The Shoals Golf Club - Fighting Joe Course

3.3470588235 3.3 stars from 5 (15)
  • Holes: 18
  • Par: 72
  • Length: 8092 yards
  • Slope: 138
  • Rating: 78.7
  • Layout

Rentals/Services

Carts: Yes
Clubs: Yes

Practice/Instruction

Driving range: Yes
Teaching pro: Yes

Policies

Metal spikes allowed: No
Dress code: Collared shirt, no cutoffs, denim allowed.

Tees | Layout | Full Scorecard

Tee Par Length Rating Slope
Black 72 8092 yards 78.7 138
Purple 72 7126 yards 74.0 135
Orange 72 6628 yards 71.5 130
White 72 6154 yards 69.3 123
Teal 72 4978 yards 69.0 122

Rating Snapshot

GA Rating Index 3.3 stars from 5
Off-Course Amenities: 4.1 stars from 5
Value: 4.3 stars from 5
Pace of Play: 4.3 stars from 5
Staff Friendliness: 4.8 stars from 5
Course Layout: 3.8 stars from 5
Course Conditions: 3.1 stars from 5
Rating Breakdown 15 Reviews
5 stars:
7
4 stars:
5
3 stars:
2
2 stars:
1
1 stars:
0

recommend this course

12 out of 14 reviews


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Reviewer Photos

Reviews


Overall Rating
Recommended
Handicap
Age
Type of Golfer
Gender

"Par 3s stand out"


BrandonWebb's avatar
Top 25 Contributor
Birmingham Advisor
Age:  35-44
Skill:  Advanced
Plays:  Few times a week
Handicap:  5-9

3 3.0 stars from 5 Played on 03/16/2018
Previously played

Reviewed on

This review is for the Fighting Joe course.

Healing of the greens from recent aeration has been hampered by cooler than normal temperatures. Greens were very bumpy. Putts habitually bounced. You will make some putts you should miss and miss some you should make.

Overseeded fairways were very good.

Bunkers have too much sand in them. Sure, they are supposed to be hazards, but too many plugged lies in bunkers.

The strength of the course is the collection of par 3s. When the wind is howling, these holes - particularly the fifth and ninth - are difficult to club and present great challenges.

Tip: Buy a $4 yardage guide in the pro shop if it is your first time playing. There are a couple of tee shots that can fool you if you aren't familiar with the landing areas.


Pace of Play: Excellent

Course Layout: Average

Course Conditions: Fair

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Excellent

Off-Course Amenities: Good


I recommend this course



"Autumn golf at its finest"


BrandonWebb's avatar
Top 25 Contributor
Birmingham Advisor
Age:  35-44
Skill:  Advanced
Plays:  Few times a week
Handicap:  5-9

4 4.0 stars from 5 Played on 11/17/2017
Previously played Used cart Perfect weather

Reviewed on

One of the best autumn golf courses I have ever played. Back nine this time of year it as good as it gets. Fairways were not lush - looks like they decided not to overseeded the fairways - but weren't thin either. Greens are superb. Bent has come in and they are rolling good. Will only get faster. Bunker renovation looked good.


Pace of Play: Excellent

Course Layout: Excellent

Course Conditions: Good

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Excellent

Off-Course Amenities: Good

Course Difficulty:  Somewhat Challenging


I recommend this course



"Very disappointing. Not worth the money."


u000002115941's avatar
Age:  65+

2 2.0 stars from 5 Played on 06/02/2017

Reviewed on

Use to be well maintained. Fairways not cut. Course looks Jd like a farm. Use to like visiting here. No more!!


Pace of Play: Fair

Course Layout: Average

Course Conditions: Poor

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Fair

Off-Course Amenities: Average


I don't recommend this course


"Fighting Joe falls short of hype"


BrandonWebb's avatar
Top 25 Contributor
Birmingham Advisor
Age:  35-44
Skill:  Advanced
Plays:  Few times a week
Handicap:  5-9

3 3.0 stars from 5 Played on 03/24/2017
Previously played Used cart Windy weather

