A feature from the IAGTO Directory 2013
Mississippi Golf and the blues – a logical and enjoyable twosome in Mississippi Mississippi is the indisputable home of the blues, country music and rock ‘n’ roll, which makes the state’s musical landscape much like its golf scene. It’s exciting and varied and reflects regional influences. With the creation of the Mississippi Blues Trail a few years ago, visitors to the state can now discover the fact that musicians from Mississippi have been instrumental in not only the birth of the blues, but also the growth and popularity of other musical genres. The song lyrics boast of our history and the beats and rhythms reflect our diverse heritage. The Mississippi Blues Trail, which now features more than 120 markers, takes visitors on a musical journey through the state to sites honouring BB King, Muddy Waters, Son House and more.
Although the game of golf was not born here, famous course designers and architects, such as Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Jerry Pate and Tom Fazio, have come to Mississippi to create challenging layouts. And the experts have weighed in with resounding applause. Golf Digest, Golf Magazine and Golfweek have all rated Mississippi courses as some of the best in the nation. Both the PGA TOUR and the Champions Tour have made Mississippi a regular stop in their schedules; and even competitive amateur golfers come to challenge one another in the International Golf and Blues Experience event hosted each year. You’ll find great golf in Mississippi’s five topographically-diverse regions: the Hills Region’s rolling landscapes; the Delta Region’s open flatlands; the Capital/River Region’s winding waterways and rich history; the Pines Region’s blanket of quiet forests; and the Coastal Region’s sparkling water and Gulf beaches. As you make your way along your own Mississippi trail of golf, stop along the Blues Trail to play and listen. It might not improve your game, but you’ll surely learn more about our musical roots.
The Arnold Palmer designed Bridges Golf Course
Cherokee Valley Golf Club
The Hills Region is home to many exciting golf courses. One of the most beautiful is Cherokee Valley Golf Club, located just minutes from the Memphis International Airport. This par 72 course features a state-of-the-art practice facility which includes a three-tiered driving range, two putting greens and a chipping green. The lodge-style clubhouse features spectacular views of the 9th and 18th greens from both the snack bar and the banquet hall. The Delta Region is defined by its wide, open fields of cotton and quaint, small towns, as well as Tunica, the number one casino destination between Las Vegas and Atlantic City. This region is remarkably flat and contains some of the most fertile soil in the world, as evidenced by the verdant green fairways of its golf courses. It was also fertile ground for the cultivation of America’s only indigenous art form, the blues. As the “Birthplace of the Blues”, the Delta Region has the largest concentration of Blues Trail markers. You should begin your Delta Blues Trail experience at the Tunica Visitors Centre on Highway 61, the entrance to America’s Blues Highway. In addition to the America’s Blues Highway marker, there are four other Blues Trail markers in Tunica. And although most of the golf and high-energy entertainment is centred around Tunica, just south is the state’s blues mecca in the small town of Clarksdale. It’s the home of the historic Delta Blues Museum, as well as Morgan Freeman’s famous Ground Zero Blues Club. Book a tee time at The Links at Cottonwoods, Harrah’s Tunica. This Hale Irwin-designed course offers adventure and fun. It’s a genuine Scottish links-style course with gently-rolling Zoysia fairways and beautifully-manicured greens.
The Links at Cottonwoods, Harrah’s Tunica
The Capital/River Region is a study in contrasts, consisting of both the state’s largest metropolis, Jackson, and small, historic river towns such as Natchez and Vicksburg. Golf layouts range from wide, open flatlands to water-laden fairways. The region’s musical legacy is as diverse as its golf, with blues, rock ’n’ roll and jazz having flourished here. Vicksburg contributed to the blues and jazz heritage as the home of Willie Dixon, known as the “Poet Laureate of the Blues” and jazz piano legend Hank Jones. Jackson played an important role in the development of Mississippi’s musical contributions with several record companies based here in the mid-20th century.
Beau Pré Country Club
The PGA TOUR stops here each autumn at the True South Classic, played at Annandale Country Club in Madison, a Jack Nicklaus-designed private course. In Natchez, Beau Pré Country Club offers a layout that challenges golfers of all levels. 123
The Pines Region is located on the Alabama border and has a powerful golf pedigree. At Dancing Rabbit Golf Club at Pearl River Resort in Choctaw, two courses – the Azaleas and the Oaks – were built on the lands of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. These courses, designed by Tom Fazio and Jerry Pate, have received accolades from Golf Magazine, Golfweek and Golf Digest.
Dancing Rabbit Golf Club
The Coastal Region is an eclectic mix of award-winning golf, exciting musical entertainment, intriguing history, and stunning scenery. Along the beautiful Gulf of Mexico in the Biloxi/Gulfport area lies a chain of glitzy casino resorts, exciting music venues, beachfront condominiums, convenient hotels and, of course, championship golf. The region’s musical culture is closely tied to neighbouring New Orleans with jazz and blues influences. Blues greats Jelly Roll Morton and Bill Johnson lived here in the early 1900s. Yet its musical heritage is more modern than the other regions, with the casino’s world-class performing venues and the renowned Hard Rock Casino’s extensive collection of musical memorabilia. The Mississippi Gulf Coast hosts amateur golfers at the International Golf & Blues Experience, an annual festival of golf and music that spotlights everything the coast has to offer. Additionally, the coast hosts professional golfers on the Champions Tour. The Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic is played each spring at Fallen Oak – named the second-best new upscale course by Golf Digest in the top 10 new courses you can play by Golf Magazine, plus the best course you can play in the state and the second-best casino course in the country, according to Golfweek. Shell Landing Golf Club, in Gautier, designed by Davis Love III, was named the fifth-best new upscale course in America by Golf Digest and the third-best public access course in the state by Golfweek.
Shell Landing Golf Club
Golf and the blues make a logical, and most enjoyable, twosome in Mississippi. Combined with moderate annual temperatures, excellent amenities, and so much to see and do, Mississippi is unlike any other golf destination in the country. Come find your true south and a golfer’s paradise in Mississippi.
For more information about golf and blues in Mississippi, go to www.visitmississippi.org Copy supplied by Mississippi Tourism
Fallen Oak Golf Club
Cover Photo: Terre Blanche Hotel Spa Golf Resort***** â€˘ www.terre-blanche.com
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