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Q&A with Gulf Shores Golf Association

Duncan Millar Executive Director Answers FAQ

By Todd Wolff


Duncan Millar experienced every dramatic twist and turn of the catastrophic BP oil spill.

The Executive Director of the Gulf Shores Golf Association in Alabama ( saw the immediate impact when a drilling rig explosion triggered the spill in April. Since then, he's watched the constant Coast Guard videos of the leak, listened to reports of the failed attempts to control it, and felt the euphoria of the moment when the spill was capped.

Nearly a month since then, Millar says he and his fellow Gulf residents and merchants are ready to move on to a state of normalcy.

"It was a tenuous time for all of us in the area, but since the leak was capped the impact down here been almost non-existent," explains Millar. "And, of course, our great golf courses were never affected in the least bit by the spill."

Nonetheless, the area is fighting a clouded perception that it is still being adversely affected. Take it from someone who lives and works in the area: Millar says there is no better time than right now to make visit the destination, and see its pristine views yourself.

Q: What are some of the most glaring misconceptions about the oil spill that have been generated by the media's coverage?

A: Unfortunately, I think there's still a perception out there that the Gulf is blanketed in globs of oil. You watch the news and they use these tight shots of the marshes in Louisiana with flowing liquid oil. But even during the worst of it we never had that kind of impact here. They also painted a broad picture that made people think it was, or still is, hazardous or unsafe to be here. Once again, that was never the case. Now that the leak has been capped, there really have been no after-affects at all. It's business as usual down here right now and that's the message we're trying to get across.

Q: You mentioned that the golf courses were never affected by the oil spill. What kind of condition are the courses in now that the fall season is here?

A: Our courses are in the best condition that you may ever see. The fall is always an optimal time to play down here. We're through the summer grow-in season and all of the greens have been aerated. But this year the courses are in even better shape than usual because the number of rounds played was down as a result of the spill, and because we had adequate rain to keep them green. The courses didn't go through the typical wear and tear that they usually see during the season. With less play, they were able to take a more aggressive approach from an agronomic standpoint and as a result they are all in prime shape right now.

Q: Can you tell us about the courses in your association and what kind of golf experience they offer?

A; What I like about our courses is that we have such a great variety. With nine golf courses situated throughout the 32-mile stretch of land, you certainly won't feel like you're playing the same course each round because there's a great mix of price points, topography and designs. Plus, all of our courses are relatively close to one another so there really isn't a lot of travel time involved once you get here. Golfers of all skill levels will come here and have a great experience.

Q: What is the weather typically like in the area during the fall and winter months?

A: I've always said that this is the best time of year to be here because it's consistently in the 70s and 80s, but the humidity we sometimes get in the summer is gone. The air temperature is ideal and there's not as much rain. We get really nice cool weather at night and in the early mornings and during the day it's typically sunny and very comfortable. It is typically one of our busiest seasons for that reason.

Q: Of course, golf isn't the only recreational activity available in the area. Can you tell us about some of the more popular non-golf activities?

A: Oh, we've got something for just about anyone. We're known for our beaches and all of the state waters are open for fishing, which is a popular recreational sport. We've got plenty of family attractions like the National Museum of Naval Aviation, the Gulf Coast Zoo, nature trails and state parks. As for cuisine, you won't find any chains. All of our restaurants are locally owned and operated and there are a number of great spots to go in and enjoy some great food and hear some live music or watch football. And, of course, all of our venues provide that great Southern hospitality. We treat you like you're one of own.

Q: What kind of stay-and-play deals are being offered for the fall and winter months?

A: Our lodging partners and golf courses have combined to put together packages for everyone. Whether it's a "buddy trip" with the guys, a couples retreat or a family vacation, we have the kind of packages available that will make everyone happy. Our website ( is user friendly and can easily help you piece together a package that fits your needs. Sample packages have been posted on the site, to give golfers a range of room types and golf rounds.

We also regularly post specials from our partners on our Facebook page.

Q: What should visitors know about the Gulf Shores right now?

A: When I talk about the oil spill with people and how it has affected us, they always ask me, 'How can I help?' And my response is simple. Come on down and visit us. We're not asking for a handout. We're confident that you'll feel whatever money you spent will be well worth it and you'll come away feeling like it was a great experience. And in the process, you'll be aiding a community that really needs your help.

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Revised: 11/08/2010 - Article Viewed 31,587 Times

About: Todd Wolff

Todd Wolff Todd Wolff is a well traveled freelance writer on golf, beer and travel. In 2005, Todd joined as the first contributor. When he is not on the links, Todd is brewing his legendary craft beers. In addition, to golf writing he is a world renowned graphic artist who has won numerous industry awards in logo design and product packaging.

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