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DoubleAce
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Playing three rounds in Birmingham at the end of October. Is it worth the hour drive to play Farm Links at Pursell Farms? Should i play Ross Bridge twice and one of the Oxmoor Valley courses or play Farm Links, Ross Bridge and an Oxmoor Valley?  thanks in advance for any and all comments.

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I've never played Pursell Farms & you can't go wrong playing Ross Bridge, the jewel of the trail, twice. You could drive south to Montgomery and play The Judge at The Capital Hill Club, which has 3 courses. 

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You won't go wrong playing Ross Bridge twice as it is a. big golf course that the second time around will be more enjoyable because you will know the angles better and where the misses are .    Yes it is worth driving the hour to Farm Links. 

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I would definitely make the drive to play Pursell Farms.  In fact, we have a golf trip scheduled to PF early August.  I played there a few years ago and really enjoyed it.  I have played most of the RTJ courses and really enjoy them as well, but I would still make the drive to play PF.  You won't be disappointed.

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Farmlinks is definitely worth it. How long will you be in town? I would personally not play Ross Bridge twice. Might consider Ballantrae as well as if it’s a weekday can play for $40 after noon and it’s a great course.  
 

I agree with the person who said the Montgomery RTJs are better than Birmingham. The RTJs in Bham are nice and challenging but for what you pay it is not worth the money in my opinion. I will say last time I played there the greens were the best I’ve seen, that was around April. Bent Brook is also very good but there is not anything unique about it. 
 

I will say I live here so my opinion may be skewed slightly because of that. However, moral of the story is make sure you play farmlinks! 

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18 hours ago, DoubleAce said:

Playing three rounds in Birmingham at the end of October. Is it worth the hour drive to play Farm Links at Pursell Farms? Should i play Ross Bridge twice and one of the Oxmoor Valley courses or play Farm Links, Ross Bridge and an Oxmoor Valley?  thanks in advance for any and all comments.

Also, FYI one of the two Oxmoor Valley courses is closed right now and I do not think it’ll be open by October, so the other course might be pretty crowded. 

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I echo the praise for FarmLinks. 

The golf course is interesting and it’s a nice experience. There will also probably be fewer people there and pace of play could be better. 

I have been 2x in the spring and it has exceeded expectations. Food and lodging is also really good. 

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Farmlinks is unique and a throughly enjoyable golfing experience.  It is a bit of a drive from Birmingham but lodging is available and their restaurant has delicious food. Various other activities are offered there as well - Check it their Website. 

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Started playing late in life, but as I got older I found that golf is a much better activity than a lot of things old folks get into, plus I meet some of the nicest most interesting people!

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13 hours ago, Headhammer said:

I've never played Pursell Farms & you can't go wrong playing Ross Bridge, the jewel of the trail, twice. You could drive south to Montgomery and play The Judge at The Capital Hill Club, which has 3 courses. 

Agreed, judge and legislator we're both really nice

Edited by JohnFP
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I would recommend the drive to Purcell Farms. Ross Bridge and Oxmoor Valley are very good. Another very fine course is Timberline in Calera just a short drive south of Birmingham. The Valley Course at Oxmoor is closed until Oct. 30 but the Ridge is the better of the two IMHO.

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Late to the party but here’s my rank of public courses in Bham. I live here and play them a lot.

1) Ross Bridge 

2) Oxmoor Valley - Ridge Course

3) Ballantrae Golf Club

4) Oxmoor Valley - Valley Course (opens back up October 1st, re did all the greens and changed the hole layout on 3 of them)

5) Bent Brook/Timberline

i would 100% go to Farmlinks/Purcell Farms. I would also go to RTJ Capitol Hill (Montgomery)

If you only got 3 courses and don’t mind spending a little more. I’d go Ross Bridge, Farmlinks, and the Judge course at RTJ Capitol Hill (same drive from Bham as Farmlinks)

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1 hour ago, Mtbryant01 said:

Late to the party but here’s my rank of public courses in Bham. I live here and play them a lot.

