When you have a passion for something, it’s incredibly difficult to stop enjoying it, regardless of how often you actually get to experience it. That’s exactly how I feel about golf and although the frequency I get to the golf course is much less than when I played collegiate golf, I still want to embrace this experience. We recently started a brand new section on our website dedicated to sharing how golf and travel go hand in hand and what better place to start our features than by highlighting why golf in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama is a hidden golfing gem that should be on every golfer’s radar.
Golfing along the Gulf Coast of Alabama is the ultimate experience, regardless of your standard. Whether you are an aspiring professional as I once was or simply someone that loves to hit the links for the social aspect, the exhilaration of hitting that perfect shot is something that everyone can relate to. And what better place to do that than along Alabama’s Gulf Coast on a plethora of amazing courses.
Let’s take a look at where you should consider golfing during your next Gulf Shores and Orange Beach getaway. From the number one ranked course in the state of Alabama to a couple of golfing complexes that will make you want to play all day long, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach is a golfing paradise that every golfer will quickly fall in love with.
Golf in Gulf Shores – The Courses
Both Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are home to a number of awesome golf courses, all of which will challenge and intrigue every standard of golfer. Here is an updated list of courses at the time of publication, each of which will be covered in more detail below, highlighting why you should consider a round at each one during your next visit to the Gulf Coast.
- Kiva Dunes Golf Course
- Peninsula Golf and Racquet Club
- Craft Farms Golf Club
- Gulf Shores Golf Club
- Foley Golf Club
- GlenLakes Golf Club
- Orange Beach Golf Center
Kiva Dunes Golf Course
When you visit a golf course like Kiva Dunes and you hear about its reputation as being the number one course in Alabama and also the seventeenth best course in the nation as per Golf Advisor, you know you are visiting a pretty special place. I have been fortunate to play Kiva Dunes twice and each time was unique offering a distinctive challenge that makes me want to keep returning.
Perhaps the highlight at Kiva Dunes is the overall design in terms of the challenging layout combined with the pristine condition that this course is always in. It’s a real credit to the local green keepers that constantly keep this links in such amazing condition all year round.
One of the benefits of playing golf at any course in Gulf Shores is that the climate allows golf all year round. If you don’t mind the chillier conditions in winter months, you can enjoy courses in quality condition and Kiva Dunes certainly epitomizes this.
But it’s when the spring season comes around that this course really begins to flourish and golfers from all corners of the globe can head to the Gulf and enjoy this amazing design by former PGA Tour professional Jerry Pate and Jim “Scrappy” Edgemon. Each hole offers a distinctive look and challenge but if you plot your way around the course, there is definitely an opportunity to post a good score.
By the time you reach the 17th hole, even if you have a good scorecard in hand, this next hole can easily make or break your round. If you are familiar with iconic golfing holes around the world, think about the 17th at TPC Sawgrass and the island green. Although the 17th at Kiva Dunes isn’t quite an island as there is plenty of space to the right, the tee shot is incredibly daunting especially if you are playing from the back tees.
Golf has long been recognized as an “elitist” sport, primarily because of the cost associated with playing this, ranging from the price of clubs to the frequently high dollar green fees. The beauty of Kiva Dunes is that it can be a very affordable experience for every standard of golfer. Whether you have your own clubs with you or prefer to rent either Titleist or Nike branded clubs, your experience at Kiva Dunes will be catered for.
But perhaps the real reason why Kiva Dunes is affordable is because of the dynamic pricing which I LOVE and think that every golf course should implement. The demand for tee times determines the pricing. The quieter the course, the cheaper the fees will generally be.
Dynamic Pricing gives you the flexibility to choose the right day, at the right time, at the right price.
It’s a win-win situation for everyone because you can enjoy one of the best courses in the United States for a portion of the price it would cost to play one of the infamous courses that you may be considering playing.
815 Plantation Road,
Gulf Shores, AL 36542
Website: Kiva Dunes Golf
Peninsula Golf and Racquet Club
If you are looking to play a course in Gulf Shores that epitomizes everything there is to love about the area and the southern hospitality we love to associate with Alabama, look no further than Peninsula Golf and Racquet Club. Renowned as being one of the most enjoyable golf courses in the south-east by Golf Advisor, Peninsula boasts 27 holes of championship caliber quality.
The course offers a constantly changing variety of golf and visual appeal that is accentuated by its three distinctive nines… (peninsula Golf & Racquet Club)
For those of your more interested in the social aspect of golf, this course is the perfect place for you and a group of friends to hit the links and test your skills on one of the finest courses along the Gulf Coast. But if you take your golf a little more seriously, this course will challenge even the best golfers, with a number of challenging holes that require precise shots to have a chance at making a birdie on the undulating greens.
Peninsula is more about the overall experience though beyond the golf course. Sure, you will have a great time playing any of the 27 holes but there is so much more to experience at this “resort” style club. Head over to the tennis courts to test your skills before heading inside the recently renovated clubhouse to sample fine cuisine and a few drinks at the 19th hole.
20 Peninsula Blvd,
Gulf Shores, AL 36542
Website: Peninsula Golf and Racquet Club
Craft Farms Golf Club
Are you ready to visit a course designed by the King himself? That’s right, it’s not Elvis but it’s the “King of Golf”, Arnold Palmer. When Palmer first set foot in Gulf Shores, he immediately decided to design and build his signature courses at Craft Farms Golf Club.
