Playing that Perfect Trifecta on the Beaches
Gazing into the Gulf of Mexico from our luxurious 18th floor Turquois Place condominium, look left, look right and it is miles and miles of white sand beach as far as the eye can see. It was my first time to the Gulf Shores / Orange Beach area, the golf was excellent as anticipated, the seaside setting with fabulous restaurants and bars put the entire experience over the top.
The freshest of seafood options, flounder, grouper, red snapper and of course any style of oysters you could want. Steak lovers do not despair, you to will find as we did, some of the finest in the country.
Full disclosure although we played a trifecta of properties, but there was so much more, Craft Farms Golf Club is a 36-hole complex, Peninsula Golf & Racquet Club is a trifecta in itself with 27 holes with Kiva Dunes Resort having 18 holes. All three properties are relatively close to each other as they are to the many options you have for your golf vacation.
It didn’t take long for our group to get settled into Kiva Dues Resort. Of course, once checked into our condos here we are an elevator ride to the Pro Shop and the Kiva Grill where breakfast is awesome and opens up early in the mornings. Also, very convenient for a post round refreshment, lunch or dinner. Minutes from our units we found ourselves overlooking the Gulf of Mexico enjoying dinner at the Kiva Beach Club Restaurant. Margaritas and Chardonay flowed as we indulged into some lemon garlic oysters and a red snapper dinner with a sunset backdrop.
Take me to the beach! With its strategic and somewhat secluded location on a peninsula separating the Gulf of Mexico from Mobile Bay, from our condo perched above Kiva Dunes, 18th green we could see the coastal beaches. You won’t have to go to beach to get your share of beach time. This links course will give you plenty of that, if your game is not on. While white sand beaches are prevalent throughout, there are plenty of natural dunes and coastal shrubbery to make you want to stay on the fairways.
Not much more can be said about this course whose layout was created by the property’s developer Jim Edgemon and longtime friend, and US Open Winner Jerry Pate that is not captured within the accolades from, Golf Digest, Golf Pass, Golf Advisor, Golfweek and Links Magazine to name a few. Toping that list of accolades might be, #1 Course in Alabama in 2017 by Golf Advisor. With the Robert Trent Jones Trail running through Alabama, we all know how many great courses there are throughout the State.
Winds off the Bay’s add another dimension to your day here. As the locals will tell you, “No two days are the same.” We were rather fortunate on our day to have relatively no wind. Par 3’s offer up great variety with none more challenging than the all over water 17th. Other favorite holes include the Par 4th, 9th where a good drive leaves you a shot over water to a green, protected by water to the left. Seems to me that I am a sucker for water holes, number 2, might be my Par 5 of choice, 2 good shots leave you a wedge to a green protect by water right. Hole 18, although, the water that lines the right side of the fairway should not come into play, “takes you to the house!” Or in our case, our condo. You tee it up facing a large fairway with a backdrop of a majestic white structure that you to can call home.
Kiva Dunes: Gulf Shores Resort – Vacation Rentals, Golf & More
Before moving on, I would be remiss if I did not let you know about this must stop dining experience minutes from Kiva Dunes, on the Gulf Coast. Jesses Steakhouse on the Bay, known for there unique cuts of dry and wet-aged steaks, bone-in cuts, you should not overlook the fresh fish that is brought in daily or the amazing setting on the Bay. Home – Jesse’s Restaurant (jessesrestaurant.com)
We got our first glimpse of the Turquoise Place Condominiums from a few miles offshore, our own version of a 3-hour tour, cruising the Gulf of Mexico. A beautiful morning and something that everyone should do at least once! Little did we know the luxury and panoramic vistas that awaited. They offer up many choices of 3- & 4-bedroom units. Something for everyone.
Whether it’s morning coffee overlooking the gulf and afternoon cocktail or a late-night bourbon it seems like the balcony is always calling. The condos are extremely comfortable and you will want to nothing, beaches, pools and even a lazy river are on site. Location gives you so many options for dining and nightlife. Welcome to Turquoise Place Orange Beach, AL – Orange Beach Resorts (spectrumresorts.com)
The beach theme continues throughout this adventure with a dining experience minutes from our condo at Coastal Orange Beach a waterfront restaurant over looking white sands of the Gulf of Mexico. Seasonal seafood and indulgent deserts are specialties along with spectacular sunsets.
The Coastal Beach Bar adjacent features live music daily and any cocktail for any state of mind. Have enough to drink and you won’t resist picking up something in their 3,000 sq. ft. retail outlet Coastal Clothing.
