Mississippi North, East, and West
For Great Golf Values in Mississippi Head Inland
By Katharine Dyson
With more than 150 courses in Mississippi, great bargains are found in the less-known regions of the central eastern Pines Region, an area of forests and water; the northwestern Delta region; and the Hills region in the north where the highest elevations are found.
Some outstanding tracks are found in unusual places like state parks where green fees with a cart costs less than a meal. Some of the courses are tied into casinos like Pearl River Resort, a casino destination with two exceptional courses.
While there you can visit Elvis Presley's birthplace, play the slots at Pearl River and take in football games at Ole Miss in Oxford.
Mississippi Pines Region
Dancing Rabbit Golf Club: Azalea and Oaks
Using ancestral lands, The Choctaw Nation developed the Pearl River Resort complex with two casinos, a world class spa and three hotels. The Nation also brought in Tom Fazio and Jerry Pate to build two fabulous golf courses, Dancing Rabbit's The Oaks and Azaleas.
Azaleas evokes a sense of Augusta National with its flowering shrubs tucked into the hills and under trees in exuberant profusion and wide lush fairways. Many holes offer choices. For example hole #3, a 453 yard par4 features a split-level fairway. You can take the longer route on the right with less carry over the wetlands or stay for a shorter approach to the huge green.
Just when you get used to generous landing areas, you hit hole #5, a 571 yard par 5, dogleg right heading uphill to a slim elevated green. The narrow fairway is treacherous with a steep drop down to a creek bed on the left while the right is bordered nonstop by trees. Scary.
The par 3s on this course are also interesting. For example, hole #7, at 184 yards, plays over a valley from tee to a green surrounded by trees and protected by a large bunker.
Opening in 1999, two years after the Azaleas course, The Oaks playing 7,076 yards from the tips, is graced by wetlands, ponds, many sprawling bunkers and rolling fairways. Aptly named - the course runs through tall stands of white oak trees - The Oaks is considered one of the best courses in the state.
Characterized by large landing areas and plenty of bunkers along with some formidable carries like the par 3, hole #11 playing 220 yards over water, The Oaks, like Azaleas, is blessed by being laid out on a landscape of great natural beauty, of streams and waterfalls and lush greenery.
Both courses are on Golfweek's "50 Best Casino Courses" list:Azaleas (#18) and The Oaks (#43).
7,128 - 4,909 yards
74.4/135 - 68.6/116
7,076 - 5,097 yards
75.6/139 - 69.0/123
Green fees: $75-$125 inc. cart
Play and stay packages start at $119 including room, golf, cart and breakfast.
Hwy. 16 W. in Choctaw, MS 39350; www.dancingrabbitgolf.com; www.pearlriverresort.com
Old Waverly Golf Club
Stay on site and you get to play Old Waverly Golf Club, a lovely private club in West Point. It's a class act which could put your Mississippi golf vacation over the top.
Host to the 1999 Women's Open Championship, Old Waverly which is listed on "America's 100 Greatest Golf Courses", is a superb Jerry Pate/Bob Cupp-designed course which recalls some of the fine Scottish Highlands tracks, yet typifies the gracious demeanor of the Old South.
Fairways are lined by majestic oaks while Bentgrass greens and Bermuda fairways are meticulously maintained. Old Waverly's back nine, arguably the prettier of the nines, plays around Lake Waverly and other lakes.
This is a friendly course to all levels and a must-play if you are in the region.
7,000 - 5,200 yards
74.0/140 - 69.3/111
Green fees: $122 - $152
One Magnolia Drive West Point, MS 39773; 662-494-8780;
Mississippi Hills Region
Mallard Pointe Golf Club
Set in John Kyle State Park in Sardis, Mallard Pointe GC features narrow greens, gusty wind and rocky terrain, which amply reinforces the course's slogan, "The bird has a bite." The price does not: it's one of the best deals you'll find anywhere at $43 for golf and cart.
Holes #9 and #18 on this muscular, Bob Cupp-designed course require long carries over a treacherous gully. Aside from these two diabolical holes, the rest flow up and over the hills quite sanely.
7,004 - 5,300
73.8/131 - 71.5/122
Green fees $43
3037 State Park Rd Sardis, MS 38666; 662-487-2400
The Dogwoods Golf Course
This Gary Roger Baird design which opened in 2006, is carved out of more than 200 acres in Hugh White State Park. Highlighted by views of Grenada Lake, behemoth undulating greens and fairways, sizable elevation changes and formidable bunkers, this is a straight forward track with no quirks or gimmicks.
Dogwoods has a distinct sense of place with fairways lined by things natural, not buildings. And don't let the low green fees turn you off: this is a no-slouch track. Golf Digest ranked it "#5 in America's Best New Public Golf Courses under $75" and "America's Best New Bargain."
It's a kind track for higher handicappers from the forward tees yet play from the tips and heavy hitters will be challenged.
