UnFOREgettable Greens: Mississippi’s Beloved Golf Courses
With spring in full bloom, people across the country are gearing up for a glorious season of golf. If you’re hoping to hit the links in the coming weeks and months, look no further than the state of Mississippi. The Magnolia State is home to well over 100 golf courses, ranging from pristine private country clubs to gorgeous public courses, where you can drive, chip, and putt to your heart’s content. Here are five courses not to miss:
Kirkwood National Golf Club and Cottages | Holly Springs
Nestled in the picturesque North Mississippi town of Holly Springs, Kirkwood has regularly received high rankings from Golf Digest since opening in 1995. The 18-hole, par 72 championship course features six different tee boxes, so it’s well suited to every type of player – from novices to those with decades of experience. The course features lush Bermuda grass fairways that wind through woodlands and around seven lakes, 45 sand traps, and plentifully creeks and elevation changes to keep things interesting. Want to play a couple rounds and make it a weekend? Book one of Kirkwood’s cottages. Each has four bedrooms with their own private bathrooms, a common area and kitchen, plus covered porches in the front and back. Special stay and play packages make it both easy and affordable to enjoy a weekend at Kirkwood.
River Bend Links | Tunica
This former cotton field is now a 6,900-yard Scottish link-style course. Course architect Clyde Johnson describes the course as a “field of dunes,” and the sprawling treeless terrain conjures exactly that. The course’s adjacency to the Mississippi River means it’s not uncommon to see a wild deer, turkey, or fox while playing. The 72-par course was built in 1988 and has delighted thousands of Mississippi golfers and beyond since opening in the northeastern corner of the state near the Mississippi-Arkansas border. Rates start at just $21.50 for nine holes or $41.12 for 18 holes, and annual passes are available for those who live nearby, so the course is as affordable as it is exciting.
The Refuge | Flowood
Located in Flowood, a suburb of capital city Jackson, The Refuge recently underwent a massive renovation with a goal to make the course as playable and fun as possible. The 18-hole course was originally designed by Roy Case and quickly became one of the state’s top public courses. Under the direction of course architect Nathan Crace, the course underwent a complete transformation in 2021, earning it second place in Golf Inc. magazine’s 2021 Renovation of the Year contest. Carved from 200 acres of wetlands, the course is known for its breathtaking beauty, where lakes, creeks, and rolling hills abound. The renovations include implementation of the Longleaf Tee System, a system which strategically expands tee complexes to increase playability and enjoyment for golfers of all levels. For the ultimate experience, book a room at the Sheraton Flowood Refuge Hotel and Conference Center, which includes a med spa, multiple dining venues, rooftop bar, resort-style pool, lazy river, and more than 200 rooms.
Mossy Oak Golf Club | West Point
Voted No. 3 Best New Course in the U.S. by Golf Digest in 2017 and named a Top 100 Modern Course in the U.S. by Golfweek in 2019, the buzz about this five-year-old course is definitely warranted. The vision for this course was set by Gil Hanse, the world’s leading minimalist golf course architect and the mastermind behind the 2016 Olympic course in Rio de Janeiro. Partnering with the George and Marcia Bryan family and outdoor lifestyle company Mossy Oak, the group created a course dedicated to preserving and celebrating the Mississippi Black Prairie habitat. The course, located about 30 minutes from Starkville in West Point, follows the natural contours of the landscape, and each design element was built to heighten golfers’ awareness for the area’s natural features. The course also offers luxury cottages overlooking the 10th hole, where golfers can choose to book a room or the entire cottage starting at just $220 a night.
Grand Bear Golf Club | Saucier
At Grand Bear, find yourself immersed in a world of nature and golf located six miles into the DeSoto National Forest. A Jack Nicklaus signature design, the course opened in 1999 and has been impressing golf enthusiasts ever since with its well-manicured greens, towering pines, and majestic cypress wetlands. Just 35 minutes from the Gulf Coast in Saucier, Mississippi, the course and facilities offer a retreat for those looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life by unwinding on the links. A post-game round of beer and gourmet burgers at the Grand Bear Bar & Grill are a must on any visit. The 18-hole course is said to have the feel of Augusta and the excitement of Pinehurst with a wide array of hole layouts. The outgoing nine skirt the Little Biloxi River, and the back nine show off the area’s stunning live oaks, gum trees, and ancient magnolias.
Get your golf on in Mississippi
Get back into the swing of your swing, and head to Mississippi to experience an incredible selection of courses suited for every skill level. While you’re planning your Magnolia State golf getaway, check out our list of other must-see points of interest by clicking here!