Reviewed on

This review is for the Fighting Joe course, which is ranked by Golfweek in the Top 5 public courses in Alabama. The course is a better-than-average public track, but in my honest opinion, it wouldn't make my top 5 Trail course list. I've tried hard to fall in love with this layout, and it has its moments, but I just don't understand the hype. The Schoolmaster is a better course in my opinion. I'm not sure the 15-handicapper is going to enjoy this course. Who this course will appeal to is a scratch to 6 handicapper that isn't afraid to play it from the back with the wind blowing. The Fighting Joe plays 8,092 yards from the tips and 7,126 from the purples. That length, combined with an ample breeze, is really the course's only defense in my opinion. Though windswept, and mostly void of trees, this is not a links style layout. You cannot run shots into greens. What this track does have going for it is a brilliant set of par 3s, including the 5th and 9th, which reside on peninsulas a stone's throw from each other in a lake in the center of the property. These are interesting holes, especially given the 15-mph winds that were encountered today. The 18th is also a par 3, and is not only the Fighting Joe's signature hole, but one of the Trail's marquee holes as well. It is a short-to-medium length one-shorter framed by the clubhouse and the Tennessee River. Combined with the risk/reward par-5 17th, it is truly a spectacular finish to the round. What I think leaves this course a bit lacking for me is the number of similar par 4s, particularly on the front 9. They resemble each other but for the water hazard juxtapositioned left or right. One thing that is challenging about this course is laying up on the par 5s. Other than No. 17, which I was able to reach in two shots, cross bunkers and water hazards pinch the layup zones, so beware! The greens were aerated about two weeks ago. Though they haven't fully recovered, it wasn't much of an issue, as I only had one putt that was definitively redirected by a plughole. The greens aren't severely undulating, and slopes were gentle. Bottom line: Fighting Joe makes for a good pairing with its sister course for buddies trips to the Shoals area, but I don't believe the lofty ranking it receives is warranted. If you have bug one round to -jay at the facility, play Schoolmaster.


Pace of Play: Excellent

Course Layout: Average

Course Conditions: Average

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Excellent

Off-Course Amenities: Excellent

Course Difficulty:  Moderate


I recommend this course



"Among the best closing nines on the Trail"


BrandonWebb's avatar
Top 25 Contributor
Birmingham Advisor
Age:  35-44
Skill:  Advanced
Plays:  Few times a week
Handicap:  5-9

4 4.0 stars from 5 Played on 01/14/2017
Previously played Used cart Perfect weather

Reviewed on

It's sister course, the Fighting Joe, seems to get the better rating, but The Schoolmaster is among my top 3 favorites along the RTJ Trail. In my opinion, The Schoolmaster's holes have more character than FJ's, and the back nine that plays through hardwoods after a mostly open front nine is as fun a closing stretch you'll play. The overseeded fairways propped balls up nicely and the bent grass greens, while not overly slippery were rolling as good as I've seen. They were not pockmarked, so a tremendous "well done" to the course superintendent and his staff. This course is among the longer tracks on the Trail as well. I generally prefer to play 6,200 yards and my skill level and enjoyment are compromised once the 6,500-yard barrier is breached. That said, the normal orange tees play a toothy 6,700 here. The tips are a touch under 8,000. I went with the 6,100-yard white tees and found it to be very enjoyable, while still providing a worthy challenge. Fairways are very generous, particularly on the front nine. Greens are rather expansive as well, providing multiple pin locations. Much more elevation change on the back nine than the front. There are numerous water hazards on the course, but they are not front and center and don't dominate tee shots and approaches. They are more present to penalize a very poor shot. Picturesque par 3s are a highlight. The par-4 14th hole is among my favorite holes anywhere. The piece of land it rests on was made for a golf hole. The 18th, while rather short, caps the round with a view of the Tennessee River.


Pace of Play: Excellent

Course Layout: Excellent

Course Conditions: Excellent

Staff Friendliness: Good

Value for the Money: Excellent

Off-Course Amenities: Good

Course Difficulty:  Somewhat Challenging


I recommend this course



"Sand & Water Everywhere"


Allen43915's avatar
Age:  65+
Gender:  Male
Skill:  Advanced
Plays:  Few times a week
Handicap:  0-4

5 5.0 stars from 5 Played on 05/01/2015
First time playing Played as a single Used cart Played 18 holes Good weather

Reviewed on

Enjoyed playing this course. Arrived for a 7 am tee time and there was light play through the morning. Greens and tees were cut, fairways in good shape, bunkers raked up, May 1st and there was some dormant grass remaining. All in all, the course was in great condition.

Each hole was a Trent Jones challenge with plenty of sand and water, by 9 am the wind picked up and made the par 3's make you think about where to aim. If you can stay in the fairways and hit greens you can score on this course.

The greens are not the biggest I have played, I'd call them medium sized. The greens are quite fast and run true. Pin placements were mostly challenging, a few centered on the green, some close to hazards, some that took guts to shoot for the pin. I came in high to all greens and the greens held shots very well.

Friendly, helpful staff. Nice clubhouse. I will play this course again, it was fun.


