Discover Orange Beach, Alabama
Turquoise Place…a new standard in luxury accommodations
Peninsula and Kiva Dunes Golf Clubs…not to be missed
Story & Photos by: Ed & Fran Stone
Orange Beach on the Gulf coast of Alabama is the continuation of Florida’s Gulf coast going west. Another state, another beach? Yes, and it offers visitors a quieter, less congested place to enjoy some of America’s cleanest, whitest and pristine beaches. A recent visitor to the area called it Destin (Florida) 40 years ago. They might be right.
Orange Beach is strategically located next to Gulf Shores State Park. There is approximately 2.25 miles of State Park between Orange Beach and Gulf Shores. The distance from the Florida State line to Gulf Shores is some seven miles making up the coast for Orange Beach. Gulf Shores is well developed and has been the golfing and vacation destination for families for many, many years. Orange Beach is just now in the growing stage with emphasis on fishing, boating and golfing…a perfect blend for the two cities.
If you are looking for new and modern accommodations on and off the beach…and, exceptional golf courses, you need to check out Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, Alabama.
|With two towers 24 and 30 stories, Turquoise Place offers three and four bedroom condos on the beach with dynamic views of the Gulf. Turquoise is the place to stay when visiting the area. Spacious.
On a recent visit to the area, we had the distinct privilege to stay at the Gulf coast’s premier resort called Turquoise Place less than five miles west of the Florida line. This is first-class…all the way. With two towers 24 and 30 stories, Turquoise Place offers three and four bedroom condos on the beach with dynamic views of the Gulf. Turquoise is the place to stay when visiting the area. Spacious. The three bedroom, 2,300-plus square foot condos come with a fully equipped kitchen with Subzero and Wolf appliances, wet bar with wine cooler, gas fireplace, high-definition flat-screen televisions, floor-to-ceiling windows, spacious beachfront balcony with Jacuzzi tub and outdoor grill. These units can sleep a family of eight. They feature 10’ ceilings in the bedrooms, dining and family rooms, and a huge 14’x24’ master bedroom with double sliding doors leading directly to the hot tub on the balcony. Everyone has the space they need since all three bedrooms have their own full baths.
The four-bedroom residences can sleep a family of 10 and showcases over 3,500 square feet of luxurious living and sheer elegance. Perfect for family gatherings, the open concept kitchen overlooks the circular dining area and 23’x23’ family room. All four bedrooms have their own attached bath, plus an additional powder room. The 20’x14’4’’ master bedroom is surpassed only in size by its accompanying 20’x14’6’’ master bathroom, as well as a 10’x14’ master closet.
In case you need something a bit more spacious, there are a few penthouses available for you to enjoy. We’re talking five bedrooms and 4,756 square feet + 920-square-foot balcony…overlooking the beach and Gulf of Mexico.
|Enjoy the 450 foot seasonally heated lazy river and five swimming pools and signature spa treatments available on property.
Folks, we’re not bragging, just giving you the facts. Spectrum Resorts is the exclusive on-site provider for daily housekeeping, grocery delivery and on-site check-in. Turquoise Place has amenities for every member of the family. If this is not enough to pique your interest, check out the 450 foot seasonally heated lazy river. We don’t know of many properties offering this family aquatic feature. There’s also five swimming pools and signature spa treatments available on property.
If you are into a daily fitness routine, then you can stay on schedule with the Gulf-view Fitness Center featuring televisions, treadmills, elliptical machines, stationary bikes and free weights. Don’t worry about those sore muscles, Turquoise Place has saunas and steam rooms located in both towers as part of the indoor-pool areas. Don’t forget you have your own private hot tub on your balcony, plus…Turquoise Place has three oversized indoor hot tubs located adjacent to the indoor pools.
If the kiddies need a jungle-gym style play area, then you can let them play while you take a lazy river experience as they are located next to each other. This play area is built with a special, kid-safe material to provide ultimate fun paired with ultimate safety.
Tennis anyone? Yep, there are two lighted tennis courts. Should you need a tennis racquet…just check one out at the Front Desk.
To round out your total family or couple’s experiences at Turquoise Place, a variety of seasonal activities, crafts and games are offered, including S’mores on the beach, glow-stick parties and dive-in movies at the pool. Except for a small craft charge for some activities, everything is complimentary. Spectrum schedules season entertainment by the main pool by local artists and talented individuals from around the Gulf Coast..
|Peninsula Golf and Racquet Club offers up to 7,000 yards, on any combination of the three distinctive 9-holes of the 27-hole complex from the championship tees. This is a course where all skill levels of your game can be tested and enjoyed.
Peninsula Golf & Racquet Club:
Discovering a golf course close to the beach with a layout friendly to our golf game is always a treat. The 27-holes of Peninsula Golf and Racquet Club is not only creatively set along beautiful Mobile Bay, but is also one of Earl Stone’s best designs and made for the game of the bogey golfer. Of no relationship, Earl Stone is now our favorite golf course architect.
Gulf Shores Golf Academy:
While visiting the area, we met and came to know Rea Schuessler, the head teaching PGA golf professional working with Honours Golf. He is most competent and affable. Should you be visiting or live in the area, we encourage you to contact Rea for a lesson to help sharpen your golfing skills.
