Golf - Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
Gulf Shores, AL
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 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:
Unlike Cypress Bend's wide open and forgiving fairways, Cotton Creek has tighter, more traditional, tree lined fairways where if you miss the fairway, you're lost in a dense forest of pines. Some of the fairways have some beautiful homes set back from the fairways but still in play if you hook or slice the ball. The yardages on the par 4 don't vary much, so you'll get a lot of practice with just a few clubs - best hope that they are your favorites!
At 7127 yards with a slope of 73.3 and rating of 133 from tips, Craft Farms' Cotton Creek is demanding from each of the five sets of tee boxes, so don't bite off more than you can chew. You'll encounter water on 13 holes, 41 tough bunkers, dog legs left and right, several risk reward opportunities, and some tight landing zones plus tough approach shots - all of which are very manageable if you play smart and deploy some good course management skills.
You'll also find some very fun holes, some of which include:
The tree lined fairways can be a little tight on this 18 at Craft Farms, so you might consider leaving the big dog in the bag unless you're deadly accurate. The fairways were in fantastic condition but not quite as lush and plush as Cypress Bend thanks to a flood ruining the day before seeding and fertilizing. Most of the fairways have plenty of contour and some are like a roller coaster ride for kids and others are like a ski run full of moguls.
The greens range from average to a tad small and all have some slope and undulation. They were soft and running at a good speed but some of the breaks are subtle and surprising.
The bunkers are all soft white sand and in good shape. They are strategically placed in the fairways as well as 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: $69.00 to $89.00
Service is fantastic - friendly and outgoing. The pro shop is well stocked, the restaurant has a good breakfast and lunch menu, and the practice facilities are very good.
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.