7,015 - 5,056 yards
72.3/131 - 68.1/110
Green fees: $49 inc. cart
2424 Hugh White State Park Rd., Grenada, MS 38901; 662-226-4123; thedogwoodsgolf.com
Kirkwood National Golf Club
This semi-private track 35 miles southeast of Memphis, has chalked up some nice reviews since opening in 1995 including a 4 1/2-star Ranking "Best Places to Play" from Golf
With water, moguls, Bermuda grass greens, deep waste bunkers, tree-lined fairways and wetlands, the Kirkwood National course designed by Greg Connor represents a good stay and play option for buddy trips with on-course cottages with quad units around a common area.
7,129 - 4,898
73.6/135 - 68.2/116
Green fees $30-$40 (off-season); $37-$47 (high season) inc. cart; Two night/three day Stay & Play package $360.
277 Palmer Lane, Holly Springs, Mississippi 38635; 662-252-4888; www.kirkwoodgolf.com
Mississippi Delta Region
Mississippi's Delta Region in the northern part of the state, shifts from the faster beat of Biloxi into a slower tempo, southern - style with very hospitable prices. The courses may not be on every golfer's radar, but with green fees and cart starting at an astonishing $29 and golf packages from $93, you won't be singing the Blues.
Birthplace of the "Blues" and Elvis Presley, the Delta regions rolls out endless vistas of cotton fields, tree-shaded towns like Oxford, home of Ole Miss and generous helpings of fried catfish served up with southern charm while high voltage gaming sets the pace in Tunica, home of 10 casino resorts, and solid courses like Cottonwoods at the Grand Casino Tunica; Riverbend Links by Clyde Johnston; and, Tunica National Golf & Tennis Club, a Mark McCumber layout.
Visit Elvis Presley's birthplace (Tupelo), Tennessee Williams' Home, the casinos in Pearl River and Waverly Plantation Museum.
Order catfish at Taylor Catfish, in Taylor and tune into Thacker Mountain Radio Show, Oxford's version of the "Prairie Home Companion."
In Oxford, the shows at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts in Oxford provide excellent theater.
Pearl River has the Silver Star Hotel & Casino and Golden Moon Hotel & Casino along with the Hilton Garden Inn with more than 1000 rooms. The casino has more than 5,000 slot machines, 115 table games and 14 poker tables including the popular Texas Hold'em while The Spa at Silver Star has saunas, steam baths and a full program of treatments. The newest addition, the Bok Homa Casino, a 27,000-square-foot facility, features 768 slot machines, electronic blackjack, electronic roulette and video poker machines providing 24/7 gaming.
In the Club House, there are 8 luxurious rooms with king beds and whirlpool baths and access to a 2nd story verandah. An on-site casual restaurant serves breakfast and lunch. 866.447.3275; www.pearlriverresort.com
Old Waverly offers cottages, villas and condos for rent from $150 pp/per night. Stay here and besides getting to play Old Waverly, you also get to enjoy their pool, fitness center, walking trails and a four-hole, par three course. Take time to sip a Planters Punch on Old Waverly's Clubhouse Terrace while the sun sets, a perfect way to end the day. Or after golf, unwind with a game of darts and a brew at Old Waverly's Murphy's pub; 662-495-5485; firstname.lastname@example.org
In Holly Springs, Kirkwood National Golf Club's four-bedroom cottages make an excellent base for staying and playing. Each cottages sleeps eight in four bedrooms with private baths. Guests share a lofty great room, fireplace, patio and kitchenettes.
At Old Waverly in the Pines, your can go elegant in the Magnolia Room which overlooks Lake Waverly and the golf course or go clubby in Cameron's reminiscent of a Scottish landowner's library. Think cigars, wines and favorite liquors. Or for casual fare, Murphy's besides good food and drink, you can try a game of darts in this pub-like place. 662-495-5485; email@example.com
At Pearl River in Choctaw, there are all kinds of deals. For example Play and Stay packages start at $137.98 including room, golf, cart and breakfast. 866.447.3275; www.pearlriverresort.com
Kirkwood Cottages in the Hills Region offers deals from $110.16 for room, 2 rounds golf, cart and taxes; 2 nights/3 rds from $187.92 per person; 3 nights/4 rds from $265.68. (662) 252-4888.
Old Waverly rooms in a four-bedroom cottage from $150 per person; two-, three- and four-bedroom villas. 662-495-5485; firstname.lastname@example.org
Holiday Inn Express, Oxford, $119 per person includes room plus golf and cart at Mallard Pointe. Stay & Play packages from $150 per person, per night. www.Holidayinn.com
Fly into Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport. 866-4GP-TBLX; flygpt.com (or entering into northern Mississippi, you can fly into Memphis, TN).
Best Time To Go
For best weather: spring, fall, winter; for value: summer
Super values on top-ranked courses.
Summers can be sizzling.
Article Tags: Mississippi Golf
Revised: 02/24/2011 - Article Viewed 39,958 Times
About: Katharine Dyson
Katharine Dyson is a freelance golf and travel writer, author, and columnist for several national & international publications and websites as well as guidebook author and blogger. Realizing that a golf and travel writer is the most underpaid, over privileged profession on the planet, she embraces the life style traveling all over the world to play golf and check out resorts. She is a member of the Golf Writers Association of American, Golf Travel Writers of America, the Society of American Travel Writers, and Metropolitan Golf Writers Association.