Mississippi ‘Golf Coast’ Lives Up to Its Name

Along 62 miles of scenic Gulf of Mexico coastline, an area boasting captivating layouts designed by world renowned architects produces seven of the Mississippi elite Top 10 in Golfweek magazine’s “Best Golf Courses You Can Play in Each State” for 2017. High-quality courses and attractions sprinkle the entire Magnolia State. Yet nowhere is there a concentration comparable to that on the Golf Coast, tucked between New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama.

Renowned architects Nicklaus, Palmer, Love III, Jerry Pate, Tom Fazio, McCumber, Bendelow and Lafoy have carved their signature layouts along a dramatic stretch of pinelands, lakes and marshes.

It is little wonder why this slice of southern coastal heaven has earned the nickname Mississippi’s “Golf Coast.”

And the experts agree. In Golfweek magazine’s 2017 “Best Golf Courses You Can Play in Each State” — a state-by-state list of the best golf courses across the United States as selected by Golfweek’s raters —the Golf Coast boasted a whopping seven of the Mississippi’s elite Top 10.

Leading the way as the No. 1 golf course in Mississippi is Fallen Oak, home to the PGA TOUR Champions Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic, a Tom Fazio-designed gem that pays homage to the Gulf Lowcountry, with pecan and magnolia groves, and of course a centerpiece of ancient oak trees.

One spot behind Fallen Oak at No. 2 on the Golfweek ranking is Jerry Pate’s The Preserve in Vancleave, a semi-private layout that features holes winding through tall pines on the front side and a back nine where the routing opens up into a neighboring preserve, with several holes bordering wetlands.

At No. 3 is Grand Bear, a Jack Nicklaus signature-designed golf course that features well-manicured greens and secluded fairways that were carved from woodlands surrounding Desoto National Forest, framed by towering pines and natural cypress wetlands.

At No. 6 in the Best of State rankings is Windance Country Club designed by Mark McCumber, followed by Arnold Palmer’s The Bridges Golf Club at Hollywood Casino Bay in St. Louis at No. 7.

Windance CC was designed by Mark McCumber in 1986 and has played host to both the Ben Hogan and Nike tours with past winners including 2003 U.S. Open Champion Jim Furyk, 2006 British Open champion Tom Lehman, and 2005, 2006 Senior Open Champion Alan Doyle.

The Bridges GC at Hollywood Casino is the Magnolia State’s lone Palmer Signature Golf Course and is set on the banks of Mississippi’s beautiful Bay of St. Louis among 600 acres of moss-draped live oaks, stately pines, magnolias and sweeping vistas of saltwater marsh.

Rounding out the Golfweek Top 10 in Mississippi is David Love III designed Shell Landing Golf Club in Gautier at No. 9 and The Oaks Golf Club in Pass Christian at No. 10.

Shell Landing GC has played host to the Web.com Tour and conveniently located 20 minutes east from the Casinos and Hotels such as IP, Golden Nugget, Hard Rock, Beau Rivage, Palace, Harrah’s and others.

The Oaks GC, designed by Dr. Gil Morgan, winds through Mississippi’s native wetlands and timberlands, providing a high-quality golf experience in an atmosphere that enhances the enjoyment of the game. The Oaks has played host to both Nike Tour and Buy.com professional golf tournaments.

Golfweek’s eclectic ranking panel consists of 675 voters from seven countries who rely on 10 criteria to rate a golf course, including overall land plan, variety and memorability of golf holes, conditioning and ecology, and the “Walk in the park test”, which rates the sense of the course as worthy of spending four hours on it. The number of courses per state varies based on supply, population and level of play; and the Golfweek rankings include daily-fee layouts and golf courses accessible via resorts.

Learn more about the numerous outstanding golf offerings along Mississippi’s Golf Coast as well as upcoming summer packages at www.GolfCoast.com.

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Dave Daubert

David, Editor & Feature Writer, has been writing about golf since the turn of the century. He was Managing Editor at a regional golf magazine for 11 years, published in Canada, the IAGTO and a Staff Writer for The Georgia Golf Trail. His insightful perspective brings golf to life.

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