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Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail parties all day Wednesday celebrating 10,000,000th round (video)
No. 10,000,000? A golfer takes advantage of Wednesday's nice weather to get in a round of golf on the Crossings Course at Magnolia Grove, one of the stops along the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail that celebrated its 10 millionth round of play at each of the 11 sites on Wednesday. (Mike Kittrell/mkittrell@al.com)
Magnolia Grove's Paul Martino discusses the success of the course and the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, in Mobile, Ala. (Mike Kittrell/mkittrell@al.com)
- The number is somewhat mind-boggling. To write it out - 10,000,000 - is to see a lot of zeroes, but those zeroes are lined up behind a one in a long line.

The , an idea that was scoffed at by some when it was originally introduced, has proven to be a success story many times over. As a matter of fact, 10,000,000 times.

The RTJ Golf Trail, the brainchild and Retirement Systems of Alabama CEO , has proven a huge success, not only in terms of golf and golf facilities, but also in creating tourism revenue for the state. On Wednesday, RTJ Golf Trail officials celebrated the 10 millionth round of golf played on the Trail with specials at most of its courses.

The Trail stretches across the state. The stops include:Florence/Muscle Shoals (Shoals), Huntsville (Hampton Cove), Anniston/Gadsden (Silver Lakes), Birmingham (Oxmoor Valley), Hoover (Ross Bridge), Auburn/Opelika (Grand National), Prattville (Capitol Hill), Greenville (Cambrian Ridge), Dothan (Highland Oaks), Mobile (Magnolia Grove) and Point Clear (Lakewood Golf Club/Grand Hotel).

The special? Those who played a round a golf at any of the Trail's courses on Wednesday received a voucher for a free round of golf, including cart fee, to be played at a later date (at any of the sites with the exception of Ross Bridge and Lakewood).

All in all, it was a special day, , the director of golf at Mobile's stop of the RTJ Golf Trail, Magnolia Grove.

"It's amazing,'' Martino said when asked to consider 10,000,000 rounds of golf played on the Trail. "We've been here 21 years and 10 million customers, that's kind of crazy to fathom the impact the Trail has had on the state of Alabama. Pretty amazing.

"When you've been with the Trail as long as I have and you've touched as many lives and met as many great folks, it's unbelievable. It's an amazing impact the Trail has had on the state of Alabama. When you tell people today is the 10 millionth customer on the Trail they say, 'Wow, that's pretty amazing.' But it's just rewarding to know that you're connected with such a great company and such a great idea. It's a rewarding job and it's great to be on the Trail.''

Magnolia Grove features three 18-hole courses - two 18-hole championship courses in the Crossings and Falls and an 18-hole Short Course, a par-3 course that in the past as been rated as the best par-3 course in the country.

The Crossings Course is the site of the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic in the spring and numerous tournaments are held at the facility located between Moffett Road and Schillinger Road each year.

"It's always rewarding where a customer is coming from somewhere and you're very proud of the tradition and heritage and difficulty and skill level of your golf course, especially when you're rated as some of the best public golf on earth. It's very rewarding,'' Martino said. "It make you very proud.

"The Short Course being ranked as the No. 1 in the nation several years, it's a great draw. We're very proud that we have one of the most incredible par-3 golf courses in the country. Having an LPGA event here is a lot of fun. It brings the community together and it not only showcases the City of Mobile, but the State of Alabama all across the world.''

John Cannon, president of the RTJ Golf Trail, said, "Instead of just honoring one person as our 10 millionth visitor, we are celebrating across the Trail and every golfer on Oct. 23 is part of the celebration. Our golfers - local, regional, national and international - have been very loyal to the RTJ Golf Trail and this is a way of saying thank you while celebrating this significant milestone.''

Martino echoed Cannon's thoughts.

"Today is more about a thank you for supporting the Trail for 21 years,'' Martino said, "and 10 million people supporting the Trail. It's just kind of our way of saying, 'Hey, thanks for supporting us and we appreciate it and we want you to come back.'''

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