Snap rolls and putts, all in one day

It’s been called some of the best public golf on Earth and can be found along the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Alabama.

The trail starts in the northern part of the state in Muscle Shoals and winds its way through the state, down to Mobile. For pilots wanting to play the trail, there’s an airport near almost every course.

“The airports in Birmingham and Montgomery are centrally located, which will give pilots the most options,” notes Jeremy Collins, a reservation agent.

The 10 facilities, designed by legendary architect Robert Trent Jones Sr., boast 18 golf courses. Each has 27 championship holes, according to Collins, who noted that most facilities have 36 holes and some have 54.

The trail doesn’t offer discounts to pilots, but packages are available. You create the package, choosing which courses you want to play. Greens fees vary with location and season, but start around $37 and go up to about $75. For more information: 800-949-4444 or


For pilots, tackling a series of golf courses often isn’t enough. That’s why many combine a trip to Alabama with an aerobatic flight training course offered by Greg Koontz.

Koontz, a former military pilot who also performs in air shows in his Super Decathlon, opened a bed and breakfast on his Ashville property about a year ago to accommodate students. “A lot of my clientele are business people who fly Barons and Bonanzas,” he says. “They want to take an aerobatic course for confidence.”

The two-day training is customized, with only two students accepted at a time. Students fly in the mornings, learning loops, rolls, hammerheads and spins. In the afternoon, they can use Koontz’s van to head to Silver Lakes Golf Course, which offers golfers a course that includes the “heartbreaker,” dubbed the most challenging nine holes on the trail, as well as the “backbreaker” nine, the “mindbreaker” and the short course, which is considered the most demanding collection of one-shotters on the trail. There’s water in play on seven of the holes, including a 12-foot cascade beside the sixth green.

Want to play the course, but don’t have time for Koontz’s aerobatic training? Fly into Anniston Metropolitan (ANB).

But if you have the time, check out Koontz’s aerobatic course. The training broadens pilots’ control skills, according to Koontz. “This gives them enough training to get out of trouble,” he notes.

The course costs $960. Currently, there’s a three-week waiting list.

For more information: 205-616-8176 or

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