Peninsula Golf & Racquet Club consists of three nine-hole routes that are combined differently from day-to-day to create varying 18-hole layouts. Not that we encourage being too picky, but try to get there on a day where the Marsh and Lakes nines are the main attraction; this is the most popular pair.
Although each nine is named for a body of water (the third nine is "Creek"), the most popular pool in the area will be the Gulf of Mexico, as the title peninsula juts out into the warm coastal waters. Peninsula sits on the inside of the stretch, adjacent to Bon Secour Bay, and its tree-lined fairways manage to spare golfers from some of the wind.
The courses come from the pen of Earl Stone, an architect who spent much of his career laying out routes in the Yellowhammer State, and surely Peninsula is about as pretty a piece of property as was given opportunity to work with. That will be on display at No. 7 of the Lakes course, described as the signature hole for the resort. The par five features the backdrop of Mobile Bay, while marshland lines the inside of the hole for those who aim to cut distance to the green.
Flat as a pancake with dish plate greens and dump truck tees. Course has been built in a housing development that provided little in the way of natural scenery, elevation changes or space to develop a challenging track.
Was in decent condition when we played all three nines in two days there.
The entire 27-holes is located on dead flat land -- as in the ant hills on the property are akin to the Rocky Mountains. Stone attempted to break up the monotony with the inclusion of a series of extended bunkers and on a few of the holes that inclusion works well. The main deficiency rests with the putting surfaces which are simply circular discs with little variation of terms of shape, dimensions and internal contours. When you have land not that significant it's important to provide a compensating inclusion elsewhere.
Water is a big part of the storyline when playing Marsh and Lakes but often times the involvement is really only present when a seriously errant shot is made. Angling holes and having tapered fairways in combination of movement beyond the straight-razor look would have helped matters. In regards to the water penalty areas -- having more of a diagonal presence would have provided a more exciting aspect of just how much to attempt to cut-off. A good example comes with the par-5 9th on the Marsh side. The water can inflict pain on both the tee shot and to those attempting the big carry to the green in two shots.
The 2nd hole on the Lakes is quite challenging -- here the hole turns left and the player has to decide on how much of the corner is worth taking on from the tee.
The facility has a good deal of housing so Stone made room for its involvement. As a result, you get a number of continual dog-legs providing for added space.
The Peninsula provides perfunctory golf -- the real details that would have truly elevated it are simply just missing.
M. James Ward