David Bronner, CEO of the Retirement Systems of Alabama, Montgomery, joined the ranks of golf legends Tiger Woods, Lee Trevino, Nancy Lopez and others this month when Golf Digest magazine named him an “All-Star of Public Golf.”
The honor was given to Mr. Bronner for spearheading the “largest public golf project in history” — the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.
The investment of retirement system funds since the trail's inception has been about $150 million, an investment that returns about 4% to 6.5% annually, Mr. Bronner said in an interview.
Opened in 1992, the trail initially comprised four courses with a total of 216 holes, but it was expanded the following year with three additional courses featuring another 144 holes, according to the Encyclopedia of Alabama. The course has grown through the years to 26 courses, 468 holes and eight hotels and resorts.
“It was really an effort to change the image of Alabama,” Mr. Bronner said. “When we started it ... tourism (in Alabama) was about a $1.8 billion industry. Today it's about a $9.3 billion industry.”
Mr. Bronner has served as CEO of the now $25.7 billion systems since 1973. — Timothy Inklebarger