Shoal Creek Golf and Country Club
The Shoal Creek Golf and Country Club in Dunnavant Valley in Shelby County is a private golf club and residential community which was developed by Hall Thompson's Thompson Realty. It opened in 1977.
The Shoal Creek development includes approximately 250 half-acre to 5-acre home sites surrounding the course. Access to the community is controlled by a gated entrance on Dunnavant Valley Road (Shelby County Highway 41). Security guards patrol the community 24 hours a day. The Shoal Creek Architectural Committee reviews proposed home designs. Several small lakes are available to residents for fishing and non-motorized boating. The 31-stall Inanda Stables provides equestrian facilities for the community. Community association fees cover weekly garbage collection and helps support a "resident services" staff which provides lawn care and maintenance to residents.
The Shoal Creek Golf Club is an invitation-only private country club housed in a Williamsburg-styled clubhouse. All residents of the Shoal Creek gated community can join the club as "social members", which grants access to all club facilities except golfing. The clubhouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 8, 2022.
Shoal Creek's 18-hole course was designed by professional golfer Jack Nicklaus, who first visited the property at Thompson's invitation in December 1974. It plays at 7,264 yards with a par of 72. The course has been rated as the top golf course in the state. It was ranked No. 61 in Golf Digests "100 Greatest Golf Courses" in 2005, but has since fallen to No. 106 in their rankings. Likewise, it once ranked No. 66 in Golf Weeks Top 100 Modern Courses, but now does not appear among the publication's "Best Residential Courses."
Shoal Creek has played host to the (1984 and 1990 PGA Championships, and to the 1986 U.S. Amateur Championship. In addition it has hosted numerous qualifying events for the USGA and the Southern Golf Association. It was the site of the 1978 Southeastern Conference golf championship, the Jerry Pate Intercollegiate Tournament (1992-1996), the 1992 Women's Alabama Golf Association Junior Championship, and the 2001 Birmingham Golf Association Junior Championship. Since 1998 it has hosted its own Shoal Creek Senior Invitational, the 2016 NCAA Regional Tournament, and the 2018 U.S. Women's Open.
Until 1990, there were no African-American members of the Shoal Creek Country Club. Pressure from sponsors and activist groups prior to the 1990 PGA Championship led the club to invite Booker T. Washington Insurance Company president Louis Willie to accept an honorary membership just nine days before the tournament. The invitation went out despite Thompson's earlier statement to the Birmingham Post-Herald that "This is our home, and we pick and choose who we want. We have the right to associate or not associate with whomever we choose." The integration of Shoal Creek proved a watershed as the PGA required clubs to meet membership standards in order to host PGA-sponsored events. Many other private golf clubs around the country soon followed Shoal Creek's lead by accepting African-American members.
When advertising executive Ron Edwards paid the full equity membership fee in 1996 he became the first African American with a full membership. Former U. S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice joined Shoal Creek in 2009.
- "Pro Golf's new challenge: Shoal Creek" (Summer 1983) Sonat magazine. pp. 16-19
- Thompson, Ian (January 20, 2006) "Shoal Creek to Host U.S. Junior in 2008." The Birmingham News
- Thompson, Ian (April 9, 2006) "McLendon Pours Heart into Tourney." The Birmingham News
- Lieber, Jill (April 9, 2003) "Golf's Host Clubs Have Open-And-Shut Policies On Discrimination" USA Today
- Clay, Bobby (September 1996) "Breaking par against racism: beyond Shoal Creek - African Americans and white country clubs." Black Enterprise
- Hubbard, Russell (September 15, 2009) "Former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice joins Birmingham-area private golf clubs." The Birmingham News
- Thompson, Ian (May 1, 2017) "Lots of nice changes at re-vamped Shoal Creek." The Tuscaloosa News
- Shoal Creek website
- Shoal Creek Golf Club website