Course Spy: Capitol Hill (The Judge)
"Y'all have a good time now," the starter says, sparing us the usual first-tee soliloquy about 90-degree cart rules and the like. It's a light, Southern send-off, and it perfectly sets the tone at a friendly place where the only thing they lay on thick is the Alabama drawl, y'all.
Pace of Play
This is not a wide-open course that easily forgives errant tee shots. The aptly named Judge can be penal. It's longer than War and Peace, features more than a few slender fairways, and peril awaits on 14 holes that adjoin water. Expect your round to last at least four and a half hours.
With big greens, sprawling fairway bunkers, and long, forced carries off many tees, this course is great for risk-reward-loving players who can live with punished mis-hits. And the Alabama River's beautiful backwaters give this heart-of-Dixie course a winning sense of place.
The tough but playable holes and gorgeous views make this perhaps the best deal on the RTJ Trail. Twilight rates let you play for less than $50, about what you'd shell out for a cart and a bucket of balls at many top resorts. Here, it gets you on one of the highest-rated public tracks in Alabama.
If the course was judged by a jury of its peers, some might deem it too penal for the average player. Our ruling? Play it from the right tees—hey, there's no shame in using the 5,910-yard whites—and you'll have a blast on an entertaining layout that delivers one of the best bargains in the game.
Capitol Hill (The Judge)
7,813 yards, par 72
Green fees: $71-$92
(Photo: Michael Clemmer)