As far as country clubs in the Birmingham, AL, area are concerned, Pine Tree is one of the best kept secrets around. This family-oriented club offers its members a wide variety of recreational and social activities including an 18-hole, par 72 golf course, top-notch tennis facilities, fitness center and Olympic- sized swimming pool.
Pine Tree was established in 1968 as the result of combining two existing clubs: The Fairmont Club – a social and dining club and the Hillcrest Golf & Country Club – a 9-hole golf and social club. In the fall of 1970, the combined membership constructed a new clubhouse, and in 1994, Pine Tree Country Club began offering non-equity memberships. Pine Tree is still owned by a group of equity members who, in 2014, with membership and club revenue falling, turned over management of the club’s operations to Troon Management. Under the leadership and guidance of General Manager Andrew Smith, a 21-year industry veteran and Club President Alan Seigel, things have turned around considerably; in fact, membership has grown by more than 75% since Smith came on board! With the increase in membership, Pine Tree has been able to complete approximately two million dollars in renovations touching virtually every department in the operation, most notably—a comprehensive golf course bunker renovation, new tennis clubhouse, new fitness center, swimming pool resurfacing, and a major upgrade and remodeling of the clubhouse’s interior—highlighted by a totally updated banquet facility and a full re-imagining of three very popular casual dining and socializing areas.
Pine Tree Country Club is General Manager Andrew Smith’s second tour of duty with Troon (1998-2012 and now 2015-current). After a couple of stints with other golf management companies, Andrew came back to Troon to assist Pine Tree in repositioning itself and help the club reach its full potential. He’s also a Class A PGA Professional and can still get it around the course but doesn’t have a chance to play as much as he would like. Alan Seigel is Pine Tree’s Club President and was virtually raised at Pine Tree Country Club. His father was one of the founding members, and Alan has been playing these hallowed holes since the club opened. It shows too; I think he shot a 69 the day we played!
The staff at Pine Tree Country Club is very attentive to both members and guests of the club. As I arrived at the bag drop area, I was met by three staff members who immediately took my bag from the trunk and set it up on a cart. They quickly directed me to the people I was to meet and play with and the adventure was underway.
We started out by spending some time on Pine Tree’s driving range, a full-length facility that allows you to hit every club in the bag. In retrospect, I should have spent a lot more time there! You’ll also find a separate short game area and putting green. Plans are in the works to upgrade the practice facilities within the next couple of years.
Pine Tree’s 18-hole championship, par-72 golf course is the centerpiece of the club. The course is set upon 275 acres of meticulously maintained land and was originally designed by George Cobb and updated by John La Foy. The layout is both challenging and fair, with five sets of tees, and it can be enjoyed by just about anyone who can pick up a club. From the back tees, Pine Tree Country Club plays 7,036 yards with a course rating of 73.9 and a slope of 137. Most of the members play from the white (6,199/72.1/133) tees while others opt for the reds (4,763/67.2/119). The choice of five sets of tees present a suitable yardage for just about any player. The practice green and driving range are easily accessible from the clubhouse, leaving no excuse for not practicing!
Pine Tree Country Club has many memorable holes, but none more so than Number 3. It’s a narrow par 4 with water down the right side and a rolling, grass slope on the left. There’s also a fairway bunker shading the right side in the landing area for longball hitters and a few trees down the left. You’ll most likely need to take the aerial approach on to the green as a large bunker guards the front. The green has some good slope and undulation in it and can be a tricky two-putt.
If tennis is more your game, Pine Tree Country Club’s facilities are some of the finest in the city, with nine courts, 8 of which are lit and available for night play and practice. No matter your skill level, you can take advantage of programs to improve your skills and then get involved in some competition. Each summer, Pine Tree offers full and half day summer camps for kids starting at age 4 and up. Along with the tennis programs, the golf department led by Paul Whitman, PGA Director of Golf and recent winner of the Youth Player Development award for the Alabama NW-Florida PGA Section, has one of the most active junior programs in the Birmingham area. Paul and the professional staff offer programs year round for all ages and abilities.
The fitness room features some of the latest cardio and weight training equipment from Life Fitness and Cybex. After a good workout, round of golf or a few sets of tennis on a hot summer day, why not relax in Pine Tree’s Olympic-sized swimming pool? It’s the perfect place to take in the sun or swim a few laps. There’s a smaller pool adjacent to the main pool and is perfect for toddlers. Lifeguards are on duty at all times to watch both areas. Swim lessons, swim team and a lifeguard sitter service are also available throughout the summer.
When it comes to dining, Pine Tree Country Club has something for everyone, whether it’s the spacious ballroom, one of several dining Rooms or the clubs’ casual sports bar– “The Grill.” Regardless of the venue you choose, you’re sure to have a comfortable, relaxing experience. The food is outstanding, and the staff is exceptional and attentive, whether you need to follow the guidelines of a restrictive diet or just want to engage in a quiet conversation.
With one of the most beautiful banquet facilities in the area and views of the golf course and rolling mountains, Pine Tree Country Club has been a preferred setting for hosting a variety of events such as rehearsal dinners, wedding receptions, anniversary celebrations, award banquets and numerous regional, statewide, and local golf tournaments. Rooms can be set up in a variety of ways, and the culinary staff will see to it that your event is a success. Whether your guest list is five close friends or 350 guests, Pine Tree Country Club can accommodate your every need.
Now that you know everything that Pine Tree Country Club has to offer, it’s time to consider becoming a member. Pine Tree has a membership plan for everyone, whether you live in the area or not. As a Golf Member, you, your spouse and children under 23 will have full access to everything the club has to offer including full golf, tennis, pool, fitness & clubhouse privileges. Junior Memberships with the same privileges are available for those under the age of 35, while a Sports Membership gets you a reduced rate on 12 rounds of golf as well as full access to tennis, pool, fitness and the clubhouse. Not interested in sports? Social Members have full clubhouse privileges and pool access along with their spouse and children under 23. For those not living within 100 miles of Pine Tree Country Club, Non-Resident Memberships are available and include all of the privileges as a Golf Member.For more information or to schedule a visit to Pine Tree Country Club, call (205) 956-1555 or visit online at www.ptccalabama.com. Come and find out for yourself why the Pine Tree family has grown so quickly over the last few years!