Review & Rating of Kiva Dunes Golf Club in Gulf Shores Alabama
Wow, what a fantastic track that is well deserving of all the awards and accolades, some of which include:
Kiva Dunes Golf Club was designed by Jerry Pate, winner of the 1976 US Open as a PGA Tour rookie, and the course opened in 1995. He designed a wide-open, links-style course that meanders through sand and trees and environmentally protected areas on a stunning and secluded piece of property between the Gulf of Mexico and Bon Secour Bay.
In November 2015 $1.5 was invested to improve Kiva Dunes Golf Club playability, lower the maintenance costs, and improve the pace of play. Money was spent on transitioning the greens to TIF Eagle, making the bunkers much easier by changing the steep faces from sand to grass, cutting back on the scrub brush, and lots of other changes.
What we think makes Kiva Dunes Golf Club a fun and must play course includes:
Kiva Dunes Golf Club is a bear from the tips at 7122 yards so make sure you don't try to bite off more than you can chew and you'll have a fun round. Wind will typically come into play and it can have a significant impact on your score. Generally speaking the fairways are ample off the tee box but if you spray it you're wet, lost in a natural area, under some trees, under the scrub brush, or in one of those treacherous bunkers.
There are some outstanding holes at Kiva Dunes, some of which include:
If you've come to Gulf Shores to enjoy the 32 miles of beaches with white sand that looks like its specially ordered from a postcard then you'll love the bunkers at Kiva Dunes Golf Club which are large and deep and filled with enough of that same fine white sand to add another 5 miles to the beach. I spent so much time in the bunkers I should have ordered an umbrella, a beach chair, and a Pina Colada. I think I took home over a pound of sand in the shoes, pockets, hair, and other body openings! The good news is that they are in perfect condition and the sand is soft and thick. The grass surrounding the bunkers can be equally as challenging - typically thick and difficult to hit from, but better there than in a steep faced bunker.
The greens at Kiva Dunes are equally as treacherous as the bunkers - plenty of slope and undulation plus tiers and ridges. The greens are huge which made 3 putts very common for me. They were in perfect condition, held the ball well (a little firm because they are new), and ran true. They were a tad slow when we played but they normally run around a 10. The greens range in shape and most are well above average size and 18 is huge at 14,000 square yards - the average green at Kiva Dunes is 7500 square yards!
The Kiva Dunes fairways were also perfect. Most are ample and there is room for some error. Several have plenty of contour. All of the fairways will cause you problems if you really spray the ball thanks to water, waste bunkers, or natural areas.
Kiva Dunes has an excellent stay and play package and is opening a new beach front pavilion and swimming pool in fall of 2016.
Bottom line - Kiva Dunes can be demanding but it's fair and if you pick the right set of tee boxes and avoid the bunkers you'll have a good round and even if you don't score well, you'll still enjoy this fantastic course.
Rates: $69.00 to $125.00
Service is very good (friendly, helpful, and fun), the pro shop is well stocked, and the practice facilities are very good. The restaurant is home to a tasty breakfast and several options for lunch plus a full bar and a fantastic patio looking the 18th hole.
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.