Worth Your Money: The Judge Course, the jewel of Alabama's RTJ Trail
Tired of hearing about how great a golf trip to Pebble Beach or St. Andrews is? No kidding. These days we're looking for a golf trip that makes sense for our games and our budgets. So we've started a weekly feature on Golf.com called "Worth Your Money" where Golf Magazine's travel editors find a destination that combines great golf and great value. This week, we check out The Judge near Montgomery, Ala. THE DESTINATION: THE JUDGE COURSE AT CAPITOL HILL IN PRATVILLE, ALABAMA
The fourth hole at the Judge Course. (Michael Clemmer/Golf Landscape Photography) Rtjgolf.com, 7,794 yards, $56-$75, 334-285-1114
From the nosebleed first tee of Golf Magazine's top-rated member of Alabama's Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, you can take in the full scope of the Montgomery skyline. But the target in the foreground is what grabs your attention. Pinched by the backwaters of the Alabama River, the imposing downhill par four, with its slender landing area, is a faithful indication of the trials that await you on The Judge. Let the evidence show, for starters, that this, the toughest track at the Capitol Hill complex, a 54-hole facility on the RTJ Trail, is not a course for the aquaphobic. Water flanks most fairways, fronts many greens and presents you with forced carries off several tees. From the 7,794-yard tips, the design is simply too much for most mortals. But played from the right markers -- and with the right attitude -- it’s a scenic pleasure that features, among other highlights, a pair of unforgettable back-nine par-threes. Then there’s the price: well under $100, even in peak season. You’ll take some punishment. But considering the quality, The Judge lets you get away with a steal.
WHERE TO EAT Uncle Mick’s Cajun Market & Café. Crawfish etouffee, chicken gumbo and other Cajun staples at this casual hangout in historic downtown Pratville. 334-361-1020, Unclemickscajun.com
Fat Boy’s Barbecue Ranch. Friendly, family-run barbecue joint, serving hickory-smoked meats and classic Southern sides, on the banks of a babbling creek. 334-358-4227 Fatboysbarbcueranch.com
WHERE TO STAY Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa. Ten minutes from Capitol Hill, a 345-room luxury hotel, with restaurants, bars and a newly expanded convention center. From $139. 334-481-5000, Renaissancemontgomery.com
Montgomery Marriott Pratville Hotel. Set on 1,600 wooded acres, overlooking the three courses at Capitol Hill. From $129, 334-290-1235, Marriott.com