Be enthralled by the quiet whisper of the wind through trees, the gentle murmur of Cotton Creek, and the rich smell of the earth. (Craft Farms Golf Club)
Visit Craft Farms Golf Club to sample 36 amazing holes, all of which were designed by Palmer himself. These are the only two courses in the state of Alabama that can lay claim to being designed by one of the greatest golfers to have played this game.
The two distinctive courses that visitors of all skill levels can enjoy are Cotton Creek and Cypress Bend. Both courses will test you but will also reward you when you hit quality shots. The immaculate condition is a real credit to those that take care of the links and definitely would make Palmer proud as he looks over this awesome golfing complex.
When Palmer designed Craft Farms, he likely realized that he was designing a real hidden gem, primarily because of it’s location along the Gulf Coast. Frequently left in the shadow of many of his other iconic designs, Craft Farms is a golfing haven that deserves to be on every golfers “must play” list…I know it’s certainly on mine!
3840 Cotton Creek Cir,
Gulf Shores, AL 36542
Website: Craft Farms Golf Club
Gulf Shores Golf Club
When you pull into the grounds at Gulf Shores Golf Club, you could be forgiven for thinking you are in New Orleans or similar location given the plantation style clubhouse that immediately captures your attention. Although this elegant and stylish clubhouse may intrigue you to head inside and enjoy the 19th hole experience before hitting the course, the moment you step on the first tee you will realize that the course is equally spectacular.
For the golf enthusiasts out there, you will be impressed to hear that Gulf Shores Golf Club is frequently ranked among the best in Alabama and with a history dating back to the 1960’s when the renowned father-son team of Jay and Carter Morrish designed this course, it’s no surprise that this historic venue is a popular spot for all golfers.
Squirrels, raccoons, and alligators are just a few of the typical residents. (Gulf Shores Golf Club)
A plethora of wildlife can be found residing around the course and with a number of water features, distinctive doglegs and strategic placement of bunkers, Gulf Shores Golf Club is certainly a rewarding experience for every standard that steps on to the first tee.
520 Clubhouse Dr,
Gulf Shores, AL 36542
Website: Gulf Shores Golf Club
Foley Golf Club
You may think that heading away from the Gulf Coast will leave you with less spectacular golf courses but just a short drive from Gulf Shores and Orange Beach is the town of Foley, home to Foley Golf Club. Also known as Gulf Links Golf Center, Foley GC is a relatively short yet challenging course.
With a par of 64, this short course is always in pristine condition and not only offers a great golf experience but also allows visitors to explore the gorgeous panoramic landscapes around the Foley area. An on-site driving range and practice putting green allows golfers the opportunity to practice before hitting their opening tee shot, hopefully down the middle of the fairway.
Regardless of how well you play at Foley GC, this is a unique experience unlike anything else along the Gulf Coast of Alabama. With an a plethora of short holes, you may think this is easy in comparison to some others in the region but don’t let the short yardage fool you…there are plenty of holes waiting to catch you out!
3901 S McKenzie St,
Foley, AL 36535
Website: Gulf Links Golf Center
GlenLakes Golf Club
Head over to GlenLakes Golf Club in Foley to enjoy 27 spectacular holes, offering one of the best tests of golf anywhere along the Gulf Coast. The gorgeous 18-hole Vista Dunes course is one of the best in Alabama and designed by locals Bruce Devlin and Robert Von Hagge.
Scottish Links design meets affordable resort-style golf at the GlenLakes Golf Club in Foley, Alabama. (Glenlakes Golf Club)
The adjoining 9-hole “Lakes” course may not have the length of it’s longer counterpart but it certainly lives up to expectations with a myriad of challenging, shorter holes. The fairways on this course may be generously wide but don’t let that fool you because on six of the nine holes, the infamous “water hazards” come into play, hence the reason for the name “Lakes Course”.
Discounted tee times are available throughout the day and for those willing to play later in the afternoon, there are always bargain tee times to be found making this an excellent and affordable golfing option.
9530 Clubhouse Dr,
Foley, AL 36535
Website: GlenLakes Golf Club
Orange Beach Golf Center
If you are looking to hit the range and fine tune your game, there is no better place than the tranquil setting at Orange Beach Golf Center. With 30 grass tees and 10 covered mat tees, there is plenty of space to accommodate everyone looking to improve their game.
Head over to the short game area with a practice putting green, bunker to perfect those sand shots and a practice chipping green to become an expert on the Phil Mickelson-esque flop shot!
Once you have perfected all the above, you will be ready to turn pro and hit the PGA Tour…Sound a little ambitious? Don’t worry, head over to the 9-hole course to see if all that practice is working and perhaps you will then be ready to head over to one of the aforementioned courses along the Gulf Coast to really test your skills.
4700 Easy St,
Orange Beach, AL 36561
Website: Orange Beach Golf Center
If you are an avid golfer, heading to the Gulf Coast to sample a myriad of amazing golf courses is something you will be raring to experience. But even if you don’t always carry your clubs everywhere you go, it’s fair to say that the Gulf Coast has an attractive collection of courses that will likely entice you to hit the links and test your game.
Kiva Dunes is undoubtedly the pièce de résistance when it comes to the best courses in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach but there is also quite a distinctive variety of alternative tracks that should attract your attention. Whether you prefer a links style or parkland course, there is something for every preference along the Gulf Coast.