Isle Dauphine, a Gulf Coast treasure lost in the shuffle

Deep in the heart of Lower Alabama, just south of Mobile, you will find a beautiful island paradise that has been around since the birth of America itself. Over time, this island has gone through a name change, hurricanes, and father time himself. You see, Dauphin Island is a small fishing community where people from all over the world come to enjoy the abundance of God’s creation that has made the island what it is today.

Yet, when people visit Dauphin Island have no idea that on the island, there is a Golf Course that has fought mother nature and father time alike.

Despite the odds against it, Isle Dauphine and its loyal patrons keep coming back for more.

12th fairway overlooking the Gulf

Recently, two guys who migrated to Dauphin Island post-retirement have taken over operations of Isle Dauphine and have started the back-breaking process of restoring the beauty of Isle Dauphine. John Percival and Domenic Carlucci have grabbed the bull by the horns with this project and have done everything they can with the minimal money that has been allocated to them by the city of Dauphin Island.

Now, I know the perception around Isle Dauphine isn’t the greatest because, for years, the golf course was in the middle of a nasty tenant dispute with nobody leasing or taking care of the land. However, in 2016, a man; by the name of Dale Snellman bought the course making it his life mission to restore the Isle Dauphine Course. Dale was successful in restoring the front nine to playable conditions before John and Domenic took over in the last year or so, fully restoring the entire course.

From there, John and Domenic have successfully restored the entire course except for the greens. With a low budget, John and Domenic have done just about all they can do; the future of the golf course relies on the city itself to provide the proper funding to restore the Isle Dauphine to its full potential.

Myself, I first heard about Isle Dauphine when I started to frequent the beautiful Dauphin Island nearly four years ago when I started dating my current finance. Like many who make the trip to the Gulf Coast every year, I seek out a golf course to play that would provide me with a beautiful view, fair prices, and an overall decent experience on the golf course itself. For years since first visiting Dauphin Island, folks had discouraged me from playing the course, citing the poor conditions themselves as the reason.

Despite the warnings, my buddy and I loaded our clubs from Tennessee and decided that measly twenty dollars would be worth the price of admission to hit a few golf balls and enjoy God’s creation of Dauphin Island.

Here’s what I discovered about the golf course and why I would be making a return trip to play the Isle Dauphine.

First, despite a low budget and poor green conditions, overall, Isle Dauphine was a rather pleasant experience. From the fairways to the landscape itself, the golf course has a lot of potential to it. It just needs a little extra cash flow to maintain the momentum and excitement it has going for it.

Wildlife is in abundance on the course.

Second, for twenty dollars, you can go out with a few buddies, drink some cold ones, and enjoy the beauty of playing Links-style golf on the beautiful Dauphin Island coastline. No matter if you play nine or eighteen holes, you’ll pay twenty dollars, and the price of beer and ice, and you will have an afternoon you won’t forget.

Finally, why not support the efforts that John and Domenic are putting into the course to provide a better future for the future of Dauphin Island. Here you have two guys who are busting their asses each day to allow creating a once-in-a-lifetime Golf Course that fine folks of Lower Alabama can and should be proud of in terms of the world of golf.

18th Fairway overlooking the Gulf and Pirates Bar and Grill

Say what you want about the Isle Dauphine right now, but brighter days are ahead for the course and for the people who have stayed loyal to the project itself. As far as the Government of Dauphin Island goes, if you can afford to build a shopping center on the island, then by all means, you have everything it takes to restore Isle Dauphine into the world-class golf course it once was.

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