Friday, March 12, 2010

Mississippi Golf Hits the Jackpot with Best-in-Kind Acclaim

State Doubles the Number of Courses Garnering Distinction in Golfweek Magazine’s ‘America’s Best Courses You Can Play’

(JACKSON, Mississippi) – The Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) Division of Tourism today announces that 10 courses in the state – double the previous number so honored – have been voted to Golfweek’s “America’s Best Course You Can Play” by state for 2010.

The courses – with their location and architect – are:
* Fallen Oak, Saucier (Tom Fazio)
* Dancing Rabbit, Philadelphia (Azaleas Course; Tom Fazio and Jerry Pate)
* Grand Bear, Saucier (Jack Nicklaus)
* The Bridges GC at Hollywood Casino, Bay St. Louis (Arnold Palmer)
* Shell Landing, Gautier (Davis Love III)
* The Preserve GC, Vancleave (Jerry Pate)
* Dancing Rabbit, Philadelphia (Oaks Course; Fazio and Pate)
* The Oaks, Pass Christian (Landmark)
* Timberton GC, Hattiesburg (Mark McCumber)
* Windance G&CC, Gulfport (Mark McCumber)

“Mississippi’s increased number of courses listed in Golfweek’s ‘America’s Best Courses You Can Play’ reflects the depth of its high-quality layouts,” said Dr. Bradley S. Klein, Golfweek Senior Golf Course Architecture Editor. “Mississippi golf continues to impress our raters.”

To determine the nation’s most deserving layouts Golfweek dispatches 550 raters across America to examine courses for their overall strength of routing, feature shaping, natural setting, greens, variety and memorability of holes, conditioning and maintenance, landscape management and other criteria.

“Mississippi is honored to have these courses saluted for their excellence, and gratified that Golfweek raters think so well of our overall golf course inventory that they doubled the number of courses listed in this ‘best-of’ compilation,” said Mary Beth Wilkerson, MDA Tourism Division Director. “We hope this critical endorsement further entices travelers to visit Mississippi and discover our wealth of attractions, including golf courses, history, casino resorts, Blues and Country music trails, southern hospitality, and many other attractions.”

Eight of the 10 Mississippi courses cited for distinction by Golfweek are amenities of casino resorts. Mississippi is the nation’s third largest gaming destination and the best golf-and-gaming destination in America.

Located 15 miles north of opulent Beau Rivage Resort & Casino ( on a 510-acre tract, Fallen Oak ( unveils adjacent to the DeSoto National Forest. It will host the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic, a Champions TOUR event April 26-May 2. The course, ranked No. 19 nationally in Golf Digest’s America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses, opened in 2006. A rolling landscape covered in oak and pine ridges, magnolias, pecan groves, large lakes, winding streams and wetlands define the layout. Built upon the ancestral lands of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, Dancing Rabbit ( is the Azaleas and Oaks courses – 14,000-plus combined yards of breathtaking beauty and challenge. Nestled serenely among ancient pines and hardwoods, each of these par 72 masterpieces embraces the gently rolling hills and valleys indigenous to this part of the state (Pines Region). Owned and operated by the Choctaws, the golf club is part of Pearl River Resort (, home to an array of amenities, including water theme park, spa, shopping, gaming and more. Jack Nicklaus-designed Grand Bear ( is peppered with towering pines, natural cypress wetlands, secluded fairways, deep bunkers and impeccably manicured greens. Five different tee levels will test the skills of even the most avid golfer. The course itself measures 7,204 yards from the Grizzly Bear tees and 4,802 from the Teddy Bear’s. Don’t let the tee names distract you from choosing the appropriate yardage. As you will soon find out, this course feels a little like Augusta with all the excitement of a Pinehurst. One legend deserves another, so it is with Arnold Palmer-designed Bridges Golf Club at Hollywood Casino Bay St. Louis ( This shot-makers’ paradise is graced by its namesake bridges, which wind artistically and strategically throughout the gorgeous property. Adjacent to the casino and near an extensive, full-service RV Park, the course is but one of many amenities of the resort, which regularly hosts marquee entertainment acts, music and otherwise. Shell Landing Golf Club ( in Gautier was designed by Davis Love III and enjoys a partnership with the IP Casino Resort Spa ( The championship, 18-hole, par-72 layout features all of the Gulf Coast’s stunningly diverse natural resources. Named for the rare gopher turtles that thrive in the property’s protected habitat, Shell Landing mixes tall pines, marshes, bayous and wetlands with rolling hills to frame an inspired, challenging layout that is both fun and memorable. Designed by U.S. Open Champion Jerry Pate, the Preserve Golf Club ( is an 18-hole, par-71 championship course surrounded by 1,800 acres of nature conservancy preserve. The native species and surrounding preserve dictate the layout of the 245-acre course. Tall, slender long leaf pines line the fairways, wooden bridges cross the wetlands and majestic live oaks reach over the course, which is an amenity of the Palace Casino Resort ( The Oaks Golf Club ( in Pass Christian opened in 1998 and was designed by Landmark National, well known architects of PGA West and Kiawah. The 7,000-yard-course design stands on its own as a distinctive golf track, but adding a colorful titillating perk are the Hooters Beverage Cart Girls, who serve players while wearing their signature orange shorts, white sleeveless tops, white socks and sneakers. Mississippi’s hospitality is always showcased at Timberton Golf Club in Hattiesburg (, which Golf Digest rates 4.5 stars (out of five possible). In addition to fine customer service, the Mark McCumber-designed course has hosted PGA Tour event qualifying, the Mississippi State Open, and numerous USGA & PGA qualifying events. Last but not least, Windance Country Club ( has hosted the Ben Hogan and Nike tours and players such as 2003 U.S. Open Champion Jim Furyk, Tom Lehman, and Alan Doyle. The Adams Golf Pro Tour Series currently calls Windance home for their Island View Casino Tour Championship event. Known for its fast, pitched greens, Windance is an amenity of the Island View Casino Resort (

For more information about these courses or to schedule a visit to Mississippi, call toll-free to 866-801-8551 or go to and receive a free Golf Travel Guide and suggested play-and-stay itineraries.


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