Mississippi is a coastal and inland destination with features revolving around extremely fertile soil from the Mississippi River delta. And the big winner between the ground and the moisture is the golf courses. While not everything in the region, these seven golf holes are typical of the breadth and beauty of Mississippi golf. Whether they wander the hills or are based upon the coast, these are courses on which nature places extra foliage and secluded views.
Windance Country Club, Number 15
Boasting impeccable greens and overall conditions, this course meanders through the tall pines, where they are constantly in motion from the breeze. On each hole, the golfer must account for breeze direction and strength. Number 15 is a relatively short par 3, with sand guarding two sides of the green and a small lake that swallows anything short of the landing area.
The Cardinal Course at Diamondhead, Number 6. The Cardinal is part of a 36-hole complex that includes a great learning center with virtually every piece of learning technology. The par 3, 6th looks tame but is anything but. The green is bordered by sand on two sides, a lake on another side. The entry from the cart path drops into the native foliage and adds a demise option for your ball if a bit left and long. After the round, the renovated clubhouse boasts a course-view patio and a more than adequate dining and bar area.
Refuge Golf Course, Number 10
10 is a 405-yard par four with a narrower than normal landing area flanked by foliage with bunkers waiting to swallow your golf ball. Right on the property of the brand new Sheraton Flowood Resort, the original design was re-configured to meander better through the woods and the water features. Over 150 trees were removed to make things less penal. However, as the course winds through the lowlands and trees, things are more playable without detracting from the feel of the topography.
Grand Bear Golf Club, Number 5
As the only Jack Nicklaus signature course in Mississippi with public play, the Grand Bear twists and turns through the 1700-acre forest. No homes, just woods and the natural tilt of the land. Holes are rarely flat and legs in both directions with ups and downs. And like most Nicklaus courses, landing on the green is a real test of skill. The 5th hole is a par 5 that is 603 yards. Unlikely you will get on in two because huge hitters will drift out of the fairway into the sandy native area, making the second shot impossible.
Azalea Course at Dancing Rabbit, Number 4
Ok, you probably will never play Augusta National, yet the Azalea Course is a worthy substitute when in full bloom. Besides the magnificent foliage, the course has many ups and downs that make it more than interesting. Like most holes on the course, the par 3, 4th appears relatively easy. However, account for the elevation drop, a green guarded by sand on one side and the creek and marsh on the other, and it’s a hole that requires a precise shot. From the tips at 7158 yards, the big dog will have to eat twice on this layout.
The Oaks Course at Dancing Rabbit, Number 2
A totally different feel than the Azalea course, the Oaks moves in harmony with the terrain, creeks, and trees. While this course is what you see is what you get, there is still plenty of challenge with the rolling and sloped portions of the course. You need a long and accurate tee shot to avoid the bunkers down the hole, then a long and precise shot to the green. The second hole, a 468-yard par four, will test the metal.
Patrick Farms Golf Club, Number 10
This golf course proves that even a track inside a housing community can have plenty of diversity and challenge. At most, the terrain is gently rolling and greens, while accessible, offer challenging next shots with misses. At 6907 yards from the back, this is not the longest course in Mississippi. The second shot on the 457-yard par 4, 10th hole, is like the rest of the course. It appears straightforward, yet the slightly elevated green and drop-off to the right come into play and the lake on the left.