Honours Golf is the course management company for three championship golf courses in the Gulf Shores/Orange Beach area, including Craft Farms Golf Resort, Peninsula Golf and Racquet Club and Kiva Dunes Golf Club. The instructors are actively involved in ongoing PGA instructional programs and will teach you the game utilizing several training areas in addition to on-course instruction on some of the most interesting golf holes around. You will receive golf lessons in every aspect of the game, with teachers who love golf and love to see students take their golf game to the next level.
Each of the golf courses offer expert training facilities that include practice areas to focus on playing from sand, chipping to the green, putting on a green with various slopes and speeds, handling the golf ball out of the rough, and practice driving ranges with a variety of target areas. Focus on the learning the game with all the right tools nearby.
Earl has stated in numerous interviews that he builds every course with the 18-handicapper in mind. “Peninsula is my favorite golf course, of all my designs,” he often tells reporters. He imposes the fact that he has rejected the creation of today’s design of golf courses with blind shots, forced carries and immense bunkers. Earl is the contrast to Pete Dye who is often recognized as the No.1 architect in the world and infamous for his "Dyeabolical" designs. Peninsula is one of Alabama ’s most spectacular golf venues and is located some 15 minutes from Turquoise Place in Gulf Shores.
Peninsula Golf and Racquet Club offers up to 7,000 yards, on any combination of the three distinctive 9-holes of the 27-hole complex from the championship tees. This is a course where all skill levels of your game can be tested and enjoyed. Peninsula is rich in nature as it is tucked beside the Bon Secour Wildlife Preserve and winds through beautiful live oaks, cypress and other natural vegetation native to this area of Alabama.
Peninsula Golf & Racquet Club is a full-service golf club offering a range of social activities and events for the entire family. They recently remodeled their clubhouse featuring a restaurant and grill. In addition there’s an 8,000 sq. ft. fitness center, 8 Rubico tennis courts, indoor and outdoor swimming pools and other amenities.
Whether you live in the area, visit on a seasonal basis or come down for a few days of R&R, we encourage you to check out Peninsula. Now on our list of “let’s go back and play that one again.”
|Kiva Dunes is one of those golf courses you want to go back and play time and time, again.
Kiva Dunes is one of those golf courses you want to go back and play time and time, again. This was our second opportunity to play this beautifully designed course by Jerry Pate. Located between the Gulf of Mexico and Mobile Bay on some of the most beautiful landscape any designer would want for a golf course, Kiva Dunes is unique and challenging.
For the low handicapper, you can hit from the tips (blue tees) stretching some 7,092 yards or for us bogey players, we chose the white tees offering 5,849 yards…and that’s plenty for this course. There are four forced carries on the front nine and four on the back. Pate took full advantage of the terrain and truly built a course that is most enjoyable to all skill levels of golf.
The history and “how Kiva Dunes came to be” is quite interesting. Seems that Jim "Scrappy" Edgemon, an undergraduate at the University of Alabama back in the 1970’s was standing on the tee box of the par 3 16th at the University course in Tuscaloosa. Some 160-yards away was a fellow student on the golf team working on some precision putting drills. Finally Edgemon was waved to hit up to the green. The green-side golfer recalls thinking, "Man that looks pretty good.” The golf ball took one hop and rolled towards the hole. The golfer pulled the pin and it went in for a one. This was the introduction of Jerry Pate to Scrappy Edgemon who went on to become a major developer on the Alabama coast. Jerry Pate went on to win the 1974 U.S. Amateur and the 1976 U.S. Open. In 1985, Edgemon invited Pate to visit and review a piece of real estate he wanted to develop that would become Kiva Dunes. Pate is quoted as thinking, "Golf architects would kill for this piece of property." Rather than selecting the big names in course design, Edgemon chose not Fazio, Nicklaus, Dye or other top names, he chose Pate. "He's been a winner at everything he's ever done," Edgemon says. "I'd seen his work and I knew his passion. I knew, when given the best land, he'd do the best job.” And he did.
Kiva Dunes has racked up about all the honors and titles a golf course can amass. The following is just a few to whet your appetite to go play this outstanding layout.
Golf Digest Magazine:
* Voted #2 - Best New Public Courses in U.S. - Dec. 1995
* Voted - Alabama's BEST Place to Play - Jan. 1995
* Ranked #24 - America's Top 75 Upscale Courses - May 1996
* Ranked #68 in America's Top 75 Golf Resorts - Mar. 2002
* Ranked #58 in America's Top 100 Public Courses - May 2003
* Appeared in Top 10 You Can Play - Feb. 1996
* Featured as Modern Classics Course - Jan/Feb. 2000
Dining in the area:
Some of our favorites we discovered in the Orange Beach and Gulf Shores area are:
Cobalts – One of the upscale 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 – Dinning 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.
The Orange Beach area offers not only some of the most enjoyable and playable golf courses like Peninsula and Kiva Dunes (there are some 16 in the area), delicious seafood and casual dining atmosphere (the choices are unlimited) with accommodations to fit every budget. This is truly one of those areas growing fast, so better enjoy it now before too many people discover it.