March 10, 2010

State of Alabama
Press Release: Lt. Governor Folsom (2007-11)

Lt. Gov. Folsom Featured in Trail Guide Magazine

OFF THE TRAIL

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Welcome to the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail! This beautiful Alabama attraction came about as the result of a great deal of vision, commitment, and old fashioned hard work.

Making projects of this magnitude a reality is something that I personally understand. You see, it was not long after I became governor of Alabama in 1993 that we had an opportunity to recruit Mercedes Benz to build its first North American manufacturing plant in Alabama. At that time, such a project was seen as a long shot and

the detractors and doubters were many.

Fortunately, dreams do come true, and Mercedes chose Alabama after one of the most energetic competitions in history. Landing Mercedes was the pivotal event in building what is now Alabama’s world renowned automobile industry. It brought positive national attention to a state long trapped in outdated perceptions. It also served as a catalyst for bringing in other auto companies, which now include Honda, Hyundai, and Toyota. I am proud to say that in 2007 the one-millionth automobile was manufactured in Alabama.

There’s a logical parallel between our endeavor to attract the automobile industry and the vision Dr. David G. Bronner had in building the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. Alabama had long been viewed as a pass-through state, a place visitors would see as they came to visit relatives or as they drove through on their way to Florida and other neighboring states.

So when Dr. Bronner proposed building a trail of golf courses to attract tourists and retirees, there were a lot of naysayers who thought his idea was also a bit too ambitious. The scope of the project—the largest construction project in the history of golf—and the idea that tourists would come to Alabama just to play golf, seemed pretty unlikely to many people.

Now, Alabama’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail is acclaimed as the best golf value in the entire nation, and two of the Trail courses, Grand National and Capitol Hill, were named the Number 1 and Number 2 public golf courses in the United States in 2008 by the readers of Golf World magazine.

Through RSA’s innovative and comprehensive advertising campaigns, many of those who previously knew little about our state saw television and newspaper ads about the Trail, RSA-owned hotels, state attractions and other positive aspects of Alabama. This effort has paid off exponentially for our state. Since the Trail’s inception, Alabama’s tourism industry has grown from $1.8 billion to $9.3 billion.

Those of us who know and love this state are proud of the many accolades received by the RTJ Golf Trail. Until the world saw the success of what had been done here in Alabama, few others dared think of using a golf trail as a tourism draw. Now, there are golf trails in many other states and Canada, but few compare with the original—and we feel the best—right here in Alabama.

Alabama has grown tremendously over the past decade as other states and countries recognize our rich natural resources, hard working people and wonderful quality of life. Companies from around the world continue to recognize the still untapped economic and tourism potential in Alabama. We are grateful for those who saw Alabama’s promise and potential and had the vision and courage to act upon that dream. For that, Alabama is a better state today.

The Honorable Jim Folsom Lieutenant Governor

THE TRAIL GUIDE 3



  • For more information, visit http://ltgov.alabama.gov
  • For more state-wide press releases, click here