Photo |  Submitted

The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Magnolia Grove will host the men and women’s golf championship of the Gulf South Conference in 2019.

The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Magnolia Grove has been selected to host the men and women’s golf championship of the Gulf South Conference (GSC) next year. The 54-hole event, which is being presented by the Mobile Sports Authority, will be played April 14-16.

Magnolia Grove will be hosting the GSC championships for the first time in conference history. The league also plans to utilize player-inputted hole-by-hole scoring to improve the spectator experience.

“We are so pleased to partner with Magnolia Grove and the Mobile Sports Authority to provide our student-athletes with a first-class site for the GSC Championship,” league Commissioner Matt Wilson said.

The facility, located in West Mobile off Moffett Road, is part of a massive system operated by Retirement Systems of Alabama. Started in the 1980s, the trail now includes 468 holes at 26 courses located in 11 sites.

Readers of Golf World Magazine have named Magnolia Grove one of the “Top 50 Public Courses.” The Crossings and Falls courses are also listed in Golf Digest’s “Places to Play” as two of the nation’s great value courses and as “America’s Top 50 Affordable Courses.”

“Alabama’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail and Magnolia Grove are excited to host the 2019 Men and Women’s Golf Championships,” said Paul Martino, director of golf at Magnolia Grove. “The Crossings and Falls courses will be a great test of golf for these great young players and a great setting for their championship.”

Local golf fans are familiar with the Crossings course, which has hosted LPGA Tour events and is known for it open parkland setting. During recent makeovers, several water features and crushed oyster shell waste areas have been added.

The renovated Falls course reopened in 2010. It is the only par-71 course on the trail. The course is characterized by large, contoured Mini Verde greens — which have a deep root system that stands up well in dry conditions and grows quickly — and massive cloverleaf bunkers.

The Mobile Sports Authority is a nonprofit formed in 2008 by Mobile’s County Commission. The authority’s main objective is to create a positive economic and public relations impact for Mobile County, the city of Mobile and the region through recruiting, hosting, managing and supporting sporting events that attract visitors. 

“The Mobile Sports Authority is very excited to be hosting for the first time in Mobile the 2019 Gulf South Conference Men and Women’s Golf Championships at Magnolia Grove Golf Club,” said Danny Corte, executive director of the Mobile Sports Authority. “We want to thank the GSC for giving us the opportunity to host one of their prestigious events and we look forward to seeing all the student-athletes, families and fans in Mobile this spring.”

The GSC is a charter NCAA Division II member. Hoping to compete for the golf title will be the Spring Hill College women’s team. The men’s team will battle for honors in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, which does not sponsor women’s golf.

Baldwin County course honored

Kiva Dunes Golf Course opened on the Fort Morgan peninsula in 1995. U.S. Open champion and University of Alabama golfer Jerry Pate designed the original course, which was upgraded in 2015 to add Bermuda TifEagle grass for the greens. The course has hosted many of the state’s premier events along with two PGA Tour qualifiers.

In 2017, the 7,100-yard-long course was cited as one of the Top 100 Golf Resorts by Golf Week magazine. The honors have continued in 2018, as Golf Advisor has rated it the state’s top public course.

The recognition from Golf Advisor takes into consideration everything from architecture to course layout to staff friendliness. The rankings came from more than 150,000 reviews by private and professional golfers. One reviewer on Golf Advisor said, “Kiva is a hidden gem … you could play there every day and it never gets old!”

Sports briefs

• Jon Campbell, the women’s volleyball coach at the University of Mobile, hit a milestone this season by claiming his 500th career victory. Campbell took over the Rams in 2005 following stops at Cumberland College and North Greenville College. A six-time conference coach of the year, he has directed the Rams to six NAIA National Tournaments. This year’s squad finished 23-13, giving him an all-time record of 503-223.

A tribute written by Amber Campbell, his wife and assistant coach, can be found at

• University of South Alabama (USA) sophomore cross country runners Andonet Cheruiyot and Warno Potgieter earned all-league honors at the Sun Belt Conference Championships held at the Brookley Field Golf Course. Cheruiyot finished less than four seconds behind Texas State’s Leslie Romero with a time of 17:26.36 to place second and pick up first-team all-SBC in the women’s 5K race. Potgieter placed sixth and earned second-team honors in the men’s 8K course with a time of 25:06.13.

• USA’s Brenna McPartlan was voted SBC Women’s Soccer Freshman of the Year. McPartlan and senior Hannah Godfrey were named to the first-team all-SBC unit, while sophomore Anita Ágústsdóttir earned second-team recognition. McPartlan paced the Jaguars in goals, assists and points as well as shots and shots on goal. Godfrey led a defense that compiled six shutouts and posted a goals-against average in league games of 0.57, second best in the conference. Ágústsdóttir played the third-most minutes among USA outfield players.

• Following the SBC women’s soccer playoffs, USA junior Briana Morris was voted to the all-tournament team. She recorded a goal and three assists in two games as the Jaguars reached the semifinals before falling in a shootout to top-seeded Texas State. Morris finished the season with three goals (tied for third on the team) and nine points (second).