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Peninsula Golf Club - Lakes Nine Holes Review

Texas Outside Rating: 8.9

Golf - Public Course · 9 Holes · Par 36
Gulf Shores, AL
Website
Date Last Played: February 06, 2012

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Peninsula Golf Club - Lakes Nine Holes Review

Rated 4 stars by Golf Digest, Peninsula Golf Club is home to 27 incredible golf holes sitting on over 820 acres of pristine land.  Set along beautiful Mobile Bay and nestled beside the Bon Secour Wildlife Preserve the three nines wind throughout live oaks, some gnarly cypress with draping Spanish moss, and other natural vegetation native to Gulf Shores plus 30 lakes and some of the area’s largest white-sand bunkers and waste areas.  Each of the nines was designed by Earl Stone and the Marsh and Lakes opened in 1995 and Cypress Nine opened in 1999.  

Common to all three nines at Peninsula Golf Club are the excellent conditions, a fair value, great GPS, friendly service, a restaurant serving some tasty food, a well stocked pro shop, very good practice facilities, and three unique layouts that are fun for players of all skill levels.  Each nine has it's own unique personality and characteristics, for example:

  • Lakes Nine is the shortest of the nines and true to its name has water on all nine holes that can come into play plus plenty of dog legs left and right and it requires some precise target shots if you want to turn in a good score
  • Cypress is regarded as the easiest nine and it plays along the nature preserve with oak and cypress tree lined fairways and has a true resort course feel to it with more traditional and straightforward holes with ample fairways and flatter more friendly greens - see our review of Peninsula Golf Club's Cypress to learn more
  • Marsh Nine is the longest of the nines at 3575 yards and the hardest with lots of forced carries, some huge bunkers, water on eight holes, and marshes that can come into play - we hope to play and review the Marsh Nine later this month

The Lakes is the shortest of the nines at 2485 to 3451 yards but it's no walk in the park and the lakes, bunkers, dog legs, trees, and natural areas will force you to focus on your game.  And once you land on the greens, you'll need to apply some of your best putting skills to manage the slope, undulation, tiers, and ridges.  Another thing that makes this nine fun is that due to the variety and various yardages you'll get to use a wide selection of clubs and on some holes you may want to leave the big dog in the bag. 

Some of our favorite holes on this nine included:

  • #2 requires an accurate tee shot to avoid driving into the lake or having your approach shot blocked by a couple big sprawling trees on the left side and then you need to thread the needle down a narrow fairway that is pinched by a lake on each side to a green with lots of undulation and three good sized bunkers guarding it
  • there are a couple good risk reward opportunities that are fun - #3 a dog leg left that requires you to fly a wetland and #6 where you can try and fly more of the lake on the dog left but beware of the long natural sand waste area waiting for you
  • #7 is the signature hole at 530 yards with a view of the Bay, two lakes to avoid, and a tough approach to a green with three bunkers

The fairways are ample but if you miss them you're in a backyard, wet in a lake, or lost in the trees or wetlands.   Most of the fairways are flat with minor contour and some mounding that can cause uneven lies.  The rough/first cut was very playable and both the rough and fairways were well manicured and in excellent condition. 

The greens on the Lakes Nine at Peninsula Golf Club were also in very good condition.  They range in shape and size but most seem well above average size.  Some are raised, some have mounding or swales, and all have some pretty significant slope and undulation including tiers and ridges.  The Lakes' greens were very true, held the ball well, and rolled at a good speed of 10 or so. 

The bunkers have soft white fluffy sand and range in size from big to huge.  The good news is the bunker lips are short and you may get lucky and roll out plus most of the bunkers guarding the greens are set several yards from the fringe giving you more room if you miss your approach shot.  The 3 fairway bunkers seemed easy to avoid but there are several long and narrow natural sand areas with trees, palms, or brush scattered within them.

The slope and rating are based on playing the Lakes and Cypress nines together.  

The Lakes is a very fun nine that you will want to play again!  

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Gold 3,451 72.4 124
Blue 3,158 70.0 117
White 2,809 66.2 104
Red 2,485 69.6 121

Course Information

Course Architect:
Earl Stone
Greens Type:
Champion Bermuda
Greens Condition
9.5
Greens Difficulty
9.3
Fairway Condition
9.3
Bunker Condition
9.8
GPS:
Yes
Walkable:
Yes
Scorecard
Beware of water on 9 holes and the 20 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
8.9 out of 10
Beauty:
8.8
Difficulty:
8.3
Variety:
8.5
Fun to Play:
10.0
Value:
8.8
Condition:
9.3
Front Nine Rating:
8.9
Back Nine Rating:
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FEES & AMENITIES

Approximate Weekend
Rates:
$49.00 to $105.00

Service is excellent, the food is great, the pro shop is well stocked, and the practice facilities are good.

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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! 
Texas Outside rates courses on the following:

  • Beauty – tall trees, rolling hills, beautiful houses, waterfalls, and similar stuff would score high; a 1 would be flat, bushes or cactus instead of trees, and some grass but mostly weeds
  • Difficulty – a straight, 300 yard par 4 with no traps or hazards, no out of bounds or water would probably get a 1; if it is a 460 yard par 4 over two ravines, with water along one side, natural hazards on the other, strategically placed traps or that dreaded tree right in the middle of the fairway, we are talking a 10. 
  • Variety – what would you give a course where all the holes looked and played exactly the same (“I thought we just played that hole!”); were side-by-side, which is good for finding or dodging other people’s balls, but not much fun; and you can see the flag from every tee box?  That’s right, it gets a 1.
  • Fun Scale – a 10 is where you walk off the course and say “now that was fun” and you can’t wait to get back, or you immediately turn around and play another 18 holes
  • Value – a 5 is $50 to $60, a 10 is $20 to $30, and 1 is $200 or so – of course all of this is dependent upon how you liked the course.  For example, if a run down, boring municipal course, with six players on each hole was only $10; it would still get a value rating of 1.
  • Condition – this one’s pretty easy – what condition are the fairways. A 10 commands very lush perfectly manicured fairways, compared to a 1, which has fire ants, weeds, and more dirt than grass!
  • Condition of Greens and Difficulty – very hard to read greens with lots of undulation and tough pin placement, rate very high on the difficulty scale.  Condition is self-explanatory.  

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.