MGM Resorts International Tom Fazio-designed masterpiece once again places in top half on list of best courses designed since 1960
(BILOXI, Miss.) - Garnering more praise for its beauty, brawny bunkers and brilliant design, Fallen Oak earned two more honors when Golfweek recognized the course as one of the country's best modern courses and the top course you can play in the state of Mississippi.
The publication ranked Fallen Oak 48th on its prestigious list of Top 100 Modern Courses, its annual list that rates courses designed since 1960. It debuted on the list in 2009 at No. 55. Meanwhile, the five-year-old course - which will play host to the Champions Tour's Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic this week - stayed steady with a score of 7.3 out of a possible 10 points.
Golfweek also re-affirmed Fallen Oak's place as the No. 1 Course You Can Play in the state of Mississippi - the fourth consecutive year Fallen Oak has occupied that top spot. That is the 20th award bestowed on the Tom Fazio-designed masterpiece by the respected publication and the 31st overall since the course opened in November 2006.
"As Fallen Oak continues to mature and enhance its reputation as a must-play, destination course, we are proud of what golfers from the legends of the game to our guests have discovered - that a round at Fallen Oak remains a total golfing experience," said George P. Corchis Jr., president and chief operating officer of MGM Resorts International's Regional Operations. "These latest honors illustrate the complete effort our staff puts into making a round at Fallen Oak something to remember for our guests."
These latest honors came right before many of the game's legends return to Fallen Oak for the third Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic. And once again, the game's best over-50 players had nothing but respect for the course's challenge and layout.
"It's a great, great test of golf. The bunkers are very penal, much like if you played in a British Open or somewhere in Scotland or Ireland, where if you drive into a bunker, you're going to pay a penalty," said defending MGRC Champion Tom Lehman, who set Fallen Oak's course record with an 8-under-par 64 in last year's second round."I would have to say it's got to be in the very top echelon of the courses we play."
Fallen Oak more than held its own among courses that play host to a professional tour stop. The course ranked ahead of courses with longer pedigrees as either PGA TOUR host courses or sites of major championships, such as Sea Island's Seaside Course in St Simons Island, Ga. (No. 51), Kapalua's Plantation Course in Maui (No. 63), Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C. (No. 64), Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind. (No. 76), Hazeltine National in Chaska, Minn. (No. 86), Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville (No. 90) and Shoal Creek in Birmingham, Ala. (No. 98). The latter four courses have all played host to PGA TOUR major championships.
Once again, Fazio's presence on the Modern Course list is impressive in its prolific status. Fallen Oak is one of 23 Fazio courses on the Top 100 Modern List.
The magazine's raters ranked courses on 10 criteria: Ease and Intimacy of Routing, Quality of Feature Shaping, Natural Setting and Overall Land Plan, Interest of Greens and Surrounding Contours, Variety and Memorability of Par 3s, Variety and Memorability of Par 4s, Variety and Memorability of Par 5s, Basic Quality of Conditioning, Landscape and Tree Management and the "Walk In The Park Test."
"It's a very good golf course. It's right up there with all the best courses we play out here," said Champions Tour mainstay John Cook. "This is a good test of golf and that's what you look for out here."
Unique among Gulf Coast courses, Fallen Oak features dramatic elevation changes, which Fazio incorporated among the more than 4,000 oaks, magnolias, pines and other hardwood trees that join the ponds, streams and wetlands that frame the course.
Aside from those elevation changes, remarkably true-rolling greens and Fazio's dynamic design tactics of using the DeSoto National Forest and all its inherent natural elements as a template, the multi-million dollar course features gently rolling terrain and pecan orchards.
The clubhouse and practice facilities alone put Fallen Oak among the top courses in the region. Built to resemble an Acadian-style Southern mansion, the 12,000-square foot clubhouse houses a 1,000-square foot pro shop and locker facilities. The 70-seat lounge and restaurant features top-level dining and a panoramic view of the 18th hole, as well as the majestic live oak that gives Fallen Oak its name. In 2008, that clubhouse was voted one of the "Best 19th Holes in Golf" by Golf Digest.
Fallen Oak is available exclusively for guests of Beau Rivage. Greens fees for this elite MGM Resorts International golf experience are $200. To make reservations, call (877) 805-4657 or visit www.beaurivage.com.