FarmLinks at Pursell Farms
FARM LINKS AT PURSELL FARMS
By Jim Grosjean, Senior Staff Writer and Travel Editor, Golf Talk America Corporation
Countless golf courses claim to be one-of-a-kind, but few of those claims hold up to close inspection. Not so with Farm Links at Pursell Farms, which truly is the world’s only research and demonstration golf course. Designed by Hurdzan-Fry Environmental Golf Design and opened in 2003, Farm Links has been on the forefront in the development and presentation of many new turf grasses, fertilizers, course maintenance equipment and even golf carts. Since that time, thousands of golf course superintendents have travelled to Pursell Farms to observe the state-of-the-art in golf course agronomy and maintenance.
As you can imagine, with so many golf course professionals visiting year-round, it is imperative for Farm Links to be in pristine condition at all times. So it was during my short recent visit. The architects had the opportunity to place 18 holes anywhere on the 3,000 acre farm, so needless to say, there is no crowding here. The fairways may be the most generous I’ve ever played. You won’t have much problem hitting them, but it will still be important to place your tee shot on the correct side of the fairway when necessary. The greens are a different story; generally quite large, but with lots of speed to them. That 30 foot downhill lag putt will be a bear. My favorite holes were the par threes, especially number 5 with its 170 foot drop and number 17 with an all-carry tee shot over water. The monster 18th is 616 yards from the tips, a challenge for even the best players.
General Manager Keith Izydore explained that he would rather have guests shoot their life-low round here as opposed to being tortured by the golf course. I don’t think anyone would complain about that philosophy, especially when they are playing a course that is still beautiful, interesting and manicured to perfection. There is an onsite lodge to accommodate the professionals attending The Experience at Pursell Farms and last year new golf cottages and cabins were opened for other overnight groups. These are first class in every way, even including your own golf cart to get you around the property. Dining at Pursell Farms is a treat whether you’re having a sandwich at the turn or a quiet dinner overlooking the golf course. Chef Andrea Griffith is much celebrated in the Southeast, having opened the Greenbrier Sporting Club in West Virginia and Primland Resort in Virginia. Pursell Farms espouses the farm-to-table movement and to that end grows most of its vegetables in its own garden. The salad I had at dinner was exceptional for that reason.
Also on property is a five stand shooting clay station with guns and shells available to rent. Fish for largemouth bass and bream on three of the lakes on property by yourself from the bank or boat, or with a guide. Pursell Farms is known to have the “Rolls Royce” of quail hunting grounds. In addition, hunting is available for duck, turkey, and dove during their prospective seasons.
The Pursell family seems to have had a great vision for their farm and are bringing it to fruition. There will likely be further developments in the future worth noting. For now, they’ve got hunting, fishing, fine dining, first-class lodging and last but not least, Golfweek’s number 1 ranked public course in Alabama, a mere 45 miles south of Birmingham. Get all the information you need at www.pursellfarms.com