Timberline Golf Club has been offering golfers of all calibers a challenge since opening its doors in 2002 and now the course has even more to offer. More about that in a minute. The course is not without its share of accolades and has been pegged as one of Alabama’s Top 10 Courses You Can Play by Golf Week Magazine.
Timberline is located near Calera, AL in Shelby County. The golf course was designed by PGA TOUR professional Jerry Pate who does a great job of blending the golf course with the natural landscape to create an aesthetic experience that inspires and delights every golfer. The routing of the golf course takes advantage of the terrain’s existing vegetation, wetlands, and views allowing players to take in and appreciate the layout’s natural beauty. But it’s the mature hardwood and pine trees throughout that gives the course its name.
Timberline plays to a par of 71 and with four sets of tees, making it an enjoyable course for just about any caliber of golfer. Yardages range from 4,808 to 6,745 yards; a fifth set of tees (Black) have been added to the scorecard to produce a yardage of 6,444 yards using the Blue and White tees.
As you wind your way around the layout, you’ll encounter many changes in elevation and the occasional narrow fairway. Pate has created a shot maker’s course that often requires shot accuracy and placement over length to score well. What Timberline lacks in bunkers it makes up for in mounding with longer grasses in the mounds around the greens. While you can probably skate by with an adequate sand game, a good short game could save you several strokes. For the most part, greens are good sized, well-undulated and roll fast and true. Several have multiple levels and severe slopes.
Timberline takes you on a roller coaster ride, up and down fairways, teeing off from elevated tee boxes and hitting blind shots into elevated greens. This is evident on the 4th hole which is handicapped the hardest on the course. Number 4 plays 404 yards from the Black Tees and starts with a blind tee shot, followed by a long uphill approach shot to a well-undulated green. The hardest course is followed by a good risk/reward opportunity. The 5th hole is a par 4 that plays 267 yards from the White Tees and for many, a reachable green. A well struck drive over the fairway bunker on the right with a slight draw may very well find the putting surface.
According to Superintendent Bill Wilson, tee boxes are overseeded in the winter and aerified in the spring and early fall to ensure the best possible playing conditions. Although the fairways go dormant in the winter, Wilson and his staff utilize all modern golf course management techniques that keep the course in pristine playing condition year round.
What separates this course from others are the par 3 holes; there are 5 of them! At 153 yards, the 2nd hole is the shortest and with a slightly elevated green, it’s definitely not a pushover. Given the position of the bunkers, you’ll have to fly the ball on to the green which has a lot of undulation. The 205-yard 7th hole (Black Tees) plays considerably less thanks to the downhill trajectory. The nasty little pot bunker left of the green can ruin a thus far good round!
The back nine opens up with a long par 3 – 180 yards from the Black Tees. The green is long with a ridge in the middle and well protected by sand. The toughest hole on the back nine is Number 13, a par 3 that plays 191 yards from the Black Tees with trees on either side. The hole starts out from an elevated tee box, downhill into an elevated green that is well protected by sand left and in back. It’s imperative that you’re on the right level of this multi-tiered green if you want to score well. The 16th is the longest par 3 on the course, measuring 207 yards from the Black Tees. Woods on the left claim anything that is pulled and a large pine tree on the right can wreak havoc with your tee shot. The hole plays slightly downhill, however if you come up short of the green, you’ll have an uphill chip shot. If you can master Timberline’s par 3s, you can score well! They are some of the tougher holes on the course.
Practice makes perfect and Timberline’s new TrackMan Driving Range is the perfect place to practice. Up until this year, the practice area at Timberline was one of the most comprehensive in the area. It featured an expansive hitting area with well-defined target greens, two practice chipping greens, multiple practice bunkers and a putting green. Recently Timberline unveiled their new TrackMan Range and it’s a comprehensive practice facility on steroids! There are two large Trackman monitors that sit about 50 yards behind the hitting area, one on each side and it can accommodate about 24 players at a time. Here’s how it works: Download the TrackMan Range app for either iPhone or Android before you arrive and open it up once you get there. Get your supply of golf balls in the pro shop and find your spot on the range. Hit a few balls, look at the app and select your bay based on the number of balls you’ve hit. Now you’re ready to have some fun! You can practice and track your performance with distinct parameters such as ball speed and carry distance or bring your friends and play entertaining games like Capture The Flag, Hit It, and Bulls Eye.
General Manager Joe Kruse has big plans for the new TrackMan Range. There is plenty of room behind the hitting bays for a number of tables and chairs and will function as a golf entertainment venue which can be rented out for corporate and private events.
For more formal instruction, Timberline is home to the Hank Johnson School of Golf and a member of the Golf Channel Academy network of instructors. Johnson and his team are some of the best instructors in the game, so whether you’re a beginner, weekend golfer, or an experienced tour professional, they can custom-tailor a program to suit your needs. Their students average over 10 strokes improvement every year.
Timberline Golf Club’s pro shop is stocked with many name brands including Ping, Calloway, Titleist, Foot Joy and Under Armour. Stock up on logoed golf polos and hats for both men and women as well as all of the golf accessories you’ll need on the course. Not sure what to get that special golfer in your life? Choose a Timberline Gift Card: they’ re good for just about anything at the club!
Timberline Golf Club has two dining areas, The Timberline Bar & Grill and Dining Room. Combined, the two offer a seating capacity of around 75. The Bar & Grill offers incredible views of the golf course and their two, 52-inch screens are great for watching your favorite sporting event. The food here is anything but ordinary – just try their chicken quesadillas or Southwestern egg rolls; they’ll go great with your favorite adult beverage. In case you didn’t get enough of the outdoors during your round, they have a covered patio, which also has a great view of the 18th green. The Dining Room features a cozy stone fireplace, rich wood paneling and spectacular views of the golf course and lake. There’s a large screen TV over the fireplace that usually carries the big games.
Looking for the perfect golf community to call home? Timberline Golf Club is part of the Timberline community, a 600-plus acre development that includes a community swimming pool. Lots range in size from half an acre to three quarters of an acre, some with beautiful views of the lush, rolling fairways and greens. Depending on the neighborhood, homes range from the $140’s to $700’s.
I have been blessed to play a lot of different courses across the US and if I were to consider settling down and joining one of them, Timberline would rank at the top of the list. As you can imagine, membership does have its benefits, such as 14-day advance tee times, unlimited use of the new TrackMan Driving Range and reduced greens fees for your guests, just to name a few. Timberline is a great place to entertain old friends and make some new ones. Better yet, they are currently offering several incentives to become a new member including gift cards and complimentary greens fees for your friends. Come out and experience for yourself why members and public players refer to Timberline as Birmingham’s Best Golf Experience. You can call them at (205) 341-9502 or visit them online at www.timberlinegc.com.