The locals call it L.A.—that’s Lower Alabama to y’all. Anchored by the port city of Mobile, the bay’s eastern coast around Gulf Shores, known for its snow-white beaches, offers players everything from breezy links-style courses to rolling, wooded layouts that conjure the inland Carolinas. If casual waterfront eateries offering fresh Gulf seafood and small-town Southern hospitality are your speed, you can’t do better than this laid-back coastal getaway.
Craft Farms. Two classic tracks designed by Arnold Palmer (Cotton Creek and Cypress Bend) located near historic Fort Morgan are defined by moss-draped oaks, towering pines and cordgrass-trimmed lakes.
LuLu’s at Homeport Marina. Arrive by car or boat at this family-friendly, indoor/outdoor institution in Gulf Shores renowned for its seafood gumbo, towering cheeseburgers and frosty margaritas. Live music daily.
Kiva Dunes. Windswept, links-style layout by Jerry Pate (pictured above), set in rolling dunes between the Gulf of Mexico and Bon Secour Bay, has plenty of sand and water in play. Par-3 17th, its bi-level green flanked by water left and bunkers right, is a notorious card-wrecker.
Tacky Jack’s. Steamed Royal Reds (“Queen of the Prawns”), blackened gator bites and smoked tuna dip are among the menu highlights at this popular waterfront eatery in Gulf Shores. For dessert, order the Bushwacker, a spiked milkshake.
Peninsula Golf & Racquet. Well-groomed 27-hole facility on shores of Mobile Bay, buffered by Bon Secour Wildlife Preserve, is routed around sandy waste areas and expanses of salt marsh. Famous for its barrels of iced apples.
Live Bait at the Wharf. Lively bayfront dining spot in nearby Orange Beach has delectable fried green tomatoes, expertly prepared Gulf seafood plus the region’s finest sushi rolls. Live music and potent specialty drinks, too.
Rock Creek. Eponymous creek meanders through this challenging yet playable course situated on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay in Fairhope. Wide fairways, excellent greens. Very scenic.
Panini Pete’s. Featured on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” this eclectic outpost in Fairhope features exceptional paninis (try the Italian-style Muffaletta) plus hot beignets, a New Orleans favorite with a lemony twist.
TimberCreek. Gently rolling 27-hole spread in Daphne is framed by a mixed forest of dogwoods, magnolias and loblolly pines, with numerous bulkheaded lakes in play.
Wintzell’s Oyster House. Landmark restaurant in downtown Mobile (est. 1938) serves its famous oysters any way you want ‘em…”fried, stewed or nude.” Also charbroiled. Shrimp and crawfish etouffee, served Creole style, is a must.