Alabama's Glenlakes Golf Course Offers a Unique Change of Pace
When Glenlakes Golf Course opened in 1986 it had just nine holes and went by the name Lakeview. However, 13 years, two designers, new ownership and an additional 18 holes has turned Glenlakes into one of the most unique and affordable golf outings on the Alabama Gulf Coast.
Designers Robert Von Hagge and Bruce Devlin brought a bit of the old England taste to the southern part of the United States with their par-72 dunes course which was completed in 1994. The links-style course is characterized by its rolling fairways, large mounds, grass and sand bunkers and undulating greens.
Von Hagge and Devlin were stingy with many of their landing areas. An errant tee shot could leave you hitting back up to the fairway from behind one of those large mounds or fighting your way out of a deep grass bunker. Once you're off the tee box don't count on getting too many flat lies.
As many as five teeing areas are provided on some holes, giving all golfers an equal chance. From the reds it plays 5,384 yards, the whites play 6,343 and blues 6,938. There is also a set of senior tees which play 5,453. The yardage is well marked throughout the fairways and tees.
Each side starts with a par-five, giving you the opportunity to get into red figures early on. However, be careful on No. 1 because after you stick your peg into the tee box, one of those stingy landing areas awaits. You may want to consider hitting a three-wood.
The par-five No. 6 and par-four No. 7 are two great back-to-back holes. Although it plays only 454 yards, you will find yourself overly challenged to hit the sixth green in two. Staring at you from the middle of the fairway is a sand trap which sits about 200 yards out. Your second shot, unless you choose to lay up, is into a severely elevated green protected by deep sand traps in the front.
Number 7 also features a difficult tee shot. The fairway bends slightly left around a large lake which sits to the left of this hole. You may choose to fade the ball off the right edge of the water or aim right and hook it back to the fairway. The second shot into this 429 yard hole is not presented with too much trouble, but with the wind factoring in it's not unusual to pull a four or five-iron from the bag.
Splendid Back Nine
The back nine is a real joy, especially for those who don't get to play links-style courses often. Three holes to look forward to are No. 11, 12 and 16.
The par-four 379 yard 11th plays slightly uphill and doglegs to the right. If you find a flat lie on this hole consider yourself fortunate. The left side of this tight fairway has two sand traps and on the right it drops off about 15 feet into thick rough. You don't want to be down there. Von Hagge and Devlin did no favors by placing a small undulating green at the end of this hole.
Following No. 11 is a 192 yard par-three which definitely doesn't offer a reprieve from the previous hole. Lost somewhere between the mounds in the back and the sand in the front is a long green primed for a three-putt.
Perhaps the signature hole at Glenlakes is the par-five 16th. A well thought out 460 yards, which culminates with an approach shot to basically an island green. The only place to bail out is long, and trust me, you won't like your lie back there.
The lakes nine, the original nine, plays to a par of 35 and is 2,336 yards from the reds, 2,861 from the whites and 3,065 from the blues. It is a well maintained, more traditional course and brings water into play on six of the holes.
Tim Cahill and his personable staff are eager to answer any questions you may have. A fully equipped pro shop is connected to a bar and grill which overlooks the pool and tennis courts. A driving range and putting green are provided.
Maybe the most enjoyable part of the day comes at the cash register. Between early February and the end of May, the green fee is $49.00. And that's the most expensive fee you'll pay. There's even some days when $30.00 will get you unlimited play.
Glenlakes offers a unique change of pace for those in the Gulf Coast area. An opportunity definitely not to be squandered.
Glenlakes Golf Club
9530 Clubhouse Drive
Foley, AL 36535