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Ross Bridge, Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail

Mark Fagan, Professor Emeritus, Jacksonville State University
Ross Bridge Resort & Spa
Ross Bridge is an 18-hole course that opened in Hoover, Jefferson County, in April 2005 as the eleventh site on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail (The Trail). It was developed by the Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA) and is operated by SunBelt Golf. This course is located two miles from the 54-hole Oxmoor Valley site on The Trail, and both sites are served by the Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa.
This 310-acre golf course opened as the fourth longest course in the world and is considered by many golf writers to be the "crown jewel" of The Trail. A notable feature is the 800-foot cascading waterfall between the 9th and 18th greens connecting two lakes, and it has a state-of-the-art practice facility. The course was designed to host major golf tournaments, so there are hillside viewing areas for multiple holes and pathways back to the centralized clubhouse every three or four holes to accommodate ease of movement for spectators. The Regions Charity Classic (PGA Champions Tour) was hosted there from 2006 through 2010, attracting more than 100,000 visitors each year and worldwide television coverage.
In 1990, RSA partnered with U.S. Steel Realty (USS) to develop the Oxmoor Valley Trail site and with Daniel Corporation in 1998 to develop housing for seniors in Birmingham and Huntsville, Madison County. In 2002, RSA chief executive officer David G. Bronner invited USS to partner with RSA, Daniel Corporation, and the city of Hoover for a high-end golf course, luxury hotel, and upscale residential development near the small community of Shannon. The partnership resulted in USS donating 328 acres to RSA for the golf course and hotel complex and 87 acres to the city of Hoover for a 3.7-mile parkway and park space, elementary school, performing arts center, and fire station. USS reserved 120 acres for a high school. Hoover financed the conference center and leased it to RSA, and Daniel Corporation began developing housing on the adjoining acres in 2003.
Ross Bridge Resort & Spa
The Marriott Renaissance resort hosts a six-story, 270-room hotel built in the style of the Fairmont Banff Springs Resort in Alberta, Canada. It includes a 14,000-square-foot conference center, a 12,000-square-foot spa, golf shop, pool complex, indoor pool and fitness center, two restaurants, a sports bar, and tennis courts. The resort is managed by PCH Resorts.
RSA financing for this complex cemented partnerships with corporations and local governments and spurred the subsequent residential and commercial development. The residential component was approved for 1,778 single-family and 600 multi-family homes set among 13 neighborhoods with a range of home styles and prices. The majority have been constructed, along with a retail center, 200 acres of parks with lakes, five miles of walking trails, streams, and swimming pools. Construction of the hotel, golf course, and housing and the spending by residents and visitors has significantly increased employment and revenue in Jefferson County and its municipalities.

Additional Resources

Fagan, Mark. The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail: Its History and Economic Impact. Montgomery, Ala.: NewSouth Books, 2016.
Published:  January 14, 2021   |   Last updated:  January 19, 2021