In bloom: Mobile's Azalea City Golf Course a terrific parkland muni
MOBILE, Ala. -- In case you didn't know, Mobile is nicknamed the "Azalea City." And the Azalea City runs a terrific municipal golf course, called, of all things, Azalea City Golf Course.
The course does its namesake town proud. The conditioning here rivals that of a resort, country club or even upscale semi-private course. The fairways are luscious and green, even after a warm winter; the greens are in impeccable shape. Even the tee boxes look good. Of course, there aren't any cart girls to sell you drinks or ball boys to wipe down your clubs, but what do you want for green fees this affordable?
What you get is a course the city has consistently improved since taking it over outright in 1991. The greens were renovated and enlarged in 1996, and the clubhouse, which already features a nice little outdoor patio, is getting a re-do.
The conditioning is especially impressive when you consider that this is a muni that caters to the masses, hosting about 55,000 rounds a year.
"This course gets a lot of play and it's still one of the nicest city courses," Mobile resident Ed Murphy said. "Of course, it gives me fits -- it's long and the greens are fast."
The greens can indeed be difficult. Most are elevated and drop off sharply on one, two or three sides. Many of them are crowned, and it can be a bear getting close to the hole at times.
"When those greens get fast, you can be above the hole and putt it off the green," Head Professional Colin McKern said. "From tee to green it's pretty user-friendly, but the greens will definitely give you a challenge."
The course is built on city parkland; its fairways wind through pretty strands of trees, and there virtually no homes or condos to intrude on the experience. The 10th is a particularly beautiful hole, a downhill par 4 that overlooks the park's lagoons.
Azalea City Golf Course: The verdict
The affordable green fees make Azalea City Golf Course a great bargain. It's is a very walkable course, despite some elevation changes. It has good length at 6,850 yards, and some of the par 4s are testy, notably the 423-yard fifth hole, the 459-yard ninth and the 421-yard closing hole. The 567-yard, par-5 15th is very tough to reach in two, especially with the wind in your face. The back nine is the better nine, with more elevation changes and more interesting holes, but overall Azalea City is a gem at this price.
April 25, 2006