Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail – Silver Lakes
The Robert Trent Jones Trail Silver Lakes Golf stop in Northeast Alabama features 36 holes of forests, wetlands, grasslands and dramatic elevation changes.
Named by Golf Digest’s Places to Play as one of the nation’s Great Value courses in the public category, Silver Lakes is set on rolling terrain at the edge of Talladega National Forest between Anniston and Gadsden. Silver Lakes features three championship nines plus a nine-hole Short Course. This facility is anchored by a number of strong par-fours that play to pedestal greens perched 30 to 40 feet above fairway level. The 450-acre complex has two large spring-fed lakes, hilly topography, forests, and mountain views. Surrounded by the Appalachian foothills and Lee’s Lake, Silver Lakes features the most unique and aptly named courses on The Trail – Mindbreaker, Heartbreaker, and Backbreaker.
Opened in November 1993 as the seventh site on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, developed by the Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA). Silver Lakes has served as the Jacksonville State University golf teams’ home course and hosted many intercollegiate golf tournaments. Masters champion Danny Willett of Great Britain played for JSU for two years and credited his play at Silver Lakes as contributing to his 2016 tournament victory.
A devastating EF-4 tornado in 2011 took out more than 38,000 trees, the maintenance building, the pump building, the irrigation system, and many sections of cart path. RSA gave serious consideration to closing the complex but decided to maintain its golf presence in northeast Alabama and restored the golf facilities and grounds. More than 70 people working under Roger Rulewich, the chief architect for the late Robert Trent Jones, worked for four months on removing debris, replanting, and reshaping the fairways. The loss of trees opened up spectacular views of the Appalachian Foothills, Lee’s Lake and the original clubhouse is now visible from 28 holes.
Like all of the Robert Trent Jones Trail courses, Silver Lakes is an incredible golfing experience for everyone. The unique placement of multiple tee boxes will challenge the best golfers in the world, yet at the same time allow for an enjoyable round for the high handicapper or beginning golfer.
Silver Lakes – Backbreaker
The Backbreaker nine features wide fairways, demanding greens and spectacular beautiful views of the Appalachian foothills from its elevated tees.
Hole #2 – Par 3
A short par 3 that plays slightly downhill. A large bunker protects the front – knock it close. This may be your only chance for a birdie on the Backbreaker course.
Hole #9 – Par 5
This downhill finishing hole allows long hitters the chance to reach the green in two. The ninth has no fairway bunkers so grip it and rip it.
Silver Lakes – Mindbreaker
The Mindbreaker is an unforgettable blend of shorter, elusive holes set in a beautiful sanctuary of woods, water and wetlands. Considered a tad easier than the other two, it demands shotmaking at its finest.
Hole #1 – Par 5
The Mindbreaker begins with a great opportunity for a birdie, so come out swinging on this short par 5. The hole doglegs right with bunkers on the left and a well-placed drive will leave you a chance to go for the green in two.
Hole #8 – Par 4
Leave the driver in the bag on this tight par 4. The fairway slopes to the right down towards a creek, so aim left on the tee to avoid danger. Your second shot with a mid short iron must carry the creek to find a green protected by two bunkers.
Silver Lakes – Heartbreaker
The Heartbreaker nine provides a unique mix of great golf holes and unequaled character. The final three holes showcase elevation changes and dramatic lake vistas.
Hole #7 – Par 5
The tee shot is downhill and the hole plays shorter than the yardage. You will need to avoid the two ponds on the left side of the fairway and then hit over another with your second shot. The green sits elevated above the fairway with a bunker guarding short and right.
Hole #8 – Par 3
The tee shot is all carry over the water. The green is 43 yards deep, so adjust your club selection based on pin position. Avoid the deep bunkers on both sides of the green.
Hole #9 – Par 4
Play to the widest part of the fairway on this dogleg left. The green juts out into the lake and the pin usually sits just off the water’s edge, so there is no place to miss with your approach. The ninth is the course’s most difficult par 4 and is also one of the best finishing holes on The Trail.
One thing you can be certain of when playing any of The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail courses…It doesn’t matter where the course is located, it will be quality golf with some of the best conditions found anywhere. Play Silver Lakes, you won’t be disappointed, you will only want to come back for more!
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