This evening continued for us with a special treat, at least for me. I had heard of the infamous bar that straddled the Gulf Shores, Alabama and Florida border. The Flora-Bama Lounge is a beach bar that has been serving up music and good since 1964. No fewer than five stages for live music and features bands of country, rock, dance and beach music. You can relax in any of the areas and select the entertainment of your choice. Feeling a little peckish, you might also slide up to the Oyster bar or Ole River Grill. If you need a little away time the Flora-Bama has several beach-front bars where you might enjoy a beautiful sunset. FLORA-BAMA | WORLD FAMOUS BEACH BAR AND LIVE MUSIC (florabama.com)
The Peninsula Golf & Racquet Club is a trifecta of its own here in the Gulf Shores / Orange Beach area. Peninsula is the home to three different nines, Marsh, Lakes and Cypress. Rated 4 ½ stars by Golf Digest, each course was designed by the renowned southern favorite, Earl Stone, to give you a dramatically different playing experience on conditions second to none.
Up for us were the Cypress and Marsh nines. Cypress could be considered grip it and rip in style. Generous landing areas off the tee. A number of forced carries make tee selection extremely important for your day. Add in strategically placed bunkers, waste bunkers and water hazards and you find out why Peninsula is a world class experience.
The Marsh nine I would consider more of players course where accuracy and placement off the tee, club selection on second shots are make it, or break as the key to a good round. Although, the Lakes nine is another 9 here, you will find water in combination with marshes and some awesome golf course bridges on 8 of the nine holes. Gulf Shores Golf Club – Peninsula Golf & Racquet Club (peninsulagolfclub.com)
An option for Stay & Play Golf is the oceanside Perdido Beach Resort, although we did not this time around. It is a very popular spot and they were sold out while we were there. However, that did not preclude us from an exquisite dinner at Voyages with Executive Chef Brody Olive fresh off his earning the title “King of American Seafood” at the Great American Seafood Cook-Off Championship in New Orleans earlier this year. The combination of spectacular views, an award-winning wine list, local gulf caught seafood and dry aged steaks make Voyagers a unique culinary destination. Perdido Beach Resort | Home
If you are an Arnold Plamer design fan of which I am, then you are in for a real treat at Craft Farms with 2 4 ½ star Golf Digest rated courses. Both are modern links style courses and in typical Palmer style they offer challenge without intimidation. Semi-private tells you that the courses are maintained “to the tee” as their members would have it no other way.
Cypress Bend is a perfect complement to its big sister, Cotton Creek, this course has a coastal feel as it traverses a unique system of cord-grass accented lakes which come into play on nearly every hole. Cypress Bend offers wide fairways, vast landing areas and large undulating greens. For a guy who likes Palmer design and playing around water there is no shortage of favorite holes. The par 3’s offer up great variety but I tend to lean towards Par 5’s and the 18th with water down all down the right hand side crossing in front and to the left of the green makes it #1 for me.
The Cotton Creek course is a fun course to play with numerous risk/reward opportunities throughout.
Here you deal with more tree lined and rolling fairways and for water lovers do not despair as small lakes, ponds and rivers come into play on 14 of the 18 holes.
The lush course is challenging for low handicap players but with five staggered tee boxes, it is a fun challenge for all. Fun and challenge really comes into play on the Par 4, 6th, small lake down the entire right hand and forms in to surround the large undulating green, along with some protective bunkers. Bite off as much as you can chew for a short second shot. Maybe???
The Cotton Creek and Cypress Bend courses at Craft Farms are Alabama’s only Arnold Palmer Signature Design Courses. The courses are distinctly different, and both assure a challenging yet playable golf experience. Craft Farms Golf Course | Gulf Shores, AL | Arnold Palmer Design
The Gulf Shores / Orange Beach area of Alabama is an excellent destination whether for a golf vacation or any occasion at all. With the fresh Gulf Coast breezes and warm winter sunshine, Gulf Shores is the hidden jewel of the Gulf Coast. Enjoy nearby shopping, boating, beach, tourist attractions, deep sea fishing and, of course, golf! Experience Alabama’s Gulf Coast in Gulf Shores & Orange Beach, Alabama 2023
Looking for the one stop in booking all your Stay & Play Golf Vacation needs? 11 courses in all to choose from, numerous accommodation and custom-built Stay & Play to suite any style or budget. Coastal Alabama Golf – Custom Golf Packages in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama | Golf packages and trips in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama. Discounted golf, condos and hotel rates in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.