Cheap thrills: $38 event for seniors on RT Jones Trail

         If you and a golfing buddy or spouse are 50 or older and have thought about trying out the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Alabama, a mid-December event could be just the encouragement you need.  Silver Lakes, home to three excellent nines, is hosting the Senior Tournament Series on December 15, a two-man scramble (Captain's Choice) event that includes green fees, cart fees, range balls, lunch and prizes, all for just $38.  Before or after the tournament, 26 other layouts are available along the Trail, which runs from the top of the state near Muscle Shoals to Mobile on the Gulf of Mexico.  The Trail is running a special through the winter that includes three days of unlimited golf for $135 (carts, range balls, taxes not included) or lodging packages that start at $154 per day.  See the RTJ Trail web site for details. 

         I played 18 of Silver Lakes' 27 holes a year and a half ago.  Conditioning was near perfect and the routing of the holes interesting and diverse.  The $65 green fees (cart included) were a bargain (see my review here ).  So too is the real estate in the area, but Gadsden, the nearest city, is not exactly San Francisco but has a small city charm that will appeal to many. 

        Unlike the event on December 15, Silver Lakes did not throw in lunch during my visit in 2008, but my "prize" was a round with enough excellent holes to compel me to try out the rest of The Trail someday.