Tunica Mississippi - Golf and Gambling
The Ultimate Guy's Getaway
By Brian Weis
As a Midwestern, I had never heard of Tunica Mississippi until I started researching a "Surprise Guys Getaway" for my father-n-law. I was looking for a place with warm weather in the spring, entertainment, golf and gambling.
Eureka! Tunica, Mississippi!
I guess it was a done deal when I read that Tunica is dubbed as "The South's Casino Capital."
While Tunica has a small airport we flew into Memphis Tennessee. (less than a 30 minute drive to Tunica) Memphis is a destination in itself, especially if you are music fan. If you make the trek to Memphis it is almost criminal not to make a stop at Graceland. (For the record, I grew up a Beatles fan) The hour tour takes you thru Elvis's home and estate. A premium pass can get you access to other exhibits including his personal jets, car collection and various museums.
In the afternoon, we drove downtown and passed by the Lorraine hotel. History buffs will recall this as the hotel where Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated. The setting feels like you time traveled back into the 60's. The old hotel is also the site of the Civil Rights Museum.
A few blocks away is the World Famous "Beale Street". This area is an experience in itself - a three block section of the road is barricaded off and lined with Blues Clubs and familiar commercial establishments like Hard Rock, Ground Zero, Coyote Ugly, etc. If you enjoy the night life more than golf, get a room here and soak up the night life.
For dinner enjoy some suds and live music at BB King's Restaurant. I strongly recommend the Fried Dill pickles, pulled pork sandwich and for desert their bread pudding.
Off beaten path, is The Kooky Canuck. The 7 pound Kookamonga burger is worth the 40 minute wait. Eat it in an hour and the meal is free. Only a handful had accomplished the feat but more than 2000 brave souls have tried it. (I tried with an empty stomach and barely finished a quarter of it.)
A quick 20 minute drive from downtown Memphis and we reached Tunica. I thought I died and went to heaven when I saw the area map - nine casinos, three golf courses and over 40 restaurants.
We stayed at Harrah's Tunica which is a destination casino. The property hosts three hotels, an RV park, a world class casino, the Bellissimo spa and salon and Cottonwoods golf course. For the family travelers, there is an indoor and outdoor pool and Kids Quest, a giant gaming area with babysitting services.
Cottonwoods Golf Course, a Hale Irwin design plays over 7000 yards from the tips. This is a course where you want to choose the tee box that best fits your game. (five are available) I asked the golf attendant what his favorite hole was and he said number 1. When asked why he simply said because it was the easiest. There are hazards galore 75 plus sand bunkers and water comes into play on 7 holes.
Many holes are visually intimidating like hole 7, a dog leg left with water running the right side. The undulating fairway looks narrower than it plays. A long drive can position you to reach in two but the green is guarded 180 degrees around with water and two sand traps on right. Play it safe with a layup to give yourself a small wedge into green .
I briefly interviewed Assistant Pro Shahn Prudtt. When asked what separated his course from the other two he said two words, "The Conditions".
I tried to pry for more information about the course. I got the feeling he wanted the course to do the talking. Which it did!
The course has beautiful views accented with streams and ponds. Several holes have a picturesque backdrop of the hotels and casino.
One of the biggest challenges was the 13th hole. I stood on the tee with a 15 mile wind in my face and 600 yard between me and the flag. As a long ball hitter, I didn't even come close to reaching this in 3. (The prevailing wind is from behind and I think it might unreachable on a good day) Before you plan on bombing away consider the huge bunker guarding the front of the green.
The 16 hole is consider the signature hole, a middle distance par three that requires a well placed shot to avoid the sand on the left and the water on the right. The wide green has several ledges so pick your spot and hit it to avoid a three putt situation.
Our trip was met with some rain showers and my comrades were itching to do some gambling so we opted out of a second 18. Had the weather held up we would have played River Bend Links at Casino Strip Resorts. This course is one of the only Scottish links courses in the south. Designed by Clyde Johnston is known as The Field of Dunes."
After finishing a Paula Dean's Breakfast Buffet attached to Harrah's casino. Our group headed to Tunica National Golf and Tennis. The Mark McCumber designed course is a tournament level championship 18 hole. Located in the heart of the casinos on old highway 61
The Tunica County owned and Kemper Sports managed course open in 2004 and already hosted numerous professional and amateur events including The 2006 Mississippi State Open, The 2007 State Amateur, A SEC Women's Collegiate Tournament, and a Hooters Tour Event.
Before reaching the first hole, you can tell that this is a top notch course. Tunica National has a 30 acre practice facility including a 360 degree driving range with huge putting and chipping greens.
Assistant pro Charles Willoughby's two favorite holes are 9 because it is challenging hole with water on right all way and 18 because it is a demanding finishing hole. Bring your "A Game" because you will be faced with a challenging course that has almost 100 sand bunkers and water on 14 of the 18 holes. With that many hazards it is not surprising that the carts are furnished with GPS and flyover views of each hole.
If you are looking for Stay and Play options Tunica National has partnership with Gold Strike Casino and also has condos for purchase built near the course.
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Article Tags: Tunica Mississippi, Golf and Gambling, Guy's Getaway
Revised: 11/08/2010 - Article Viewed 29,285 Times
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.
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GolfTrips.com - Publisher and Golf Traveler