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September 13, 2022

Damaged greens force RTJ Golf Trail’s Ross Bridge closure

By AGN Staff
RTJ Ross Bridge

Herbicide mistaken for greens sand

HOOVER – Ross Bridge, the flagship golf course on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, has closed for the near future as officials figure out a solution after its greens were damaged by a herbicide misapplication.

According to WBRC-TV in Birmingham, the maintenance staff mistook a one-ton bag of herbicide for green sand and spread it on nearly every one of the 18 greens, poisoning the course’s bentgrass greens.

Ross Bridge Golf Course
Management is trying to find alternatives for players who booked Ross Bridge tee times.(Photo: Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail).

Now, course officials are trying to figure out how to save the greens and what to do about players who have already booked rounds for the popular course in the Birmingham suburb.

“That is exactly what happened. Whether we can flush that poison out of the system and regrow the grass to accommodate this fall and next spring’s play, that is what we are trying to determine in the next few weeks,” Sunbelt Golf Corporation Chairman John Cannon told WBRC for a story that aired in both the Birmingham and Huntsville markets Monday. Sunbelt Golf Corporation manages all of the RTJ Golf Trail sites.

Closure disrupts busy Ross Bridge fall season

Cannon said the golf course staff will dry inject charcoal and a ceramic layer to try and flush the poison out and allow the bentgrass to grow. But Cannon said there is no guarantee that the plan will work.

“If that has no progress in the next couple of weeks, we are going to have to start thinking about what our long-term options are,” Cannon told WBRC.

Tee times for Ross Bridge are currently not available on the RTJ golf website.

Several of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail’s courses have already undergone greens renovations as the original courses, which first opened in the early 1990s, aged. Now, Sunbelt officials are looking at potentially renovating the greens at Ross Bridge sooner than anticipated.

The RTJ Golf Trail courses are a popular fall destination for out-of-state golfers who often plan their trips to play the acclaimed courses months in advance. The courses also receive plenty of out-of-state play in the spring.

The courses have also seen an uptick in local play since the Covid-19 pandemic hit in 2020. If there is an upside for officials, it’s that the RTJ Golf Trail offers plenty of alternatives while Ross Bridge is shut down. Oxmoor Valley is just down the road from Ross Bridge, while Prattville’s three Capitol Hill courses are approximately 70 miles south of Birmingham. Silver Lakes in Gadsden/Anniston is about 90 minutes away.

Effect on hotel at golf course uncertain

However, the hotel adjacent to Ross Bridge is one of the Trail’s most popular. What effect the course shutdown will have on its occupancy remains to be seen.

Cannon said players who have already booked tee times at Ross Bridge should call the pro shop and the staff there will help find an alternative site.

Other trail sites are located in Muscle Shoals, Huntsville, Greenville, Auburn/Opelika, Mobile, Dothan and Point Clear.

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Featured image of Ross Bridge courtesy of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail

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