On the Gulf Coast, autumn brings with it golfers who enjoy the mild temperatures and the beautiful natural surroundings of the area.

It is also during this time of year that golf tournaments designed to raise money for worthy charities are held, such as the Larry E. Powell Memorial Golf Tournament.

There are numerous area golf courses to consider. Here are some of the locals’ favorites.

Craft Farms Golf Resort features 36 holes of golf designed by golf icon Arnold Palmer. Located just minutes north of the beaches, Craft Farms Coastal Golf Resort features the 18-hole Cotton Creek and 18-hole Cypress Bend courses.

Play is described as serene and peaceful yet challenging for golfers at every level.

Golfers will find 27 holes of golf at two distinctly different courses at Glen lakes Golf Club, located just minutes north of the Gulf Shores beaches.

The Vista and Dunes courses give golfers the feeling of Old World links with 18 holes of undulating fairways and mounding and greens with plenty of slope.

The Lakes course is a 3,065-yard, par-35, resort-style, nine-hole layout. Wide fairways are great for players of all levels and water comes into play on six of the nine holes.

For non-golfers who enjoy a fast-paced fun activity, footgolf is now offered at Glenlakes.

Footgolf is a combination of soccer and golf played with a No. 5 regulation soccer ball and using 21-inch diameter cups.

Glen Lakes is the only course in South Alabama accredited by the American FootGolf League. The footgolf course is on the nine-hole Lakes Course and can be played at the same time as golfers.

The first golf course in Gulf Shores, Gulf Shores Golf Club’s 18-hole course has been designed with a few sharp doglegs, bunkers and the occasional water hazard.

The scenic course is home to an abundance of wildlife, water hazards and numerous oak and pine trees.

A traditional plantation-style clubhouse features a restaurant and pro shop with a view of surrounding fairways.

Designed by U.S. Open winner Jerry Pate and consistently ranked as one of the top courses in the country and the top course in Alabama, Kiva Dunes is located in the Fort Morgan area.

The links-styled course is situated between the Gulf of Mexico and Mobile Bay and makes good use of the coast’s native environment, including sugar-white sand and natural lakes to create a challenging environment for golfers of all skill level.

Named by Golf Digest one of the “most memorable and enjoyable” courses Peninsula Golf & Racquet Club is home to 27 holes of golf designed by Earl Stone.

Showcasing nature and wildlife, Peninsula is located directly next to the Bon Secour Wildlife Refuge and winds through more than 800 acres of live oaks, cypress trees and more natural vegetation. Be on the lookout for local wildlife like alligators or eagles.

Hole #7 is Peninsula’s signature hole. A par five with a large landing area off the tee and a backdrop of Mobile Bay, this hole requires golfers to play their second shot down the right side of the fairway to avoid wetlands on the left.

Lost Key Golf Club in Perdido Key is located between downtown Pensacola and the beaches of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.

Redesigned by the Arnold Palmer Design Group in 2006, the par-71 championship course is the first in the state of Florida to be certified as an Audubon International Silver Signature Sanctuary.

A state-of-the-art golf clubhouse is on site with a full-service golf shop, men and ladies’ locker room facilities with lounge areas, and a restaurant and bar with indoor and outdoor seating and panoramic views of the course.

Nearby Courses

On the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay, Rock Creek Golf Club was designed by Earl Stone and is considered both a playable and enjoyable course for golfers of all skill levels who enjoy the course layout. The layout features well-manicured, tree-lined fairways and generous landing areas. The large undulating greens offer two-tiered putting surfaces.

Numerous doglegs are positioned throughout the layout along with natural rolling terrain and elevation changes unique to southern Alabama region. Tall pines and hardwood forests line each fairway and freshwater wetlands ripple throughout the course.

Just north of Gulf Shores in Elberta is Soldiers Creek Golf Club, with an 18-hole golf course that meanders through rolling hills, lakes and nature trails.

Golfers of any skill level will appreciate the wide, player-friendly fairways. Water comes into play on only two holes, making navigating the course easier for high handicappers. A large natural turf driving range and 10,000-square-foot practice green are available for practice or warm-up.

Fairways and roughs are registered 419 Bermuda, while the greens feature Tif Eagle grass.

Also designed by Earl Stone, TimberCreek Golf Club is in Daphne, Ala., about 35 miles from Gulf Shores.

Featuring a 27-hole championship layout, TimberCreek offers scenic views of spacious, rolling fairways carved from a forest of dogwoods, magnolias and pines. Elevation changes, wetland preserves and wildlife.

A full-service restaurant and a practice facility are also on site.

Post-Game Gathering Spots

If you choose to wind down somewhere besides the golf course after you’re finished playing, the Gulf Coast has numerous fun spots to relax.

Specializing in craft beers, Big Beach Brewing Co. boasts an open-air taproom with fireplace and comfortable seating. Four garage doors in the taproom open to allow coastal breezes to flow through.

There are 12 taps at the brewery, which is located in Gulf Shores. And, while food is not served at Big Beach so proprietors can concentrate on brewing the best craft beer possible, guests may bring in or order food from local restaurants for delivery from Gulf To Go.

Live music is part of the Big Beach Brewing Co. equation on the weekends.

With 20 tap handles and a full bar, Flipdaddy’s new Orange Beach location is a fun place to hang out after a round of 18 holes. The restaurant, in addition to serving tasty hamburgers and unique sides, expertly serves frozen adult drinks along with craft beers and a full range of liquors.

Seating is available both indoors and outdoors, with TVs broadcasting the day’s top sports events in both places.

Locals enjoy hanging out at Papa Rocco’s in Gulf Shores for some “let-your-hair-down” time.

Whether it’s chilled oysters on the half shell you’re craving or freshly made lasagna or pizza that will hit the spot, Papa Rocco’s has this and more ready to be served with a mug of cold beer.

Food is served until midnight every night, and live entertainment is on tap daily at this local institution whose owner, Bill McGinnis, is also a local institution!

Immerse yourself in the golf experience when you stay at a golf-oriented vacation rental. Or, a three-bedroom condo in peaceful Fort Morgan, near both Kiva Dunes and Peninsula, could fill the bill.