The Short Course
If you ever decide to end your visit to the Robert Trent Jones Trail by playing one of their “Short” courses don’t mistake the word short for “easy”. You may also decide as many do to simply play a Short course as part of your golf getaway or start the trip off with a Short course warm up. Again in the dictionary nowhere will you see the word short and easy interchangeable. That isn’t to say that these “Short” courses are unfair, far from it my golfing comrades but they do possess all the attributes and features of the Par 3’s on all the full length courses on The Trail. Elevated undulating greens protected by well groomed bunkers.
There are numerous sites on The Trail that include an 18-hole par 54 Short course. Our group of 12 guys back in 1992 played three or four of them, usually after a full 18 on one of the regulation courses.
The Short Course at The Grand National is the flagship of all the Short Courses on the trail. The first seven holes are all really challenging par threes nestled within the treed forested area of the course. It is when we got to eight I again remembered as if it was back in 92, there across the great expanse of water was an elevated green which required a deft shot from about 170 yards away.
You then cross another one of the very impressive metal bridges to get to the green and this is where the most stunning part of the course begins. From a high point of land behind the 8th green you look downward to number nine green a hole that Myra and I will never forget as she made a delicious two here. An upward climb up to hole number 10 and then in a horseshoe, loop back along the lake to number 15 where you repeat a similar process that you had on number 8 carrying the lake with your tee shot.
I had said to Myra on our way down to Alabama that maybe I would get my first hole-in-one on the Short Course or perhaps even she would. Now I am no Nostradamus but when my towering six iron on the 12th hole landed 8 feet behind the back pin position I thought my magical moment was about to occur. The ball started to slowly wiggle its way down towards the pin and if the greens were slightly slicker it might’ve made it to way into the small opening in the earth. It was not meant to be as it came to rest about two feet directly above the hole but it was probably one of the nicest twos I have ever made in my life.
I love playing this course but it was an unselfish reward to Myra as after six days playing some of the most difficult golf holes she’s ever played it was a treat for her to be hitting greens in one in regularity and making attempts at birdies and pars.
The last three finishing holes are back across the lake and again on 18 I thought it was going to go in. This time an absolutely pure 7-iron flew just pin high left of the flag and took an immediate hard right rolling towards the flag just missing the lip of the cup and stopping 2 feet below the hole this time another great and fairly easy birdie.
We finished up right on schedule as at the end of this round we were heading off on a 4 hour drive south of Tallahassee Florida to Crawfordville to go visit and stay with Myra’s younger sister Valerie.
We had 10 minutes with Jim and some of his younger colleagues at the bag drop sharing some cool stories about various golf holes around the world and with a very warm thank you and best wishes way we went. Not before they gave our car a boost as I had left a light on while we played.
I can say enough about finishing with this enjoyable round which started with a nice breakfast in the clubhouse compliments of Clay and warm well wishes at the end. This was the cherry on top and the icing on the cake of our seven day Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail experience.
Get your group be it 2, 12 or 50 and start planning your getaway to the greatest stretch of golf on earth. Alabama 2019 here we come.