1) Ross Bridge 

2) Oxmoor Valley - Ridge Course

3) Ballantrae Golf Club

4) Oxmoor Valley - Valley Course (opens back up October 1st, re did all the greens and changed the hole layout on 3 of them)

5) Bent Brook/Timberline

i would 100% go to Farmlinks/Purcell Farms. I would also go to RTJ Capitol Hill (Montgomery)

If you only got 3 courses and don’t mind spending a little more. I’d go Ross Bridge, Farmlinks, and the Judge course at RTJ Capitol Hill (same drive from Bham as Farmlinks)

I did not know Valley opens 10/1, good to know. 

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9 hours ago, Ben_Howell34 said:

I did not know Valley opens 10/1, good to know. 

Soft start opening is what I'd say. I'm putting on a tournament on October 15th there, so I'm praying this project doesn't get delayed. Fingers crossed.

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On 6/19/2021 at 8:53 PM, DoubleAce said:

Playing three rounds in Birmingham at the end of October. Is it worth the hour drive to play Farm Links at Pursell Farms? Should i play Ross Bridge twice and one of the Oxmoor Valley courses or play Farm Links, Ross Bridge and an Oxmoor Valley?  thanks in advance for any and all comments.

Farm Links is well worth the trip. If you have a 4some stay in a cottage.

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i want to thank everyone  for all of the constructive replies.   there is a wealth of knowledge on this forum for AL courses.   I learned that its well worth a trip to Farm Links at Pursell Farms and i hope to play this course.   I also learned that Ross Bridge is highly rated course and i look forward to playing that course too.  I plan to start a couple new topics based on what i read here.  1) what course rating sources do you use when planning a trip.   one of the sources i uses gave Ross Bridge a 5+ and Farm Links only a 4.  2) i had always planned at least one more and possibly 2 more trips to AL  since Capitol Hill courses were mentioned here, I will start a topic asking that you compare Cambrian Ridge, Capitol Hill and Grand National. 

thanks so much

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  • 5 months later...

Just jumping in this topic to say I just got back from a golf trip to Birmingham and want to report on a few of the courses. For background, this is the second year when we went to Bham. Last year we did all RTJ courses (36 at Ross Bridge, both Oxmoors) and also Pursell Farms because it is actually one of my favorite courses I have ever played and I like to go there any chance I get. Anyways, on to some quick reviews:

Timberline - We took a cart for 18 and only paid $40 which was a great deal based on course conditions. The course winds through a housing development but the houses are nowhere near encroaching on the course. Some very dynamic elevation changes and most holes are interesting. Greens rolled very well and the fairways were dormant which is more than fine and expected this time of year. Standout holes were #4 which is a cool valley hole with a slight double dogleg and an excellent elevated greensite, #8 which is a tight meandering par 5 with a threatening creek down the right that is just a very handsome hole that I would play much differently the second time around, #15 is another handsome par 5 which goads you into going for it and I thought 18 was a nice finisher. The only gripe, and this is just me, is that there are several LONG par 3s which I ended up playing fine but I don't love them in principle. I much prefer mid to short par 3s with trouble all around. But anyway, I thought this was a great course that I would play most days. 

Highland Park - I used to play HP back in the day before Troon took it over and it was quirky but kind of a dump. Now it has greatly improved conditions and is a really fun little course. It's short but plays longer because some of the corridors are rather tight. Troon has made it cart path only 365 a year so we walked it and had a great time. I think asking $50+ for this course shocked me a bit but makes sense given how good of shape they are keeping it. This is a nice challenge that doesn't require a lot of length. You have to move the ball a bit both ways to score out here and you will get some uneven lies that keep it interesting. Love what they did with Highland Park and a great option for Birmingham to have.

