Getting To Know: Kiva Dunes
An Insightful Interview With David Watson, Head Golf Professional
By Brian Weis
Whether you have played a course 20+ times a year or looking to play the course for the first time, insights from an insider can help enhance your golf experience. Below is an interview with David Watson who shares some valuable tidbits about the course, memorable holes and must eats and treats at the 19th.
Give Our Readers An Overview of the Golf Course/Property
Kiva Dunes is located on a secluded property between the Gulf of Mexico and Mobile Bay. The golf course has long been recognized as the most challenging and enjoyable course in Alabama. Everyone from Golfweek to LINKS Magazine has consistently ranked our course on its lists of the best courses in the United States.
Kiva Dunes should be definitely to be included on everyone's "must play" list while visiting the Gulf Coast.
If Someone Was Looking To Golf In The Area, Why Should They Play Your Course?
First and foremost, we're were completely different than anything on the Gulf Coast. All of courses in the area are parkland where Kiva Dunes is seaside links. We are traditionally rnked in the top three in the state. It is challenging for most golfers, but if you can keep the ball in play, you can score well.
When I am asked this question on the phone by traveling golfers, I always send them Kiva Dune's highlight video.
What Tips or Local Knowledge Would You Provide To Help Them Score Better At Your Course?
For the most part, everything is right in front of you. Kiva Dunes is really more of a second shot golf course. The fairways are fairly generous, up to 50 yards wide. The greens are big and undulating, so it's not just getting on the green, it's being in the right spot.
Any recent changes to the golf course? Or any upcoming changes?
In 2015, Kiva Dunes underwent a $3.5 million dollar renovation. The golf course renovations were aimed to improve the playability of the course for the average golfer, while maintaining the challenges and shot-values enjoyed by more experienced golfers.
* Replacing the champion turf grass on the greens with a more temperate and golfer-friendly Tiff-Eagle turf
* Completely rebuilding and reshaping the white sand bunkers
* Stabilizing the walls on many of the greens
* Leveling of each tee box and rototilling the Bermuda grass fairways, a process which will dispose of the organic layering under the fairway and ensure for perfect lies and approach shots into the new greens
* Re-vegetation of native grasses and sandy dunes found throughout the course
* Improving the natural transitions between grasses and the indigenous beach landscape
Recent Awards or What You Are Most Proud About The Course?
Appeared in Top 10 You Can Play - Feb. 1996
Featured as Modern Classics Course - Jan./Feb. 2000
* Voted #2 - Best New Public Courses in U.S. - Dec. 1995
* Voted - Alabama's BEST Place to Play - Jan. 1995
* Ranked #24 - America's Top 75 Upscale Courses - May 1996
* Ranked #68 in America's Top 75 Golf Resorts - Mar. 2002
* Ranked #58 in America's Top 100 Public Courses - May 2003
What Is The Signature, Most Talked About, or Most Photographed Hole?
Hole 9 is a tough par 4, there's water off the tee that you can't see. The play is to hit a shot to the aiming post in the middle of the fairway. That's the center of the fairway. On the carts, underneath the pin location the sheet tells you how far it is to the water. Big hitters are hitting a three wood or a hybrid off the tee. And then that leaves you anywhere from 150-170 into a green over water. It's one of our few forced carries.
What Is Your Favorite Hole? Any Tips to Play It?
Kiva is a native American American word for spiritual ad physical renewal. So my favorite hole is #12 as it is tucked in the middle of the golf course and you feel isolated to the surroundings. So for me it is that spot that allows me to take it all in and let my worries release. Then I have to hit the ball. It is a demand driving hole with water down the left and trees on the right. After a few deeps breathes I find the middle of the fairway and go after the pin from there.
Must Have Dish or Drink after the round at the 19th Hole?
The Kiva Grill is located in the main lodge and offers something for everyone. The signature sandwich is the Bertah Burger. It is a massive half pound burger with all the fixings prepared just the way you like it.
For the traveling golfer, do you have lodging onsite or partner with any area hotels?
Kiva has two rental condo facilities. Kiva Lodge are the the condos above the club house that are privately owned that we have in our rental program. Kiva Village is located along hole #18 which our facilitiy owns. In both cases the condos rage from two to four bedrooms.
In our community, Kiva Dunes also has 30+ private house rentals with 3-7 bedrooms sleeping up to 20 people.
Back Tee Stats
815 Plantation Drive
Gulf Shores, Alabama 36542
Revised: 02/12/2019 - Article Viewed 2,143 Times - View Golf Course Profile
About: Brian Weis
Brian Weis is the Publisher of GolfTrips.com, a network of golf travel and directory sites including GolfWisconsin.com, GolfMichigan.com, ArizonaGolfer.com, GolfAlabama.com, etc. Professionally, Brian is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA), International Network of Golf (ING), Golf Travel Writers of America (GTWA), International Golf Travel Writers Association (IGTWA) and The Society of Hickory Golfers (SoHG). In 2016, Brian won The Shaheen Cup, an award given to a golf travel writer by his peers.
All of his life, Brian has been around the game of golf. As a youngster, Brian competed at all levels in junior and high school golf. Brian had a zero chance for a college golf scholarship, so he worked on the grounds crew at West Bend Country Club to pay for his University of Wisconsin education. In his adult years, his passion for the game collided with his entrepreneurial spirit and in 2004 launched GolfWisconsin.com. In 2007, the idea for a network of local golf directory sites formed and GolfTrips.com was born. Today, the network consists of a site in all 50 states supported by national sites like GolfTrips.com, GolfGuide.com and GolfPackages.com. It is an understatement to say, Brian is passionate about promoting golf and golf travel on a local, regional, national and international level.
On the golf course, Brian is known as a fierce weekend warrior that fluctuates between a 5-9 handicap. With a soft fade, known as "The Weis Slice", and booming 300+ drives, he can blast it out of bounds with the best of them.
Contact Brian Weis:
GolfTrips.com - Publisher and Golf Traveler