Craft Farms Golf Resort
…a pride of Alabama’s Gulf Coast & Gulf Shores

Story & Photos by: Ed & Fran Stone

Craft Farms Golf Resort provides beautiful facilities of clubhouse, golf shop, dining and food & beverage offerings.

The Southeastern United States is blessed with an abundant number of great golf courses. The State of Alabama is famous for the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.  However, the state’s Gulf Coast of Gulf Shores & Orange Beach can compete with the best, including Craft Farm’s Cotton Creek and Cypress Bend courses under the highly capable Trey Childs as Director of Golf. There’s more than 16 extremely enjoyable and playable golf courses in the area. (Click here to see all golf courses.)

Craft Farms Golf Resort was built and created by a hard-working man from Blakely, Georgia and a famous golfer from Latrobe, Pennsylvania. They were both golfers and business men, one was R.C. Craft, the other Arnold Palmer. Craft had moved to the Ft. Myers, Florida area to raise gladiolas, but with the heat of summers, he moved to Foley, Alabama and purchased a large track of land to raise glads and sod. That was in 1954.

As the Gulf Shores area began to attract more visitors and the building of high-rise condominiums and beach rental properties developed, R.C. realized his property was too valuable for farming and decided to build a golf course. He contacted Arnold Palmer, they met, Palmer liked the idea and the funds were secured for the building of Craft Farms. That was in the mid 1980’s.  R.C. Craft passed away in 2006.  Today, the Craft Farms Golf Resort is owned and managed by Honours Golf based in Birmingham, a division of Troon.

In 1987, Craft & Palmer opened the 18-hole, par 72, Cotton Creek golf course along with a beautiful clubhouse and restaurant & bar. There are five sets of tees allowing for all level of players to choose their yardage from 5,160 up to 7,127.  Water is plentiful and found on 14 of the 18 holes. The fairways are broad and the greens are generous, allowing for all players to take on as much as they are capable on those “risk and rewards” shots.

Bridges are found on both Craft Farms courses. The top photo is from the Cypress Bend course, while the bottom two are from the Cotton Creek Course.

The number one handicap hole on the Cotton Creek Course is #6, a par 4, 395 yards from the tips. Here, the risk and reward means crossing water on both the tee shot and second shot. Fortunately, there’s plenty of room to place the tee shot without encountering the large lake on the right. 

Cotton Creek’s number two handicap is #17, par 5, back tees measure 535 yards.  Your tee shot is across a small creek with bunkers on the right some 200 yards out and near your landing area.  Water protects the left side of the approach shot to the green.  Undulations on the green can be very tricky.

With five sets of tees, we advise all golfers to play the distance that best fits your game and allows you to enjoy a good score.  Golf Digest rates Cotton Creek with 4 stars and regularly names it as one of the Best Places to Play.

Here’s the yardage, slope and rating of Cotton Creek Course:

























The Cypress Bend Golf Course was a delight to play and may be one of our favorite Palmer designs.  Opened in 1993, the par 72, 18-hole course has the character of a high-end layout that beckons for a major PGA golf tournament. Yes, the fairways are generous and yes, the greens are large, but the presence of water on all 18 holes is what gives it character. And no, you do not have to encounter forced water carries on all the holes…just a few. 

The Cypress Bend course is one of Palmer's best using lots of water to create character but not to overshadow the golfer's enjoyment of a good round.

From the men’s tees, the #2 hole is number one handicap. It plays 413 yards from the tips and is a par 4 with water on the left at tee box and green. There are bunkers on the right within the landing area of your tee shot. The ladies’ number one handicap is hole #4, a par 4, 296 yarder with a small creek in front of green. On the back nine, hole #14 is the number 2 handicap for men, a par 4 at 428 yards. The number two handicap for ladies is hole #13 at 438 yards. Both holes have water to the right and left of the fairways and around the greens.

Tree lined pin oaks provides a canopy of shade throughout the cart paths of Cypress Bend.  These trees along with various grasses both short and tall fashions an ambiance of Old South and pure class for this course. Golf Digest rates Cypress Bend with 4 ½ stars and in 2008-09, named it one of the Best Places to Play.  Well-deserved accolades, it is certainly one of Arnold Palmer’s best.

Here’s the yardage, slope and rating of Cypress Bend Course:


























FootGolf is a new and fast-growing sport. Craft Farms has a super course playing on the front nine of the Cypress Bend course. (Bottom photo provided by Craft Farms).

FootGolf is now available at Craft Farms Golf Resort and is becoming more and more popular with the youth, groups and families locally and visiting.  The front nine holes of Cypress Bend Golf is where FootGolf is played.  The holes are to the side, away from the greens, marked by flags and holes large enough for a soccer ball.  The FootGolf players enjoy walking or riding while using a No. 5 regulation soccer ball and 21 inch diameter cup. Proper golf and/or soccer attire are required…no walking on the greens with soccer shoes. The rules of FootGolf pretty much follow those of golf with the objective to play in as few of strokes as possible.

