If you watched the World Golf Championship-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, which was played at TPC Southwind in Memphis and won by Abraham Ancer, you might say ‘ I’d love to go try my game there’. Well, good luck with that.
Having lived in Memphis many moons ago, TPC Southwind like Memphis, Colonial, Irene and Chickasaw Country Clubs is as private as golf clubs can be. There is however a nice selection of public courses, and if you are visiting the ‘Bluff City’ the best place to play is Mirimichi Golf Course, still in Shelby County just north of the city.
Playing Mirimichi is worth a trip to Memphis. It is a world-class golfing experience and was voted the ninth-best golf course you can play in Tennessee and the Best Public Course in the state by Golf Digest. Once the Big Creek Golf Club, Justin Timberlake, who played here as a young boy, and his family bought the property and invested millions of dollars into the course hiring ASGCA member Bill Bergin to make it a real championship venue and as environmentally friendly as humanly possible. In fact, it is the first golf course to receive Audubon International’s Classic Sanctuary certification as well as the first course in the United States to be certified by the Golf Environment Organization(GEO) Foundation for Sustainable Golf. Timberlake sold the course in 2014.
Mirimichi is a Native American word meaning “place of happy retreat.” The minute you begin to experience the lush surroundings of the place, you can understand the significance of the name. Deep pit bunkers with pure white Augusta sand, elevated large greens that are quick and undulating, swaths of native grassland, waterfalls and meandering streams all provide a harmony of eco-friendly beauty throughout the design.
Upon reaching the property, golfers are met with a lovely well-appointed 10,200 square ft. clubhouse with 2 event rooms, a Cafe’ with a menu of lunch choices and beverages, a well-stocked glassed-in Pro Shop with a great view of the practice facilities. Course designer Bergin created championship practice areas including a massive driving range with target greens, a diverse short game complex, and a large undulating putting surface that mirrors the speed and movement of the layout’s greens. All the holes have Native American names.
The opening hole is a welcoming par 4 with a lake that borders the entire left side with bunkers protecting either side of the peninsula green. The 2nd hole is a straight-away par 5 with a tree-lined fairway and bunkers to avoid hitting into a large green that could produce a birdie depending on your approach shot. The long par 3, 3rd has a large waste area to cover with your tee shot to a receptive green. The 4th is a long par 4 with a cross-bunker to avoid with bunkers left protecting the green that has a steep collection area right. Par is good here and at the par 4 5th that has plenty of waste areas between the tee and green. Good luck! Holes 4-7 parallel each other. Your next birdie opportunity is the par 5 6th that has multiple fairway bunkers and another peninsula green, which provides a risk/reward second shot. Another set of cross bunkers need to be avoided on the 7th par 4 with water down the left and 3 greenside bunkers to play right of. Water can come into play on the 8th, another par 3, playing over 200 yards from the back tees. The #2 handicap hole and the longest par 4 on the front is the straight-away ninth, where only errant shots will give you any trouble.
In my opinion, the inward nine is the better of the two with more diversity and challenges around every bend. Water plays a bigger role particularly around many of the greens. Right off the tee, the 10th, a long par 4, taunts you with a creek cutting across the fairway and skirting down the right. Birdie is in your hands at the mid-length par 3 11th provided you clear the pond in front. The creek on the right continues through the par 5 12th, which is where the fairway leans to an elevated green with 5 bunkers short and left. The 180 yard 13th is similar to its earlier twin three with a small pond. The short par 4 14th is a birdie hole provided you avoid the creek, a small water hazard, and left fairway bunker to a well-protected green. Forget short on the next par 4 with a treelined fairway with multiple bunkers thrown in for good measure. Be happy with bogey. I think they put 15 there to get you ready for the #1 handicap 16th, which parallels 15 with more trees, the ever-present creek meandering down the left to a green caressed by water on the right and rear. The dogleg left 17th is the longest par 4 with, guess what, the creek and fairway bunkers left and forest right to the green with bunkers left and water right. The longest hole at 600 yards is the closing par 5 with a small water carry off the tee, bunkers to the left, bunkers to the right, with a ridge running from front to back on the green. The back will definitely test your game. All in all a great golf experience.
With weekday rates starting at $39 and weekends at $49, Mirimichi offers competitive pricing which includes cart and free range balls. Duffers agree the multiple tee box options allow players the ideal lengths to enjoy their day on the course no matter their ability. Please visit Mirimichi.com to learn more and make your tee time.
One thing about walking in Memphis: You can visit the home of the ‘King of Rock ‘n Roll,’ Elvis Presley’s Graceland; Watch the ducks stroll the lobby at the historic Peabody Hotel; Visit Mud Island in the middle of the Mississippi; or cry the Blues about your game or life at famed Beale Street. And don’t forget to taste the unique flavor of Memphis BBQ. In Memphis you can play around and at Mirimichi.