Review and Rating of Craft Farms Golf Resort Cypress Bend Course in Gulf Shores Alabama
In 1987, R.C. Craft - a self-made man with a turf farm - convinced Arnold Palmer - a self-made mega famous golf tycoon - to build a golf course on a flat sod farm in the middle of nowhere and shortly thereafter Craft Farms' Cotton Creek Golf Course opened for play. In, fact, Craft Farms is essentially how Gulf Shores originally became known as a great golf destination.
In 1993 the front nine of Cypress Bend opened for play with the back nines opening in 1998. Since it's opening Craft Farms has received a number of awards and accolades, some of which include:
Each of the Arnold Palmer signature courses at Craft Farms has its own unique personality and characteristics but common to both are lush conditions, immaculate greens, a fantastic plantation style clubhouse with a great restaurant and well stocked pro shop, and first class service. The differences between the two courses include:
Some of what makes playing Cypress Bend fun, scenic, somewhat challenging, and enjoyable includes:
The wide forgiving fairways make Cypress Bend feel like a links style course. In fact, Arnold must have moved a lot of dirt and sand to create the raised greens and tall sweeping mounds/dunes that line most of the fairways, and to sculpt the rolling contoured fairways that at times seem like a small roller coaster ride. When we played Cypress Bend the fairways were in perfect condition as were the playable roughs. The contrast of the three colors of green from the fairways, greens, fringe, and rough coupled with the white sand bunkers is awe inspiring - particularly after playing the record heat and drought starved brownish fairways in Texas.
The greens at Craft Farms Cypress Bend Course were also in near perfect condition and most are huge and a variety of different shapes. They were soft and ran true and were rolling at a good speed. Most had some slope and undulation including tiers but nothing that was tough enough to cause a lot of three putts.
The white sand bunkers range in size and shape with most on the large side. The sand is soft, fluffy, and thick and lips are manageable. But there are a lot of them in both the fairways and guarding the greens.
Craft Farms is currently owned and operated by Honours Golf Company which is the leading boutique golf course and club management company in the Southeast with a portfolio of excellent courses and a reputation for excellent conditions and service.
Rates: $49.00 to $89.00
The Clubhouse and Pro Shop has a southern plantation look and feel, the pro shop is well stocked, and the restaurant has some very tasty food. Practice facilities are very good and service is excellent - friendly and outgoing
Here's How Texas Outside Determines the Scorecard Rating
The Texas Outside rating scale ranges from 1 to 10 – a perfect 10 course would be something like this: links along a cliff overlooking the Pacific ocean and bordered by tall trees; lush fairways on rolling hills with lots of natural hazards; water (which is crystal clear) on most of the holes; immaculate greens (but they are undulating and tough); lots of variety and character (each hole is completely different and includes blind shots, elevation changes, doglegs, and significant challenges); perfectly manicured traps with the whitest and prettiest sand you’ve ever seen; a nice club house with great food and a 19th hole; a GPS; plenty of beverage carts or your own cooler and ice; and it only costs $40 bucks! What this means is that you probably won’t find any 10s in Texas – try Cabo San Lucas, Pebble Beach, or some of the Hawaii courses!
All of the above determines the overall score for the golf course. In other words, we like courses that are pretty, fun, very challenging with a lot of variety, and fairways and greens in excellent condition – all for $40. We also tend to play the courses that are affordable for the masses, which means in the $30 to $80 range. We rate hard and we haven’t found a 10 in Texas yet – don’t worry we haven’t given up and we’re still looking.