to stay and play at both the Capitol Hill and Cambrian Ridge Courses.

The Montgomery Marriott Prattville Hotel & Conference Center is golf centric with rooms overlooking the 54 holes at Capitol Hill but for downtown action and immersion, twelve miles away, stay at the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa at the Convention Center.  Overlooking the Tennessee River, this hotel has it all – comfy rooms, restaurants, a spa, and a rooftop pool and bar next to an extensive fitness room. A lap on the rooftop track provides a new view and perspective to start the day. There is even a theater for conferences or live performances by the likes of Ricky Skaggs and Vince Gill. Country music reigns as evidenced by the Hank Williams Museum and his statue on the street corner.

Walk past Hank to the very impressive Rosa Parks Library and Museum where Civil Rights history comes to life beginning with a reenactment of her bus arrest. The boycott that followed is well depicted as churches banded together and 350 cars transported negroes, financially injuring the bus system, and changing the segregated world. This is where Martin Luther King’s nonviolent leadership began and continued through the 50s and 60s. Walk to the riverfront for more historical info on plaques and check out Harriott II Riverboat dockside for a cruise.

But what about golf, the main attraction near Montgomery, the capitol of Alabama? Capitol Hill Courses, named The Senator, The Legislator, and The Judge run along the Alabama River and are judged to be among the top 50 courses in America. To simply say there are 14 holes with water on the Judge is a misdemeanor. Start with a highly elevated tee box down to the fairway squeezed between waterways and be grateful to par. Holes 3 through 7 are surrounded by the river’s back waters with an island green on number 6 and a forward tee advantage on number 7 that exceeds 200 yards. Sign your best gal up for a scramble here. The course is a scenic trip over wooden bridges. Number 12 plays from peninsula tee boxes over lily covered water that would rival a Monet painting when in bloom. This is one of the prettiest and highest in demand courses on the trail and yet some say they like the Senator even better. We look forward to returning to play them all and judge for ourselves. The Capitol clubhouse is stately with a tribute to RTJ Sr. in the foyer and locker rooms are nice enough for lingering.

Less than an hour from the Renaissance Montgomery, in Greenwood, Cambrian Ridge has four nines-Loblolly, Canyon, Shirling, and Short. Situated on former hunting grounds, wildlife is abundant along canyon ridges. Hardwood scenery is accented with loblolly pines and sweet magnolias. Numbers 3-6 embrace the shorelines along lakes on Shirling for some of the most scenic holes on the RTJ Golf Trail.

Montgomery, like all parts of Alabama, is a foodie haven. So many places to eat and so little time but we found the Goat Haus Biergarten to be unique and wonderful. Ornately decorated inside and out, this turn of the century German B & B serves authentic brats, pretzels, kraut and more with a full bar and ales on tap.

Montgomery exudes a cultural renaissance with inspiring history and the golf is top notch and very affordable.