Mississippi is often cited as a hotspot for exploring authentic music, literature, cuisine and history. As the birthplace of America’s music and home to attractions celebrating rock ‘n’ roller Elvis Presley, bluesman B.B. King and country pioneer Jimmie Rodgers, it’s easy to focus on the state’s larger-than-life legacies.
Professional and amateur golfers know Mississippi for its major competitions: the annual PGA TOUR Sanderson Farms Championship at the Country Club of Jackson, the PGA TOUR Champions Rapiscan Systems Classic at Fallen Oak in Saucier, and the North Mississippi Classic on the Web.com TOUR, which debuted at Oxford Country Club in 2018. The state is only one of five to host three PGA events.
More than 140 public and private courses designed by some of the sport’s biggest names highlight the diverse geography of the state, from the rolling Hills and Pines regions to the varied landscapes of the Capital/River region and the wide vistas of the Delta and Gulf Coast. The roll call of premier designers who have courses in the state includes legends Jack Nicklaus, Tom Fazio, Arnold Palmer and Jerry Pate.
Mississippi’s full portfolio of private and public courses has plenty more to offer golfers of all skill levels.
Here are our top five golf courses in Mississippi for golf lovers.
Mossy Oak Golf Club, West Point
The Magnolia State’s newest course, Mossy Oak Golf Club, aims to give players a full-sensory, immersive outdoors experience. Designer Gil Hanse partnered with Mossy Oak and the George and Marcia Bryan family on his first design since the Olympics, described as “nature’s golf.” Fitting with Hanse’s minimalist approach, his latest course winds 18 holes through the natural landscape, preserving and accentuating the Mississippi Black Prairie’s native plant species. Players can enjoy several 360-degree views of the entire 7,212-yard property while playing the par-72 Scottish links-style course.
Old Waverly Golf Club, West Point
Old Waverly, the sister course to Mossy Oak, has a long history with professional golf. The club hosted the 1999 U.S. Women’s Open and will welcome the 2019 Women’s Amateur Championship. Built on gently rolling terrain to the vision of designers Jerry Pate and Bob Cupp, the course is highlighted by the signature 18th hole, a 445-yard par-4 dogleg left with water along the left side. The course is ranked second in the state by Golf Digest and currently No. 43 on their “100 Greatest Public Courses” in the U.S. Lodging packages are available at Old Waverly’s cottages, condos and villas, affording golfers a resort-style getaway with the opportunity to play two world-class courses in one location.
Fallen Oak Golf Club, Saucier
Built on the picturesque Mississippi Gulf Coast by MGM-Mirage as an amenity for guests of Biloxi’s Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, Fallen Oak has racked up accolades for its dramatic bunkers and inviting greens, offering surprising changes in elevation for a coastal course. Highlights of this Tom Fazio-designed fairway include a 600-yard 15th hole and a heavily contoured, par-4 18th hole for a dramatic finish. Fallen Oak was ranked No. 1 in the state by Golf Digest, GOLF and Golfweek, as well as the second-best casino course in the country and No. 16 on the list of top 100 resort courses, both by Golfweek. It is without a doubt one of the best golf courses in Mississippi.
Preserve Golf Club, Vancleave
The diverse landscape of Mississippi’s inland coastal plain gives The Preserve an adventurous feel. The course is a Certified Silver Audubon International Signature Sanctuary, a distinction on display as 6,774 yards of course wind through a 245-acre tract of cypress swamps, longleaf pine savannah and live oak groves. Designed by U.S. Open champion golfer Jerry Pate as the home course of Palace Casino Resort, this par-71 course was ranked second by Golfweek and eighth by Golf Digest in their respective “best in state” lists.
Dancing Rabbit, Philadelphia
Charming and challenging, the two courses at Dancing Rabbit at Pearl River Resort—the Azaleas and the Oaks—span ancestral lands of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. Each of the 36 holes at Dancing Rabbit bears the distinctive touch of course architects Tom Fazio and Jerry Pate, but individual touches make both courses essential stops. Golfers will find a combination of Bermuda tees and fairways with TifEagle greens on the Azaleas, while the Oaks features a classic combination of Bermuda tees and Meyer Zoysia fairways.
If you’ve enjoyed reading about the best golf courses in Mississippi, click here to read up on the best places to play in New York or here to get a definitive list of the bucket-list courses in California.
See also: Five Best Golf Courses in Texas