Aerial view of golf course along Alabama's beaches

Five Challenging Holes on Gulf Shores Golf Courses

Golfers heading to the Alabama Gulf Coast should be prepared to experience the inherent beauty of its golf courses and get ready for some challenging experiences that will test even the best.

While Gulf Shores and Orange Beach have an eclectic blend of courses, ranging from links-style to traditional parkland, there is a collection of iconic holes that every standard of golfer will enjoy.

Let’s take a look at five holes on the Gulf Coast that epitomize everything there is to love about unique golf course design, along with a few tips on how to create the best strategy to overcome these holes without losing too many balls!

Golfer at Kiva Dunes in Gulf Shores, AL

7th Hole at Glenlakes Golf Club

Risk reward par 5 holes are always enticing prospects and there is no better example on the Gulf Coast than the 7th at Glenlakes Golf Club in Foley. At 521 yards from the black tees, an accurate tee-shot will leave you with a decision as to whether you want to hit your approach shot across water to an almost island green. 

A solitary tree close to the lake is another challenge that may prevent you from hitting the shot of a lifetime over the water, and you may have to revert to a layup before leaving a 100-yard shot into the green. Whether you opt to take the risk, or take the safe approach, this is a challenging hole regardless of your decision. Walk away from this hole with a par 5 and it will likely feel like a birdie for many!

17th Hole at Kiva Dunes

One of the best par 3 holes along this stretch of Alabama coastline is the breathtaking 17th at Kiva Dunes. When you think about iconic par 3’s around the world, the 17th at TPC Sawgrass likely springs to mind with the island green. While the 17th at Kiva Dunes isn’t quite as daunting given the space to the right, the fact that this is 200+ yards from the back tees creates a unique challenge, especially when the pin location is in the back left.

A safe approach will leave you bailing out to the right side of the green, while those that find their adrenaline pumping may dare to hit directly at the pin despite water lining the left side of the hole. This is certainly the ultimate “scorecard wrecker,” so leaving this green with a par is an accomplishment every golfer will be satisfied with.

8th Hole at Peninsula Golf & Racquet Club

Peninsula Golf Club is home to three distinctive courses, each with a collection of holes that offer unique challenges. One of the most challenging is the 8th hole at the Cypress course. A par 5 that measures over 600 yards from the back tees, this hole not only requires accuracy from the tee box but also on the second shot to ensure that you have the perfect angle to approach a difficult, undulating green protected by bunkers. 

Water hazards are on both sides of the fairway, so this is the ultimate three shot par 5 that requires your attention with each shot. Putting on this complex green makes a two putt a welcome reward and you will hopefully walk to the 9th tee with your scorecard still intact. 

Golfers at Craft Farms in Gulf Shores, AL

6th Hole at Craft Farms Golf Resort 

When the great Arnold Palmer designed the beautiful 36 holes at Craft Farms, he left his mark on almost every hole with the ultimate risk-reward experience evident on many of the designs. One of the highlights is the 6th hole at Cotton Creek – a short par 4 dogleg that has water along the right side of the fairway and on the approach to the green.

The more aggressive you are with your tee shot, the easier the second shot will be as you give yourself an opportunity for a birdie. Palmer’s influence on this course design is epitomized by the various features on the 6th hole. Whether you are a seasoned golfer or beginner, this hole reflects everything there is to love about both Craft Farms and the late Arnold Palmer!

2nd Hole at ONE CLUB Gulf Shores

The Gulf’s newest course, ONE CLUB offers nine unique holes that will test every standard of golfer. The 2nd hole is an eye-catching par 3 over water with a bailout area to the left. It’s critical that you select the correct club as this island style green has water short, right and over the back. 

Although the 2nd hole is relatively short, it has the potential to create havoc on your scorecard early in your round. While you cannot win a tournament on this hole, you can certainly lose it if you find the water.

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach have a plethora of aesthetically appealing golf courses. However, while the appearance of these courses creates an amazing experience for every standard of golfer, there are unique challenges all golfing abilities will enjoy.  

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