When golf is not enough Gulf Shores Alabama diversions

By Mike BaileyNovember 23, 2010, 2:05 am
golf not enough alabama
Ft. Morgan, Blue Angels and The Hangout are three excellent off-the-course activities

GULF SHORES, Ala. – It's no secret that the Gulf Coast area of Alabama offers plenty of good golf, but if you're spending all your time on the course, you could be cheating yourself out of the full experience.

By combining such excursions as fishing, parasailing and dolphin cruises with golf at venues like
Kiva Dunes Golf Course, Craft Farms and Peninsula Golf & Racquet Club, traveling golfers can put together a well-rounded itinerary. There are plenty of great restaurants – especially seafood places – and a good bit of Southern nightlife as well.
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'We are not your typical golf destination with all there is to do here,' said Duncan Millar, executive director of Golf Gulf Shores. 'The best way to experience the destination is to take about a week to visit and play a round every other day and then mix in the other great things there are to do on the non golfing day. Fishing and golf work great together for your typical buddy trip.'

With that said, here are few suggestions on your next trip to the Gulf Shores area.

Fishing on the Gulf

Golf and fishing go together like shrimp and grits, and you would be hard-pressed to find many locations that combine the two better than the Gulf Shores/Pensacola, Fla., area. By most accounts, recreational deep-sea fishing in the Gulf of Mexico is back after the Gulf oil disaster April, and charter companies are anxious to get your business.

If you have a group, the cost of a fishing charter, complete with a guide, equipment and plenty of refreshments, is comparable to a round of golf – about $50-$80 per participant for a half day. The area boasts one of, if not, the largest charter fishing fleets in the world, and there are a variety of options and sizes of boats to help you catch fish such as red snapper, mackerel, cobia, amberjack, grouper, tuna, marlin, or sailfish. From novices to experts, there's a fishing experience for everyone. Just make sure to take a dose of Dramamine if you're not use to the chop.

Restaurants and nightlife

Down on the Gulf Coast, they have a different way of entertaining – few limits and no pretentions – and the venues reflect that philosophy.

Perhaps no club personifies the area better than the famed Flora-Bama, a beachfront lounge that straddles the Florida-Alabama state line. Opened in 1964, the bar is especially popular during holidays such as Labor Day, Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. Celebrities, bikers, millionaires, nearby Navy personnel and plain folks go to hear bands, celebrate festivals and kick back. Having survived Hurricane Ivan from a few years ago, the establishment (simply referred to by locals as the Bama) has multiple bars and stages, serves drinks like the 'Bushwacker' and is known for its annual Interstate Mullet Toss, an event where people throw fish from Alabama to Florida. Jimmy Buffett wrote a song ('Bama Breeze') about the bar.
 
Speaking of Buffett, Jimmy's sister, Lucy, owns another favorite establishment in the area – Lulu's at Homeport marina on the Intercoastal Waterway in Gulf Shores. It's actually Lucy Buffett's second location for the restaurant, which was physically transported by barge from its original location on Weeks Bay five years earlier. The restaurant/bar has a very casual, relaxed atmosphere and plenty of favorites on the menu, including local seafood, sandwiches, burgers, appetizers and, of course, desserts. There's also plenty of good live entertainment.

Another popular hangout in the area is The Hangout, located on the beach in Gulf Shores. The Hangout oozes history with hundreds of photographs depicting fun on the beaches going back to the 1950s. You'll also find plenty of vintage lunch pails, signs and other artifacts littered throughout the place. With live entertainment on most nights of the week, it's a great spot to enjoy and outdoor concert. There's also dozens of big screens for sporting events, great food and beer and a souvenir shop. The back of the establishment opens up to the Gulf of Mexico, making The Hangout a great summer spot both in the daytime and at night. There's even a giant bubble machine that produces foam large enough to hide the entire Brady Bunch.

Other fun things to do in the Gulf Shores/Pensacola area

Just a few miles east of Mobile, Ala., near Warrington, Fla., is the Naval Air Station-Pensacola. The base is home to the Blue Angels, which not only perform around the world, but locally as well. It's also home of the National Museum of Naval Aviation, a military and aerospace museum that opened in 1962. It chronicles the history of aviation from the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard with more than 150 aircraft on display. Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. most days, admission is free.

For another history lesson, you can visit Ft. Morgan, located on the mouth of Mobile Bay. Named in honor of the Revolutionary War here Daniel Morgan, the post was completed in 1834. In 1861 it was seized by the Confederates and was the site of the Battle of Mobile Bay leading to its recapture by Union forces during the latter stages of the Civil War. Today, the fort has a museum as well as battle re-enactments open to the public.

And finally, for the kid in everyone, there's The Track Family Recreation Center, located on Gulf Shores Boulevard in Gulf Shores. Kids and adults can enjoy mini golf, go-carts, bumper boats, arcade and more daring adventures like the SkyCoaster, which straps willing participants into a harness only to freefall from distances up to 110 feet. After surviving the SkyCoaster, those three-foot putts for bogey should be no-sweat.

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Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

"That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.