Mountain golf may not be what you think of when you think about golf in Alabama, but then again, Cider Ridge isn’t your typical Alabama golf course. For the most part, it’s mountain golf; the course borders the Talladega National Forest and the Talladega Mountains and is situated at the base of Alabama’s tallest mountain – Mt. Cheaha. The course is managed by Honours Golf, a division of Troon Golf.
This award-winning golf course was designed by the Alabama-based firm of Bergin Design who incorporated a wide variety of the central Alabama terrain into the 6,946 yard layout. From the back tees, the course boasts a course rating of 74.0 and a slope of 140. Five sets of tees lets you pick a yardage between 4,507 and 6,946, so there’s something for everyone, regardless of your skill.
Cider Ridge is located midway between Birmingham, AL and Atlanta, GA; minutes off Interstate 20 and not far from the renowned Talladega Racetrack. Over the past 10 years, Cider Ridge has become widely known as one of Alabama’s best golf courses and has received multiple awards from GolfAdvisor.com including Top 10 Courses in Alabama 2015 – 2019 and the No. 1 Course in Calhoun County.
Cider Ridge features two distinctively different nines. The first six holes are more like a traditional parkland style course with tree-lined fairways, 100-year-old majestic oaks, and streams including the Choccolocco Creek. In fact, you really don’t see much elevation change until the 6th hole and from then on, it becomes more mountain golf. The back nine has a lot more elevation change, with rolling hills, mountain vistas, dense hardwood forests, and a natural waterfall on #12, the signature hole.
Many of the greens are well elevated meaning if you don’t take enough club or in some cases hit it hard enough, it can roll back down to your feet. Because this is a mountain course there’s a lot of roll and undulation in the fairways, leaving many uneven lies. Mature trees guard many of the fairways and may be hard to hit under, over or around.
Citrus Ridge has several memorable holes. Number 2 is a long dogleg left par 4 that plays 396 yards. Playing down the right side will take the fairway bunker and large oak tree out of play and give you a good angle into the green. As you turn the dogleg, you’ll find a large lake guarding the left side of the fairway and green. A good drive will leave a mid to long iron into a long narrow green that is slightly elevated and slopes back to front. There’s a bunker between the water and the green and nothing good to the right. Par is a good score here.
Number 7 (Par 4, 306 yards) is one of the most memorable holes on the course. The tee shot plays considerably downhill; from the Blue tees, you can see the two fairway bunkers at the bottom of the hill on the left side as well as a little piece of fairway. Woods on the left keep you honest off the tee while the large slope on the right can help funnel balls back into play. Find the fairway successfully and you’ll be facing an uphill tee shot to a large green that is angled and slopes front right to back left.
Number 10 (Par 4, 397 yards) is the epitome of target golf. You need to place your tee shot in the landing area at the top of the hill. That will leave you about 150 yards slightly downhill to a green protected in front by a stream and in back by a bunker.
The finishing hole (Number 18, par 5, 540 yards) is a good test of golf. Water runs all the way down the left side and then wraps in behind the green while anything right of the cart path is either in the trees or out of bounds. Sand comes int play in the landing area on the right side and again on the front right of the green. Fly the green and you’ll most likely be wet. Par is a good score here.
Before or after your round, stop by the Cider Ridge Grill which offers casual dining in a comfortable atmosphere. They serve up American staples like mouth-watering burgers, freshly-made salads and sandwiches and their legendary chicken fingers and wings in a variety of sauces. They also make tailgating easy with several party platter options, allowing you to sit back, relax and watch the game.
Cider Ridge Golf proudly participates in Troon’s Troops and offers special rates to military & first responders. It’s Troon’s way of saying thanks for protecting and serving our great country. Reservations can be made up to 48 hours in advance by calling the golf shop directly. Valid military identification or other identification must be presented upon check in for active duty U.S. military personnel and first responders.
Cider Ridge’s professional staff is involved in a number of activities with golfers, from junior golf, to group and private lessons to helping you set up the perfect golf tournament. If you are looking to take up the game or are looking for help fine tuning it, Cider Ridge Golf Club can meet your all your instructional needs. Students may practice on the Club’s large practice putting green, chipping area and driving range equipped with 20 hitting spaces. Get Into Golf is the perfect program for someone who is totally new to the game of golf. For only $39 you can participate in a 1-hour clinic and then try what you have learned on the course as you play three holes with your group. Equipment is provided or you can bring your own!
Cider Ridge Golf Club and Troon Golf are big believers in growing the game of golf and it all starts at the junior level. The Junior Golf Academy at Cider Ridge exposes junior golfers to all facets of the game including etiquette, sportsmanship, and integrity. Juniors are instructed by Cider Ridge’s professional staff in the mechanics and fundamentals of the game of golf. This is done through a myriad of fun activities, games, drills, and lessons. The Troon Junior Club at Cider Ridge is available to boys and girls, ages 17 and under. For only $35 per person, juniors get special golf rates, access to fun, exclusive golf clinics, a cool hat and more!
Cider Ridge can help arrange a golf tournament golf that will be remembered by you and your guests. Whether it’s a small group of guys getting away for the weekend or a large charity fundraising tournament for up to 108 players, the PGA-certified professionals will work with you every step of the way to see to it that everything goes off as planned. They will help with everything from registration to drinks and dinner afterwards. Check with the pro shop for details.
Cider Ridge offers several annual golf memberships that will give golfers the opportunity to play as much golf as they can. Benefits Include unlimited green fees, preferred rates at other participating Honours Golf facilities, 50% off range balls, ability to participate in Club Tournaments including the Club Championship, Oxford City Championship and Match Play. You’ll also receive a 15% discount on pro shop merchandise (shirts, hats, golf balls, accessories, gloves & more) and cost plus 15% on all special orders. Senior, junior and family memberships are also available as is a range membership that will get you 50% off range balls.
Cider Ridge’s Clubhouse has been recently renovated and can accommodate up to 80 people seated for outdoor wedding receptions and rehearsal dinners. Two adjoining rooms and an outdoor patio overlook the 18th green and the picturesque mountain and golf course views create the perfect venue for weddings and special events. You can work with one of their preferred catering vendors or your own licensed caterer. There’s ample parking and the Club has partnered with several local hotels including the Hilton Garden Inn and Marriott Courtyard.
For more information on booking your next round or outing, give them a call at (256) 831-7222 or visit them online at www.ciderridgegolf.com.