A quarter of a century ago, Alabama wasn t especially noted for its superior golfi ng. That all changed when Dr. David Bronner, head of the Retirement Systems of Alabama, took a notion to build some golf courses.

Dr. Bronner envisioned the state as a world-class golf destination, one that would create new tourism opportunities and other economic development. So during the years of 1990-1993, a construction crew, led by the master plans of famed course architect Robert Trent Jones, built 18 courses at seven different locations all at the same time.

The spine of courses that runs from the mountains in the northern part of the state

to the beach in the south was christened the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.

Now 25 years later, the trail has 26 courses at 11 facilities in every corner of Alabama. Golfers from all 50 states and an average of 20 foreign countries have played nearly 12 million rounds of golf since the trail opened.

Birmingham s fi rst RTJ course, the Oxmoor Valley course which opened in 1992, has gotten major renovations and upgrades. The Ross Bridge course, which opened in 2005, is one of the longest golf courses in the world and among the most beautiful.

The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail is the world s largest golf undertaking. rtjgolf.com


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39. Vulcan Park and Museum Vulcan is the largest cast iron statue in the world and Birmingham s city symbol. Standing high atop Red Mountain, the 56-foot-high statue has an observation balcony on its pedestal for a panoramic view of the city. Vulcan is patterned after the mythical Roman god of the forge, a nod to the city s powerful position in the iron and steel industry in the fi rst part of the 20th century. The statue was created as Birmingham s

exhibit in the 1904 World s Fair in St. Louis and won the exposition s grand prize. The museum at Vulcan has interactive exhibits and displays that portray the region s history and progress. Museum open Mon Sun, 10am 6pm; Observation balcony open Mon Sun, 10am 10pm. Admission. 1701 Valley View Dr., 205-933-1409. visitvulcan.com

Silver Anniversary for Golden Trail