July 29, 2012
As the son of an avid golfer, there was never any doubt about our vacations. We were going to play golf. My dad and I always made sure to play a few courses in the areas we visited, particularly when we made our annual beach trips. We still make our annual beach trip (and for the past 15 years another annual beach excursion with my wife's family), but the golf has waned in recent years. It's mainly because I wanted to spend more time with my 8-year-old and 6-year-old on the beach, and began focusing on that more than golf. But this summer, I decided it was time to rediscover vacation golf. As it turns out, I picked a good place for it. We stayed in Perdido Key, Fla., which is conveniently located near nine top courses (with 189 total holes). Promoted by the Gulf Shores Golf Association — check them out at http://www.golf.gulfshores.com — the area courses are all within a 45-minute drive of the popular Gulf Shores and Orange Beach vacation destinations. I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of courses in the area, ranging from scenic coastline courses to wetland and wildlife preserves to links-style tracks with rolling hills. I'd highly recommend vacationing in that area of the gulf coast, and using it as a destination for golf outings. It's a short drive from Gwinnett (six hours or less), with access to great beaches, restaurants, nightlife and golf. Here's a quick look at the Gulf Shores area courses:
• Craft Farms Located in Gulf Shores, the Arnold Palmer design features a pair of 18-hole courses, Cotton Creek and Cypress Bend.
• Glenlakes Golf Club Foley, Ala., is known for its outlet shopping, but it also has a top-notch golf course nearby.
• Gulf Shores Golf Club Built in the 1960s, don't forget the first golf course built in the Gulf Shores area.
• Kiva Dunes Golf Club The Jerry Pate design in Gulf Shores has gained its share of national acclaim, having been ranked as the No. 60 golf resort nationwide by Golf Digest, as well as the top golf course in Alabama.
• Lost Key Golf Club Just down the road in Perdido Key, Fla., Lost Key is tight and challenging.
• Peninsula Golf and Racquet Club Just down the road from Kiva Dunes, Peninsula also skirts Mobile Bay.
• Rock Creek Golf Club Rock Creek is an impressive, challenging course in nearby Fairhope, Ala.
• Timber Creek Golf Club On the eastern shore of Mobile Bay, the Daphne, Ala., offers 27 scenic holes.