Ballantrae - The surprise of the trip! I LOVED this course. Had everything. Good conditioning, interesting design, width on a lot of holes. I would play this course day in and day out and not get bored. Again, only $40 to ride here is a steal. Compared to Ross Bridge which STARTS at like $120 this is such a better deal. Loved #2 which is a boomerang, dramatic par 5 that requires great positioning and strategy, loved #5 as a good shortish par 3 with a beautiful greensite, #10 which is a gettable short par 4 with a blind tee shot around a left dogleg into a bowlish green, #12 was a dogleg right alps hole that was a beauty to look at and play, #13 is a par 5 with some strategic fairway slope that makes it play narrower than it looks, #14 another classic par 3, and a short par 4 16th that had a tricky pin position. The closing two holes were just okay but overall a fantastic round of golf. Highly recommend. The fake turret they built that you can see from 17 tee is an abomination and made me laugh out loud. I should have taken a picture of it because it was so tacky. But that has nothing to do with golf. Also the pro shop people were extremely nice and helpful. 

Pursell - Never disappoints. I love this course because of the WIDTH and conditioning and, due to my vanity, plays a bit easier than it looks. I love being able to hit driver everywhere without fear but still feel like I am being challenged on my second shots. Pursell is such a great setting in that it is peaceful and idyllic with a wide variety of hole designs and elevation change. The huge drop par 3 gets all the press but the 18th is like a postcard hole that I think about all the time. The par 5s at Pursell are all excellent. The par 3s are also very good. I could go through every hole but just know this place nails it. I am partial because I always play well here but if I hit the lottery I would consider moving here. Legitimately. It's that good. I am going to argue for the golf trip to ONLY go here next year and probably get shot down but I could play 36 holes here until my back went out. This course is fair, fun and forgiving which is like the triple crown for me. 

A quick word on the RTJ courses. They are fine, will always be in good shape and are ready to host big groups. HOWEVER, I personally don't find them that "fun" especially Oxmoor because RTJ loves elevated greens that fall off on all sides. Getting that on repeat is not what I love on a golf trip or vacation. Also, compared to Ballantrae and Timberline I think they are overpriced (in the case of Ross Bridge like OUTRAGEOUSLY overpriced). If you want to spend $100+ on a round of golf I do not see how you would have more fun at Ross Bridge vs Pursell. It's not close. Ballantrae beats all of the RTJ courses in Birmingham in my opinion (regardless of price) and Timberline definitely beats the Oxmoor Valley courses (regardless of price) and, if you consider the price difference, beats Ross Bridge. Just one man's opinion and not fact. You can save a lot of money on a golf trip by avoiding the RTJ courses AND probably have a better experience, in my opinion. 

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@vandyland

I am from Birmingham, and I’m not a member anywhere so I play public courses all the time.  It is really interesting to see what someone from out of town thinks of “our” courses. Funny to think people come here for golf trips, but our golf scene is very underrated! 
 

I would agree with all your sentiments almost 100% on this (not moving to Sylacauga anytime soon 😂😂). Like the RTJs but they are proud of them. They basically back you into a corner to buy their “trail card” which gives you a discount and rewards. But the prices are still high. They are a little more challenging/fun but the difference in price is not equitable. My favorite in town is Ballantrae (I don’t count Pursell, as it is an hour away and a whole different category of awesome. Rumor is they are building another course out there too 🤞🏻)

 

If you come back, try Bent Brook. It’s an open course but can get windy which offers a different challenge. Always in as good of shape if not better than most of those courses. Awesome greens always. 
 

Glad you enjoyed it, and here is your picture of the “turret” at Ballantrae 🤣🤣8A8D964C-654D-430F-AB86-C5BB91909C2D.jpeg.ef07c17ebedd0f7d42d0218e1fb1e302.jpeg

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On 6/19/2021 at 7:53 PM, DoubleAce said:

Playing three rounds in Birmingham at the end of October. Is it worth the hour drive to play Farm Links at Pursell Farms? Should i play Ross Bridge twice and one of the Oxmoor Valley courses or play Farm Links, Ross Bridge and an Oxmoor Valley?  thanks in advance for any and all comments.

How did your trip go? Interested to see your thoughts.

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