Golf in the Gulf

Great golf runs abundant in Alabama's Gulf Shores

Here’s my idea for you and your golfing pals. Forget your annual Myrtle Beach golf trip for one year, and give Gulf Shores a try, as there’s more than the superb Kiva Dunes to scratch your golfing itch. There’s a ton of golf within minutes of the beaches.

Craft Farms boasts 54 holes of first-rate golf built on 870 acres of old coastal wilderness. The land was formerly a gladiola nursery and then a sod farm—perfect ingredients to brew excellent golf. The Arnold Palmer-designed Cotton Creek championship 18 takes you through soft rolling hills, quiet lakes, with groves of pine, oak and cypress trees framing the pristine fairways. The tranquil surroundings are a magician’s sleight of hand, as your score creeps higher and higher as Mr. Palmer’s diabolical design continually teases you to cross water hazards that seem well within your capacities but aren’t. This is death by a thousand cuts—you don’t even know how bad you’re bleeding until you’re back sipping something cool in the roomy comfortable clubhouse. Throw away the scorecard, and enjoy the sweet Alabama air.

Craft Farm’s Cypress Bend, another Palmer layout, is a more forgiving 18 with fairways wider than a Disney World parking lot. That’s not to say there isn’t water and trouble on this Bay Hill clone, but Mr. Palmer has given you plenty of room for your hook or slice to do the voodoo that they do and still land in the short grass. The greens are slick and well-guarded, but you’ll get within hollering distance of your handicap.


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