Craft Farms brought together two very special men. RC Craft, who immediately saw the beauty and potential of this property when he purchased it in 1956, and Arnold Palmer, who decided the minute he set foot on it 30 years later that it would become a signature course of the Arnold Palmer Design Company.
Arnold Palmer, son of a groundskeeper, left his home in Latrobe, Pennsylvania to become one of the world's most beloved golfers.
Arnold Palmer won 29 PGA Tour events in four seasons from 1960-1963 and went on to become nicknamed "the King" of golf.
Palmer's charisma made for compelling television in the 1950s and 1960s and set the stage for the popularity that golf enjoys today.
R.C. was the son of a farmer. Arnold was the son of a golf course superintendent and pro. Both had ties to the earth and a passion for the golf. The connection was strong and those knowing them noted Arnold and R.C. looked alike, both physically and when they swung a golf club.
In town to check out this new Alabama golf course in 1986, Palmer and R.C. were touring the property while a large contingent of media and spectators waited for their return. The trip took a bit longer than expected, however, once Arnold noticed the active sod harvesting taking place nearby. R.C. explained the process and soon Arnold was riding the sod cutter, getting his hands dirty!
Palmer visited twice in 1986. The men met, harvested sod, became fast friends and, together, worked to create Gulf Shores' first championship level golf course.
The Craft Farms neighborhood was built from 1989-2002 and the Cotton Creek Club was formed on July 23, 1987 and has always offered memberships.
Palmer designed both of Craft Farms courses. Cotton Creek opened in 1987 and the first 9-holes of Cypress Bend in 1993. The second 9-holes was opened for play in 1998. Palmer's last visit to the course was November 16, 2007