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4.7
30 Reviews (30)
5 Stars
18
4 Stars
9
3 Stars
2
2 Stars
1
1 Stars
0
Conditions
4.6
Value
4.6
Layout
4.5
Friendliness
4.7
Pace
4.8
Amenities
4.4
97.6%
Recommend this course
27 out of 30 reviews
Read Reviews
Average Rating
Avg Rating
4.6
5 Reviews (5)
5 Stars
3
4 Stars
2
3 Stars
0
2 Stars
0
1 Stars
0
Conditions
4.6
Value
4.4
Layout
4.4
Pace
5.0
Amenities
4.0
StaffFriendliness
4.6
100.0%
Recommend this course
5 out of 5 reviews
Read Reviews
Average Rating
Avg Rating
4.7
11 Reviews (11)
5 Stars
8
4 Stars
3
3 Stars
0
2 Stars
0
1 Stars
0
Conditions
4.7
Value
4.5
Layout
4.6
Pace
5.0
Amenities
4.3
StaffFriendliness
4.8
100.0%
Recommend this course
11 out of 11 reviews
Read Reviews

About

Holes 18
Type Public
Par 72
Length 7971 yards
Slope 143
Rating 78.0
Book a Tee Time at
The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at The Shoals
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Course Details

Year Built 2005
Fairways Bermuda Grass
Greens Bent Grass
Golf Season Year round
Architect Roger Rulewich (2005)

Rentals/Services

Carts Yes - $20
Clubs Yes

Practice/Instruction

Driving Range Yes
Teaching Pro Yes

Policies

Metal Spikes Allowed No
Walking Allowed Yes
Dress code Collared shirt, no cutoffs, denim allowed.

Accolades

  • Golf Advisor: Top Courses in Alabama (2019 #10)

Reviews

4.7
30 Reviews (30)
Advanced Filters
Overall Rating
Recommended
Handicap
Age
Type of Golfer
Gender
Played On
Reviews 3
Handicap 20-24
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once every three months
I Recommend This Course
4.0
First Time Playing
Perfect weather
Used cart

Great clubhouse

The views from the clubhouse are awesome. Staff were very welcoming and friendly. Schoolmaster course was in great shape. Nicest greens on our trip although they were huge. A few blind shots but course layout was still good.

Conditions Excellent
Value Good
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Good
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Reviews 3
Handicap 20-24
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once every three months
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Verified Purchaser
First Time Playing
Perfect weather
Used cart

Quality course with a nice layout.

Fairways in good shape. Course would be easier 2nd time around. Hit a few shots I thought were good but ended up in trouble. Greens were fast and in o.k. condition.

Conditions Good
Value Good
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Good
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Reviews 1
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Verified Purchaser
First Time Playing

Fighting Joe at the Shoals

This place was great!! Staff was great and very accommodating. The course very well maintained.
Pace of play was excellent. Would like to see the beverage cart more often

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Good
Played On
Reviews 1
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a month
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played

Beautiful Course

Had a blast. Service was a little slow but understandable due to circumstsnces

Conditions Good
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Good
Pace Excellent
Amenities Average
Played On
Reviews 2
Handicap 20-24
Skill Beginner
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
First Time Playing
Windy weather
Used cart

Got Schooled by the Schoolmaster

It was a good day on the course. My first time on an RTJ course. Because of COVID-19, I did not get to enjoy the amenities but the clubhouse and views from the clubhouse of the Tennessee River were spectacular. The fast greens ruined my score but I will definitely be back and will continue to make my way through the RTJ Trail.

Conditions Excellent
Value Good
Layout Good
Friendliness Good
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Reviews 2
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played
Conditions Excellent
Value Good
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Good
Played On
Reviews 2
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Previously Played

Gods gift to golf

For 6 years now every fall 8 of us travel south to this RTJ golf facility for 4 days of golf. The course layout is amazing. This 36 hole “little bit of heaven “ challenges us in every way. We’ve traveled around the country playing different courses, but this is our favorite. This RTJ facility also has a Marriott within 5 miles that offers a free shuttle service and a free round of golf for each night u stay there.

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Reviews 1
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a month
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played

Great layout

As a high handicapper, Fighting Joe is very difficult. However, it forces me to play smart golf with lots of layups. Low handicappers will really enjoy the risk reward this course offers. Unfortunately, it was 95 degrees today and the course offers no shade; no trees at all except for a few limited areas. Plenty of water coolers and restrooms around the course. We played through 10, then headed for the clubhouse to cool off.
The only negative to this course is all the people not repairing ball marks. Unfortunately the greens are riddled with spots because of careless guests. They do a great job maintaining the course, the greens roll true and the fairways are cushions.
Staff was very friendly.

Conditions Good
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Good
Played On
Reviews 2
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Previously Played

Very good bang for your buck

The pga could play here!!!
Crazy lush green grass everywhere.
Simply AMAZING.

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Reviews 6
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Previously Played
Conditions Excellent
Value Good
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Reviews 6
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Previously Played
Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Reviews 143
Handicap 0-4
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
Incentivized Review
5.0
Golf Channel
First Time Playing
Walked

A long and challenging course

Playing back at 7600 made this one of the best 2 under rounds ive ever played

Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Reviews 7
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Verified Purchaser
First Time Playing

Nice Gentle Track

We played the school master course.This was a nice but wide open golf course with very wide fairways and not too many challenges. It was a fun place to spend a golf afternoon. The pace of play was fantastic as we were the only ones there. Our last of three stops on the Robert Trent Jones trail - I think I would opt for the fighter Joe course on the next go-round.

Conditions Good
Value Excellent
Layout Good
Friendliness Good
Pace Excellent
Amenities Good
Played On
Reviews 1
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played

One of My Favorite RTJ Courses

The Schoolmaster never dissappoints. The course conditions are always top-notch. The practice area has everything one could need and the staff is the friendliest you'll find anywhere. Even at it's length, The Schoolmaster is a fair test and rewards good shots while punishing errant ones. The bent grass graans rolled true even thought they were a bit slower than I was used to. The Alabam summer heat will not allow them to be cut to the same stimp as I see back home in the North East US. Make sure to allow time for a drink on the back veranda overlooking the Tennesse River. It's a spectacular view!

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Good
Played On
Reviews 2
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played
Perfect weather
Used cart
Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Reviews 224
Handicap 5-9
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
3.0
Birmingham Advisor
Top 10 Contributor
Previously Played

Par 3s stand out

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.

Conditions Fair
Value Excellent
Layout Average
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Good
Played On
Reviews 224
Handicap 5-9
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Birmingham Advisor
Top 10 Contributor
Previously Played
Perfect weather
Used cart

Autumn golf at its finest

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.

Conditions Good
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Good
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Reviews 1
2.0

Very disappointing. Not worth the money.

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

Conditions Poor
Value Fair
Layout Average
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Fair
Amenities Average
Played On
Reviews 224
Handicap 5-9
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
3.0
Birmingham Advisor
Top 10 Contributor
Previously Played
Windy weather
Used cart

Fighting Joe falls short of hype

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.

Conditions Average
Value Excellent
Layout Average
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Moderate
Played On
Reviews 224
Handicap 5-9
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Birmingham Advisor
Top 10 Contributor
Previously Played
Perfect weather
Used cart

Among the best closing nines on the Trail

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.

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Good
Pace Excellent
Amenities Good
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
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