We admire Craft Farms for taking this step in providing a game that will attract a younger audience to play a game that is not as time consuming or costly as golf.  This is a game that introduces our youth to the course and hopefully create an interest in playing the game of golf.

Here are a few items you’ll enjoy knowing about Craft Farms Golf Resort:

  • For the family playing golf:
    • Juniors golf for free after 3 p.m. when playing with a paying adult
    • Juniors enjoy complimentary rental clubs all day
    • Juniors receive complimentary instruction when taking a lesson with a paying adult.
  • Practice Facility:
    • As part of your round of golf, you have access to an excellent practice facility.  There’s plenty of room for sharpen your game on the driving range, that offers several target greens, chipping greens, practice bunkers and an expansive putting green. Craft Farms has experienced, PGA Professionals on staff and available for pre-tournament lessons, tips and clinics.
  • The 18th green of the Cotton Creek course plays to the beautiful clubhouse with dining and complete food & beverage service.
    Beverage Cart Services:
    • Throughout the day friendly beverage cart attendants offers all the basic needs for your on-course round of golf.  The beverage cart is fully stocked with both alcoholic and non-alcoholic refreshments as well as snacks.
  • Food Service for Golfers:
    • You’ll find a very nice and comfortable clubhouse where their friendly staff will provide you with everything from a full breakfast, lunch, boxed lunches, hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken wings and gourmet snacks.  Great place to enjoy a cool refreshing drink after your round of golf or FootGolf.

When visiting Craft Farms Golf Resort you will find an area that provides family attractions, upscale shopping, fine & casual dining, luxurious & moderate priced hotels and entertainment choices for all ages.

Craft Farms Golf Resort
3840 Cotton Creek Circle
Gulf Shores, AL 36542
Phone: 1-888-567-1652


From the beautiful beaches to The Warf and throughout Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama, this is a great destination for golfers, couples, families and groups.

Where to Stay:
Our favorite place is Turquoise Place in Orange Beach, a short distance from Craft Farms. Check out there website at:

Dining in the area:
Some of our favorites we discovered in the Orange Beach and Gulf Shores area are:

Villaggio Grille – Located at The Warf and in the central part of this huge entertainment complex. Casual Italian fare and yet serves some of the best steaks in the area.  Recommend you try the Villaggio Grille where the service is great and the food is outstanding.  You will not be disappointed.

Cobalts – One of the restaurants that does not take reservations after 5:30pm. Located on the bay and offers a wide selection of seafood. Limited offering of steaks, chicken and chops. Five minute drive from Turquoise Place.

The Gulf – Believe me…it is on the Gulf and on the beach. Combination seating of covered or open air. You stand in line to order a selection of overstuffed sandwiches and good selection of beverages. A server will bring your order to your table. Very nicely decorated, good service and the food is outstanding. Five minute drive from the Turquoise Places.

Doc’s – About a 10 minute drive from Turquoise Place and very causal (everything is casual in this area). Prepare for a short wait, outside in your vehicle or benches next to the building. Lots of seafood choices and very tasty. You need to make at least one meal at Doc’s.

Fisher’s – One of the nicest upscale/casual eateries in the area. Fisher’s offers a great selection of seafood, steaks, chicken and soups (shrimp & okra gumbo). You can’t go wrong with this one. Ten minute drive from Turquoise Place.

Steamers – Dining inside or on the deck. Loved the large boiled shrimp…we mean large. They offer an excellent selection of steamed seafood, including Royal Red shrimp, Alaskan Snow Crab Legs and fresh fish daily. Five minutes from Turquoise Place.

Shipp’s Harbor Grill – Gulf seafood, sushi and steaks. This is where locals and visitors enjoy Sportsman Marina's first-class restaurant. Shipp's Harbour Grill is the place for a drink, wonderful meal and the perfect end to the day. Casual waterfront dining with a tropical twist. Fifteen minute drive from Turquoise Place.

LuLu’s - Lucy Buffett's is a fun and happening place along one of the bays off the Gulf of Mexico.  The food is good…all kinds of seafood, beef, pork, chicken, gumbo and you name it.  They got it! Great place for lunch or dinner and only 10 minutes from Craft Farms.


There is so much to see and do in this area where you are visiting as couples, family or golfing groups.  We encourage you to contact:
Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Visitor’s Bureau
3459 Gulf Shores Parkway (Hwy. 59 south)
Gulf Shores, AL 36542
Phones: 251-968-7511 or 800-745-SAND