Alabama's Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail is a smorgasbord of high-quality, low-priced golf, but if you only have a few days to play, how do you know which of its 11 "stops" to make?
Well, if you're looking for "the most spectacular" golf, here's the site you absolutely must not miss.
Of all the stops on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, the one its namesake designer liked best was Grand National in Opelika, and I have to agree.
Located 10 miles from Auburn University and just two hours west of Atlanta, Grand National has two championship-caliber layouts and an 18-hole par-three course.
Part of the reason they're so appealing is that more than half the holes hug the shores and fingerlike coves of Saugahatchee Lake. Jones reportedly called it the most spectacular site he'd ever worked on.
Another plus is that the facility can accommodate hardcore golfers seeking a serious challenge as well as those primarily looking for a highly aesthetic golf experience.
That is, as long as you know which course to play.
The Lake Course is the more popular and playable of the two.
Despite having enough bite from the back tees to host numerous high-level professional and collegiate tournaments, the course is very manageable from the next two sets of markers: the 6,488-yard orange tees (126 slope) and the 5,948-yard whites (117 slope).
The longer and more undulating Links Course, on the other hand, can really beat up higher handicappers, from any tee box.
While it is generous and often downhill off the tee, nearly all of its greens are guarded in front by bunkers (and occasionally water), all but forcing aerial approach shots.
What can't be beaten, of course, is the price. Peak season (March to mid-May) green fees for the Links and Lakes courses cost $60 and up.
To be sure, you'll be able to find scenic and well-conceived holes at other stops along the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, but for the most -- and most consistent -- combination of the two, I'd argue that Grand National leads the pack.
What do you think? Please share your comments on this or another experience with the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.