Country Club of Jackson – Good Enough For the PGA TOUR
The Country Club of Jackson has been around for more than 100 years. It’s a family-focused, membership-owned, private country club in the northeast part of Jackson, MS. CCJ is the host site of the PGA TOUR’s Sanderson Farms Championship.
Back in 1914, a small group of Jackson businessmen purchased 100 acres off Clinton Boulevard, five miles west of downtown Jackson. Given the travel methods of the day, five miles was a long way to travel, especially for recreational and social activities. Since the Country Club of Jackson was so far outside of town, transportation was provided for people who did not have cars.
In 1958, the Club purchased 400 acres of rolling terrain on the corner of County Line Road and Old Canton, site of the club’s current location. Since the land around the club was now at a premium, members drew straws for lots adjacent to the new clubhouse. When the doors opened in 1963, the Country Club of Jackson quickly became the hub of social activity, not only for Club members, but for the city and area surrounding it. Over the years, the Country Club of Jackson has played host to a bevy of glitterati including: Bob Hope, Bryon Nelson, Lee Trevino, Jack Nicklaus and many more.
In 1998, CCJ added a fitness center which has been expanded over the years and is now a 16,500 sq. ft. modern fitness facility that includes a full-service spa offering the ultimate inn restorative therapy.
As is the case with most private country clubs, golf is the main attraction. CCJ has 27 holes made up of three nine-hole courses; Dogwood, Azalea and Cypress. The Dogwood/Azalea combination makes up the championship course where the Sanderson Farms Golf Tournament is contested. Acclaimed golf course architect John Fought, redesigned the Championship 18 during the 2007-2008 seasons.
The Cypress Course is often referred to as the family nine; there are multiple tee boxes and the course can be played anywhere from 3,500 yards to 1,800 yards for junior golfers. Tee times are not required; just check in at the pro shop and head to the tee!
Dogwood Number 3, Par 5, 471 yards. This hole is your first real good chance at birdie. Aim your tee shot just right of the fairway bunker. From the fairway, longball hitters will have the option of going at the green in two but beware, anything over the green is a tough up and down. Choose a distance for your layup shot that will leave a comfortable shot into the green but beware of the two bunkers that guard the front.
Dogwood Number 6, Par 4, 421 yards. This is an interesting hole that plays easier the farther back you play it. from the forward tees the oak trees on the left side of this dogleg left would require a very lofted tee shot to get over or a well-played hook off the tee to get around. From the back tees, it takes a good poke to reach the dogleg, but from there the hole opens up to a large receptive green with bunkers front right and middle left. There’s a good reason why this is the number 1 handicapped hole on the course. Par is a good score here!
Dogwood Number 8: Par 4, 343 yards. If I were naming holes this would be called Creekside, because of the creek that runs down the entire left side and then crosses the fairway about 120 yards out. Many players will hit something less than driver off the tee. Play your tee shot down the right side of the fairway just short of the pot bunker. Your approach shot is uphill and plays about a half a club longer into a green that is protected by 3 deep bunkers. The left side of the green is open and could provide the best option at par or better.
Azalea Number 1: Par 3, 192 yards. Always fun to start the second nine off with a par 3. The first hole on the Azalea 9 is a long par 3 that plays slightly downhill and a lot tougher than you think. Regardless of where the pin is, play to the left middle of the green as the ball will funnel towards the back right. Since most players miss the green short, front left pin placements seem to be the toughest because the ball will not hop up onto the green. Three traps guard the green and anything long that finds the back bunker spells trouble.
Azalea Number 3: Par 4, 354 yards. Who says a hole has to be long to be challenging? The water tower in the distance is a great line for your tee shot and for most, the pond in front of the green doesn’t come into play. What tends to make this hole so challenging is the approach shot, which is one of the toughest you will find out here. The front of the green is protected by a pond and two bunkers while the back falls away from you. The middle right side of the green may be your best chance to put up a decent score.
CCJ has a very active golf membership including Men’s, Ladies and Juniors golf associations. Director of Instruction, Cory Vincent leads the Club’s junior program which is the largest in the state. CCJ offers year round weekly junior clinics for all abilities and provides multiple golf schools throughout the summer months. They are very active in the PGA Junior League summer program and the CCJ Junior Intraclub League during the Fall season usually fills up quickly. If there’s a junior golfer in the family, you’ll find a welcoming environment for both boys and girls at the Country Club of Jackson.
Each spring in late February, the Country Club of Jackson plays host to The Gator Invitational, one of the premiere junior golf events in the country. The Gator Invitational began several years ago as a high school event played between the top private and public schools in the state of Mississippi. After a decade of growth, this event is now recognized by the American Junior Golf Association with AJGA points awarded and attracts top junior golfers from all over the Southeast.
As you can see from the well-groomed lawn in front of CCJ’s clubhouse, croquet is a big deal and they take it seriously. The game is mentally demanding and is best played two and three shots ahead. There’s a certified croquet director on staff who is available for lessons, tips, and practice play.
Members at CCJ have a wide variety of dining options to choose from. Onyx is the Club’s flagship restaurant and features unique tapas style dishes that are large enough to share. The Onyx menu changes monthly and pushes the limits of CCJ’s creative culinary team. The Magnolia Grill offers family-friendly, casual dining and invites you to come as you are. During the spring you can dine outside on the terrace and watch the golf course come into full bloom. The summer comes to life with live music, Crawfish Boils and themed Sunday dinner buffets, and the fall ushers in the Sanderson Farms Championship as you watch the leaves change color. Thursday nights are reserved for the Downhome Buffet which features comfort food favorites like Fried Chicken, Collard Greens and the best club-made dessert bar you can find.
Like many clubs, the Country Club of Jackson is a popular venue for hosting charity events, tournaments, business functions, banquets and special events. Banquets and special events are held in the Club’s 15,000 square feet of interior function space which can accommodate 16 – 1200 people. the staff at The Country Club of Jackson will attend to every detail of your event in order to make it a success.
This year, the Country Club of Jackson will host the PGA TOUR’s Sanderson Farms Championship from September 16th – 22nd, 2019. For the past few years, the Sanderson Farms Championship has been held the same week as the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in China.
This year and for years to come, it will be a stand-alone tournament, one week after The Greenbrier Classic gets the PGA TOUR season started. It’s Mississippi’s largest professional sporting event. With the upgrade to becoming a stand-alone event, the Sanderson Farms Championship will offer 500 FedEx Cup points to the winner and will play a larger role in the season-long race for the FedEx Cup. The tournament will also have a record purse, up from $4.4 million to $6.6 million, with $1.188 million going to the winner. That’s huge because all of the proceeds go to charity. Last year, Century Club Charities, the host organization for the Sanderson Farms Championship, presented a $1.25 million gift to Friends of Children’s Hospital. This year all of the money raised will go to the Blair Batson Hospital for Children.
For more information on attending or being a volunteer at this year’s event, visit www.sandersonfarmschampionship.com. To learn more about becoming a member of the Country Club of Jackson, give them a call at 601-956-1411 or visit www.ccjackson.com.