Pace of Play: Excellent

Course Conditions: Excellent

Staff Friendliness: Good

Value for the Money: Excellent

Quality of food & beverage: Excellent

Off-Course Amenities: Excellent

Course Difficulty:  Somewhat Challenging


I recommend this course


"Good course but not good value"


Adjunior's avatar
Gender:  Female
Skill:  Beginner
Plays:  Once a week

4 4.0 stars from 5 Played on 05/02/2014
First time playing

Reviewed on

The staff was great. There is no GPS on the carts. I thought for the price of the course GPS would be an included amenity. I have also played Ross Bridge which was a much nicer course. Ross Bridge had no GPS but the course was much nicer and seemed more worth the money


Pace of Play: Good

Course Conditions: Good

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Average

Quality of food & beverage: Excellent

Off-Course Amenities: Excellent


I don't recommend this course


"Great course and early-season conditions."


nedamstutz's avatar
Skill:  Intermediate
Plays:  Few times a week

5 5.0 stars from 5 Played on 04/08/2014
First time playing Verified Purchaser

Reviewed on

Enjoyed again the Trail. We like all the sites we've played, and this is par for our expectations.


Pace of Play: Excellent

Course Conditions: Good

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Excellent

Off-Course Amenities: Excellent


I recommend this course


"Great course"


Tucker1209's avatar
Skill:  Beginner
Plays:  Once a week
Handicap:  25+

5 5.0 stars from 5 Played on 10/29/2013
First time playing Verified Purchaser

Reviewed on

Beautiful course. Played on a Tuesday and it felt like we were the only foursome on the course. Lots of water - and sand, but I enjoyed it. The views from some of the holes were spectacular. Trees were just starting to turn :)


Pace of Play: Good

Course Conditions: Excellent

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Excellent

Course Difficulty:  Extremely Challenging


I recommend this course


"Great golf course"


uXJBX8874XJ's avatar
Top 250 Contributor
Skill:  Advanced
Plays:  Few times a week
Handicap:  5-9

5 5.0 stars from 5 Played on 10/13/2013
First time playing Verified Purchaser

Reviewed on

The entire golf experience was top notch from beginning to end. The staff was pleasant, the golf course in great shape, and the greens were true. Will return.


Pace of Play: Good

Course Conditions: Excellent

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Excellent

Course Difficulty:  Moderate


I recommend this course


"Great place to play"


xlawguy's avatar
Age:  65+
Gender:  Male
Skill:  Intermediate
Plays:  Few times a week
Handicap:  10-14

4 4.0 stars from 5 Played on 10/6/2013
First time playing

Reviewed on

Our first time at a RTJ course. What a fun course. Keep the ball in the fairway is a must. Take your time around the greens to get a good approach shot to the green. Staff was friendly but, the grill was slow for an after round bite to eat.


Pace of Play: Good

Course Conditions: Average

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Average

Course Difficulty:  Extremely Challenging


I recommend this course


"rude cart boys"


bigjake1's avatar
Skill:  Intermediate
Plays:  Few times a week
Handicap:  5-9

4 4.0 stars from 5 Played on 6/7/2013
Previously played Verified Purchaser

Reviewed on

We arrived 6/7/13 at 12noon. A bus of golfers were leaving. We made a 12:40pm tee at Schoolmaster. We went to get our clubs loaded before getting a bite to eat. I asked one of the cart boys if we could get a cart to go get our clubs. He stated we couldn't but we could wait and he would shuttle us down to the lot. We didn't have much time if we were to get a bite and hit some before our tee time, so we walked back to the car to get our clubs. When we walked back to the bag drop, the two guys were sitting in their carts, feet propped up. My wife put her bag on the cart before one of the guys came over and strapped it on. I strapped mine on myself. Later, 4 carts were seen in the parking lot. I didn't say anything. Lazy cart boys!


Pace of Play: Average

Course Conditions: Average

Staff Friendliness: Poor

Value for the Money: Excellent

Course Difficulty:  Moderate


"Fantastic course for the money."


puddin11's avatar
Skill:  Intermediate
Plays:  Once a week

5 5.0 stars from 5 Played on 11/20/2012
Verified Purchaser

Reviewed on

Just another great RTJ Golf Trail course. I prefer this one over The Schoolmaster at The Shoals.


Pace of Play: Excellent

Course Conditions: Excellent

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Excellent

Course Difficulty:  Extremely Challenging


I recommend this course


"There is long and then there is this"


Brawn8844376's avatar
Top 500 Contributor
Age:  45-54
Gender:  Male
Skill:  Advanced
Plays:  Few times a week
Handicap:  5-9

5 5.0 stars from 5 Played on 03/19/2009
First time playing

Reviewed on

Lovely Course as usual with RTJ courses. I miss hit one ball and it seemed as if I would never get to that hole. Greens are beautiful. Fairways are well manicured. Pen placement was nasty.<br/> But once again I'm where I truly love being on the golf course so I'm in Heaven. Will play every chance that I get


Pace of Play: Average

Course Conditions: Excellent

Staff Friendliness: Average

Value for the Money: Average

Course Difficulty:  Extremely Challenging


I recommend this course



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