Charles Schwab Challenge

Colonial Country Club



Courses

The best courses you can play in Alabama

Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail At Capitol Hill: The Judge
4.3
42 Panelists
Appropriately named for its location just outside Alabama’s state capital, the Judge course at Capitol Hill opens with one of the more memorable holes on the Trail. The opener plays straight down hill to a green perched along the backwaters of the Alabama River. With water in play on 14 of 18 holes, the Judge—currently ranked fifth on our Best in Alabama list—demands your best ball-striking, most notably on the island-green par-3 sixth.
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Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail At Grand National: The Links
3.8
39 Panelists
Contrary to its name, the Links course at Grand National requires many forced carries over bunkers and marshes to often elevated, undulating greens. The layout features large greens with numerous tiers, placing a premium on precise iron play. Weaving through woodlands and playing along Sougahatchee Lake, the Links concludes with its signature par-4 18th, where both the tee and approach shots must carry water to reach an enormous green.
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Kiva Dunes Golf Course
Public
Kiva Dunes Golf Course
Gulf Shores
4.1
66 Panelists
Kiva Dunes was designed by 1976 U.S. Open champion Jerry Pate. Perched on the exposed Fort Morgan Peninsula in Gulf Shores, this links-style course has an ever-present wind, numerous deep-faced bunkers and undulating greens. This longtime Q school host lost many trees in a storm a few years back, which has only enhanced its links qualities.
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FarmLinks Golf Club
Public
FarmLinks Golf Club
Sylacauga
3.7
37 Panelists
Situated between Birmingham and Montgomery, FarmLinks is a Michael Hurdzan/Dana Fry layout at Pursell Farms, a Golf Digest Editors’ Choice resort at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. FarmLinks offers a wide variety of holes with generous landing areas, large greens and up to 50 feet of elevation change, making it an enjoyable, player-friendly layout. All four of the par 3s play downhill, including the fifth and 17th holes, which feature severe drops and impressive views.
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Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Grand National: The Lake
3.9
46 Panelists
The PGA Tour’s Barbasol Championship was played on Grand National’s Lake course from 2015 through '17. Strategically placed bunkers and large multi-tiered greens defend this eastern Alabama layout. The track hugs the shore of Sougahatchee Lake, which comes into play on 12 of the 18 holes, often around the greens. The four par 3s each offer a stern test with water in play, most notably on the signature island-green 15th.
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Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail At The Shoals: Fighting Joe
3.1
39 Panelists
Near the Tennessee border in northwestern Alabama, the Fighting Joe layout at The Shoals can play upwards of 8,000 yards from the tips. Five sets of tees allows the course to accommodate all levels of players. This generally flat track offers wide landing areas, which are often framed by thick native grass. The finish is especially strong, with the winding risk-reward par-5 17th setting up a scenic par-3 finisher with beautiful views of the Tennessee River.
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Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail At Cambrian Ridge: Canyon/Loblolly/Sherling
This layout ranked third on Golf Digest’s list of Best New Public Courses in 1994 and features vast elevation changes. The Sherling nine starts at the highest point in Butler County before descending to play along a lake. Large, undulating greens put an emphasis on precise iron play and a deft touch on the greens. Many extraordinarily tall pine trees and several pristine lakes make this one of the most scenic courses on the RTJ Trail.
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Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Ross Bridge
4.2
40 Panelists
Towering pines and two large lakes frame many holes on this expansive layout just south of Birmingham. Significant elevation changes dictate a layout that plays up and down the banks that surround the two lakes, which are connected by a stunning waterfall that separates the ninth and 18th greens. With wide landing areas and large greens, there is ample room for wayward shots. The course tips out over 8,000 yards, but there are five sets of tees to accommodate all players. Note: The course is temporarily closed due to green damage caused by misapplied herbicide.
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Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail At The Shoals: Schoolmaster
3.5
24 Panelists
A far cry from the wide open links style at its sibling layout, the Schoolmaster course at The Shoals is a tree-lined design. Set beside the Tennessee River in northern Alabama, the track has a nice blend of doglegs that move in each direction, rewarding a variety of shot shapes. There are gradual elevation changes, including the climb up to the green on the par-4 18th, which sits atop a bluff overlooking the river.
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Auburn University Club: Auburn University
3.8
13 Panelists
Located just minutes from campus, the Auburn University Club—home to the Tigers’ men’s and women’s programs—was designed by architect Bill Bergin, an Auburn men’s team alum, opening in 1999. The layout, which can be stretched to over 7,300 yards from the back tees, is situated on 225 acres of rolling hills and woodlands surrounding Yarbrough Lake. The length of the course, combined with narrow fairways and many elevation changes make this a stern test.
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Cider Ridge Golf Club: Cider Ridge

Cider Ridge sits at the base of Mount Cheaha, Alabama’s tallest mountain, located between Birmingham and Atlanta. The front nine is a flat, parkland design with trees lining each hole. The back nine provides a stark contrast, with dramatic elevation changes and mountain vistas enhancing the character of this Bill Bergin design. Relatively small greens place a premium on distance control. With the elevation changes on the back nine and some long distances between holes, it’s a difficult course to walk.

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Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail At Oxmoor Valley: Ridge
3.9
12 Panelists
Standing on the first tee looking down at the fairway below, golfers will get a sense of the dramatic elevation changes and undulating fairways in store for their round. The “roller-coaster” fairways are aesthetically appealing and create many shots from uneven lies. A heavily wooded track flanked by imposing pines, the Ridge course features several dramatic elevation changes, including at the downhill par-3 eighth. Given the topography, taking a cart is recommended.
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Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail At Capitol Hill: Legislator
3.8
20 Panelists
Unlike its sibling Judge course, which is defended by water throughout, the Legislator is a more traditional tree-lined layout with water in play on just four holes. The front nine at this Montgomery-area track plays on a bluff over a lake, weaving in and out of dense forest. The back nine descends to play among a native cypress swamp, which provides a unique setting, especially on holes 11 through 13. More forgiving off the tee than the Judge, the Legislator is the more player-friendly option.
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Ol' Colony Golf: Ol' Colony
Public
Ol' Colony Golf: Ol' Colony
Tuscaloosa
3.8
9 Panelists
Ol’ Colony is home to the University of Alabama men’s and women’s golf teams and was designed by former Crimson Tide standout and 1976 U.S. Open champion Jerry Pate. This heavily wooded layout circles around 25 acres of lakes, which come into play on numerous holes. The landing areas are fairly narrow, with dense forest, water and tall native grass all lurking. Many of Golf Digest’s course-ranking panelists give the facility’s conditioning high marks for playing firm and fast.
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Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail At Magnolia Grove: Crossings
3.9
19 Panelists
The Crossings course hosted an LPGA event from 1999 through 2014, boasting notable champions such as Karrie Webb, Se Ri Pak, Lorena Ochoa and Paula Creamer. A relatively flat parkland design, the course offers wide landing areas and large, subtly undulating greens. Wooden bulkheads and impressively large bunkers enhance the course’s aesthetics and serve to both visually intimidate and punish wayward shots. More recently, the Crossings hosted the LPGA Q-Series in 2021 and will do so again in 2022.
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