The 'Wow factor' has been enhanced
BIRMINGHAM – The wait is about over.
Ross Bridge, considered to be the flagship course of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, will reopen Oct. 13.
The course, closed for more than a year after a misapplication of a chemical killed most of the greens, has undergone extensive renovations during the shutdown.
“I’m very happy with the changes,” said Mike Beverly, CEO of SunBelt Golf Corporation which owns and operates the RTJ Golf Trail. “Our goal was to make changes that enhanced the natural beauty of the property, improved playability, accessibility and improve the day-to-day conditions. I feel that we accomplished each of the goals and have a great finished product.”
New greens, new bunkers at Ross Bridge
The renovations included installing new TifEagle Ultrawarf greens, extensive bunker work, relocating and repairing cart paths, architectural changes to five holes and adding new EZ-GO golf cars with GPS and Bluetooth technology.
Beverly explained what golfers familiar with the course will encounter when they tee it up.
“The highlights of the renovation are new TifEagle Ultradwarf greens which will improve the overall playability, particularly during the heat of summer,” he said. “The greens will be much firmer overall and also provide a more consistent green speed year round.”
Beverly noted that every bunker was renovated with new drainage and sand, while some were removed and others reshaped to improve the design of the hole or to create a more playable approach for the higher handicap player.
Several cart paths were relocated to make it easier for players to walk to and from the greens, fairways and tees, and also to improve drainage.
Finally, Nos. 1, 2, 10, 14 and 18 were changed from a design perspective in an effort to improve playability.
Beverly said some of the changes were made in response to player feedback.
Some cart paths were relocated during shutdown
“I think this new version of Ross Bridge allowed us to address the biggest complaint we heard of the original design, which was the distance of some of the paths from the tees and greens,” he said. “The redesign work on holes 1,2,10 14 and 18 much improved those holes and again made a better product form a golfer’s perspective. No. 14 is my personal favorite and I think will be the most photographed hole on the property next to No. 18.”
Beverly noted that the changes have not changed the “Wow factor” that Ross Bridge presents to first-time or returning players.
“The scale of the property and the vistas created by the property provide a wow factor that not many courses can provide,” he said. “The beautiful hotel is still a focal point of the property, and we added some additional rock features that will accompany the waterfall on 9 and 18 to enhance beautification throughout the course.”
Officials said the course is ready for play but some cosmetic work is still in progress.
Gregg Dewalt is the editor of Alabama Golf News
Featured image courtesy of RJT Golf Trail Ross Bridge