Terri Pines – Alabama’s Best Kept Golf Secret


I recently had the opportunity to visit Terri Pines and play the course with Barry McGriff, whose family built and owns the course. As we played our way around the course, Barry gave me some of the history of the course and shared some interesting stories.

It was Barry’s father Bert McGriff, who originally bought the land and built the course back in the early 1980s. I had the opportunity to meet Bert and he struck me as a man who doesn’t half-do things. With Barry, the apple doesn’t fall too far from the family tree, and owning and managing a golf course wasn’t going to be any different.

Back in the 1980s, the nearby Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail had just opened and Bert decided to contact Jones about building his new course. Unfortunately, RTJ wanted an unseemly amount of money just to sit down and discuss the matter and Bert would not bite. Instead, he was put in contact with Tom Jackson who had spent his early years in golf design under the tutelage of Robert Trent Jones. A deal was struck with Jackson and Carter Golf Construction – builders of many of the RTJ Trail courses – was contracted to do the actual shaping and construction. Seeing the finished product for myself, I can honestly say that Jackson and Carter have created a masterpiece!

Terri Pines is named after one of Bert’s daughters. As Barry tells it, they were in a hurry to get a name for the course for registration purposes. With all of the pine trees on the property, it was pretty much a given that “Pine” would be in the name. In an effort to give the course a sense of family, Bert thought using one of the kids’ names might be a good idea. As Barry tells it “Barry Pines just didn’t have the right ring to it, nor did Jeff Pines (Barry’s brother). Cherri –Barry’s other sister – was an option but they opted for Terri Pines.”

Pines is the operative word on the golf course as pine trees are scattered throughout the property and come into play on just about every hole. The club sits perched atop the highest point in the county, providing beautiful vistas along with some of Alabama’s best golf. Terri Pin is known for its meticulously-maintained fairways and bent grass greens with many elevation changes that will challenge every level of golfer.

Terri Pines is located in Cullman, AL, a mere 45-minute drive from either Birmingham or Huntsville. It’s the best-kept golf secret in Cullman County and definitely worth the drive. Whether you are just learning or live for the game, Terri Pines is a course that can be enjoyed by all. From the back tees, the course plays 6,451 yards with a course rating of 70.6 and a slope of 134. This may sound long for many golfers but for a club that is trying to gain attention and attract some minor pro tournaments, 6.451 comes up just a tad short. To host a pro tournament, the course must play closer to 6,500 yards.  Terri Pines was determined to reach that 6,500-yard mark so a couple of holes were lengthened, most notably the 18th. Under the direction of McGriff, then Director of Golf John Hunt, and Golf Course Superintendent Benny Bohanon, a manmade island and bridge were built in the pond behind the 18th tee box, stretching the finishing hole from 503 to 544 yards. These alterations go a long way in making the hole more challenging, not that it was a pushover before by any stretch of the imagination. This new tee box brings the water that crosses the fairway into play for a lot more players. Longball hitters will need to be careful of the tee while the rest of us need to be cautious with our layups. Unless you plan to get on the green in two, you’ll be facing a steep uphill approach shot to a fairly small green. Par is a respectable score to end your round.

Number 7 is another interesting hole and the course’s #1 handicap. It plays 350 yards and for most players, takes driver out of your hand off the tee. That’s because there’s a large hill – aka falloff, aka cliff – about 220 yards out, just past the dogleg left. Hit it too far and you’ll either not find your ball or be in the water, which is essentially losing a ball! Trees on either side of the fairway place a premium on accuracy. A good tee shot will leave a mid to long iron downhill into a wide, shallow green with a large pond in front. Finish the hole with the same ball and you’ve probably scored well!.

Terrie Pines has some of the best practice facilities around, in fact, it’s not unusual to see several players on the range doing nothing but practicing. TP’s practice facilities include a 25 bay full-length driving range, a practice putting green, and a chipping green. You can work on all facets of your game.

Once you’ve worked up a good appetite on the course, stop by The Grille or relax on the patio with your favorite refreshments and enjoy some delicious home cooking. The Grille doesn’t serve up your typical clubhouse food. While they do serve up some of the best burgers and sandwiches in Cullman County, they also have some unique dishes like Bert’s Shrimp, spicy, batter-dipped shrimp served over a bed of Asian salad. At 5 pm the Dinner Menu kicks in on Thursday and Friday nights, and changes often so you’ll want to keep coming back. Whatever menu item you choose, you’re sure to be satisfied and not leave hungry. The friendly and highly competent staff will see to it!

Terri Pines’ Golf Shop is a great place to stock up on some logoed golf apparel, hats, and golf balls as well as any accessories you’ll need such as gloves, shoes, and balls. They offer a full line of current merchandise and supplies as well as club cleaning and club repair. Lockers are available for a small annual fee. Whether you’re new to the game or looking to fine-tune it, clinics and private lessons are available year-round and can be scheduled by calling the pro shop.

Becoming a member of a club means different things to different people. For some members, it’s a round of golf for casual or business purposes, for others it’s a swim in the pool or a set of tennis. Regardless of what your preferences are, Terri Pines has something for everyone, young and old, singles and families. Regular Club members are entitled to everything Terri Pines has to offer with no greens fees – just a nominal cart fee. Social members have access to everything, with a one-round a month limit on golf. Junior I and Junior II memberships afford Juniors 21 – 29 (I) and 30 – 35 (II) all the same privileges of a Regular Membership, as do senior members age 65 – 75 and their spouses. If you’re at least 76 years of age and still playing golf, you not only deserve my highest praise, Terri Pines will give you a special membership rate! As a Club House Member, you have full use of the Club’s dining area and the 19th hole.

You don’t have to live in Cullman County to be a member of the Terri Pines. As a Non-Resident or Out of State Member, you’ll have full access to all Club amenities. All dues are billed annually and all memberships require a small initiation fee. As a member of Terri Pines, you’re automatically a member of the County Club Network, allowing you to play at five other private clubs once per month with no green fees. Terri Pines members are also eligible to play in the club’s full schedule of tournaments and outings, whether it’s for the fun of it or the thrill of competition.

If you’re considering a membership at Terri Pines, stop by for a tour and a FREE round of golf. You can call General Manager Mat Livengood at 256-739-0720 or visit them online at www.tpcountryclub.com. Be sure to ask about their current promotion.

David Theoret

David Theoret has been in the golf and golf travel industry for over 12 years, primarily selling online advertising. For the past seven years, he has also been a golf writer, reviewing golf courses, resorts, destinations, equipment, golf apparel, and training aids – the latter of which never seems to help. What started as a dream years ago, by God’s grace, became a reality in 2015 when The Golfin’ Guy editorial marketing company was founded. Working together with golf course designer Ron Garl; David’s articles and reviews have been posted on many golf travel, equipment, and apparel websites.

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