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Looming AJC Article on Auburn just released...

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to be the No. 1 golf city in the country!

Read it carefully, otherwise you might miss a coupon offer at an Auburn eatery or golf course. :big:

ajc.com > Travel > Southeastern Destinations

Auburn means more than college football

Culture, golf round out Alabama city


Universal Press Syndicate

Published on: 07/26/06


Samford Hall, with its commanding clock tower, is the iconic building on the university campus.


Auburn, Ala. — Say Auburn, and everyone thinks football. Yet, would you believe, Auburn is rated as the No. 1 golf city in the country?

Golf Digest last year ranked Auburn and twin city Opelika as having the best in public golf in America among 330 metro areas. Having good playing weather, high-quality golf and eight courses within 15 minutes of downtown helped the two cities win the title.

Most renowned of the courses are the 54 holes at Grand National, part of the famed Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. Jones himself once declared the Grand National layout the best for golf he'd ever seen.

Of course, nothing matters more in Auburn than football, not even prime golf. With a stadium that seats more than 86,000 spectators and a passion that infuses the entire town, Auburn goes slightly mad on autumn football weekends. Auburn's population is about 51,000, of which about half are students.

"We go tailgating, bring sofas, have two or three televisions and do themes — like I guess we'll eat gator meat when we play Florida," says longtime resident Cindy Chancellor.

A huge orange paw print, symbol of the Auburn Tigers, covers the intersection of College and Magnolia (Toomer's Corner), the center of town. Before every home game, Auburn players parade to the field through a cheering phalanx of Tiger-rooters there. And if the team wins, delirious fans "roll" Toomer's Corner with toilet paper after the game.

"They roll everything that doesn't move — cars, trees, lampposts," Chancellor says. "The next morning it's white all over and they have to use pressure hoses to clean up."

On campus, the Lovelace Athletic Museum is a must for Auburn sports fans. Among Auburn University graduates featured in exhibits are Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson and Pat Sullivan, baseball's Frank Thomas and basketball's Charles Barkley. Downtown also honors Auburn sports stars with its Tiger Trail, a series of 26 granite blocks imbedded in sidewalks.

Also downtown, 107-year-old Toomer's Drugs is famed for its lemonade, made while you watch plump lemons being squeezed. Across the street, the Bodega Bar is a popular hangout for students, and there are more than a dozen restaurants on or just off College Street.

But the real hangout for Auburn fans is the War Eagle Supper Club. Open only on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, it recently expanded with a large outside deck to accommodate its hundreds of imbibers. The club also provides a shuttle van — nicknamed the Drunk Bus — to take home those who have had too much to drink.

No doubt about it, sports is big here. But it isn't the area's only attraction. Auburn University's Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art has an outstanding collection of works by American naturalist and painter James Audubon as well as a collection of post-World War II art by American artists that was originally amassed by the U.S. State Department.

In neighboring Opelika, buildings from the turn of the 20th century populate the downtown and the Northside Historic District. The city also stages a performing arts series.

A few miles south of Auburn, in Tuskegee, the legacy of two remarkable black educators is showcased at Tuskegee University. Booker T. Washington, founder of the school in 1881, won national acclaim for his work. It was he who in 1897 persuaded George Washington Carver to come to Tuskegee.

At Tuskegee, Carver developed crop rotation and more than 300 uses for peanuts, including peanut butter. He also created hundreds of industrial products made from soybeans and other crops, including cosmetics and paints. Exhibits and samples of these products are on view at the George Washington Carver Museum on the Tuskegee campus.

Also near Auburn is the tiny settlement of Loachapoka, a historic district known for its Syrup-Sopping Festival — this year Oct. 28 — which is expected to draw more than 15,000 people www.soppin.org/syrup/index.html

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All that talk and no mention of Pin Oaks, home of the finest red clay fairways in the south?! Had many a fine golf game out there...

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