When I first drove on the property at Cumberland Lake Golf Course, I felt comfortable. Sometimes a course just feels right to me, and this was one of those courses. I was there to map the course for GolfBuddy, so I had time to look it over carefully. By the time I finished the survey, I felt like I'd found a worthy addition to Hidden Fairways.
The second time I visited... to photograph the course... I was actually a bit nervous. What if I didn't like the course the second time around? What if course maintenance had gone downhill? I'd already extended an invitation to the staff for Cumberland Lake to be a Hidden Fairways course, but if it didn't stack up on visit number 2, I would have to withdraw that invitation. Yikes! Thankfully, if anything, the course impressed me more the second time around. Cumberland Lake Golf Course is well worth a visit, especially if you live in the Birmingham area or a bit north. In fact, if I lived there, I would be a regular visitor.
FREE GOLF AT CUMBERLAND LAKE!
Become a registered member of Hidden Fairways and there's free golf at Cumberland Lake. Just pay for one green fee and a second is FREE! Cart fee is required, but hey, you were probably going to ride anyway, right?
Seniors (60+) play for just $25, Monday thru Thursday, and you don't even need a coupon! Just show up and enjoy one of Alabama's Hidden Fairways!
Cumberland Lake Golf Course was designed by Bill Amick in 1968. The story goes that Amick believes “every golfer should leave the 18th green smiling” and I think he's provided just such a course at Cumberland Lake. His design was altered only slightly in 1996, when local architect Jeff Pate did some upgrades, including clearing some trees and leveling some fairways. Cumberland Lake is not long... just 6843 yards from the back tees... but it's very well laid out with plenty of scenic views as well as some challenging, beautiful holes. As you begin play on the front side, the course is fairly flat, but once you hit the 7th hole, its teeth begin to show. The back nine has some very challenging holes with significant elevation changes and greens that are well protected by virtue of closeness to woods, severe drop-offs and some well-placed bunkers. The 18th is a beauty of a risk/reward hole, wrapping around the 65 acre Cumberland Lake on its way back to the clubhouse. Place your ball a little too far to the left and you'd better be a bomber. Since it's a par 4, the tendency is to bite off a bit more than may be wise.
I am particularly impressed with the work of Superintendent Jason Parker. 2009-2010 has been an awful year, weather-wise, for golf courses. A very severe Winter was followed by an extremely brief Spring and a hellish Summer. Every course superintendent in the South has been seriously challenged this year, and even some very high end private clubs have gone so far as closing their courses for 8 to 10 weeks to allow the greens to recover! Jason, though, has kept his course in excellent condition on a minimal budget. That kind of exceptional care is a large part of what qualifies Cumberland Lake as a Hidden Fairway. A few greens showed some stress this summer, but nothing like some very expensive private clubs I've visited. I'm confident that you'll leave Cumberland Lake Golf Course with a smile, just as architect Bill Amick intended.