June 11, 2007
Golf Digest Magazine names Five Mississippi Courses to its ‘Top-40 Casino Courses’ Nationwide;
Two Other State Courses Located Near, but Not Owned by Casinos, Also Honored
800 Golf Digest Panelists Rated Hundreds of Courses in Order to Identify Excellence
(JACKSON, Mississippi) – The Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) Division of Tourism today announces that five golf courses in the Magnolia State have been cited for excellence in Golf Digest Magazine’s first-ever ranking of its “Top-40 Casino Courses” nationwide (July 2007 issue, currently on newsstands).
The five Mississippi casino courses singled out for distinction are:
• Grand Bear (No. 7, Jack Nicklaus-designed amenity of Harrah’s Grand Casino Biloxi)
• Dancing Rabbit Azaleas Course (No. 11, Tom Fazio-Jerry Pate design, Pearl River Resort in Philadelphia)
• Dancing Rabbit Oaks Course (No. 18, Fazio-Pate design, Pearl River Resort in Philadelphia, MS)
• The Bridges at Hollywood Casino Bay St. Louis (No. 32, the state’s only Arnold Palmer design)
• Links at Cottonwoods (No. 36, Hale Irwin design, Grand Casino Resort Tunica)
The 40 best casino courses were selected by the Golf Digest Course Ranking Panel, a group of more than 800 lowhandicap players. Winners were determined by evaluations filed by the magazine’s panel of more than 800 lowhandicap golfers, who judged courses in five categories: Shot Values, Design Variety, Resistance to Scoring, Memorability and Aesthetics. To be eligible, a course must be owned by or share the same ownership as a casino.
In addition to the five Top-40 Casino Courses in the state, two other Mississippi courses – Shell Landing (Davis Love III design in Gautier) and Tunica National (Mark McCumber design in Tunica) – were recognized for their high quality by Golf Digest in a sidebar which was titled “Step Away From the Table: Best Courses Not Owned (But Nearby) Casinos”.
Furthermore, two more Mississippi casino courses, both on the Gulf Coast – Fallen Oak (a Tom Fazio-designed ammenity of Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi) and The Preserve (a Jerry Pate-designed amenity of the Palace
Casino in Vancleave) – likely would have made the Top-40 list if they had received the minimum number of ballots
necessary to qualify. However, because they opened in the latter half of 2006 and the magazine has a multi-month
lead time this was not feasible.
In fact, Golf Digest wrote a special item about Fallen Oak in its Top-40 Casino Courses editorial package citing the course’s high quality and dearth of ballots given its November 2007 opening. “Mississippi is delighted to have many of our casino courses recognized for their excellence by Golf Digest Magazine,” says Mississippi Development Authority Tourism Division Director D. Craig Ray. “Our great state is quickly becoming known as a preferred golf-and-gaming destination worldwide, and we hope this critical distinction will influence more visitors to come see why we’re consistently earning acclaim.
About Mississippi Golf
Mississippi’s 2007 Golf Guide is live and can be viewed by visiting www.visitmississippi.org/golf/ and clicking on
the ONLINE GOLF GUIDE icon.
The state’s 2007 Golf Guide lists information about courses, accommodations and package information, including
breaking down the info into Mississippi’s five diverse topographical and cultural regions:
• The Delta – birthplace of the Blues and comprised of Northwestern flatlands• The Hills – home of gently rolling, Northeastern landscapes
• The Pines – located in the Central-East part of the state and blanketed with quiet forests
• The Capital/River – with its winding waterways and rich history in the state’s Central-Southwest
• The Coastal – located in the South and featuring the Gulf of Mexico’s sparkling water and beaches
Mississippi’s is the nation’s greatest golf-and-gaming tourism destination thanks to the more than two dozen resort
casinos throughout the state, many with acclaimed golf clubs as amenities.
Several more resorts, casinos and new courses opened in 2006 and others are slated to debut in 2007.
• Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Biloxi (Summer 2007 scheduled opening)
• The Preserve Golf Club, a Jerry Pate design and amenity of the Palace Casino
• Fallen Oak, a Tom Fazio design and amenity of Beau Rivage Resort & Casino
• The Dogwoods at Hugh White State Park (Gary Roger Baird design), one of three top-notch courses found
in state parks (Mallard Point and Quail Hollow are others)
Attractions contributing to Mississippi’s growing popularity as a preferred golf-and-travel destination are:
• Great year-round weather and direct flights from major carriers
• More than 150 courses offering all price points and design varieties in five distinct regions
• New and existing courses designed by top golf course architects that garner national recognition
• World-famous cuisine, blues music and luxurious casino resorts offering big-name entertainment
• Family-themed attractions of all types
• Widespread acclaim from the annual PGA Tour golf tournament held in Jackson
• History, heritage and architecture, including Antebellum Era mansions turned award-winning B&B venues.
In addition to being annually acclaimed for its great golf courses and other tourism attractions, Mississippi has
collected a slew of distinctions recently. For instance, ZAGAT Survey, Golf Digest, Golfweek and Golf magazines
have previously rated Mississippi courses as some of the best in the nation.
For more information about Mississippi golf, gaming and other tourism opportunities call 1-866-801-8551 or visit
Golf Digest Magazine names 5 Mississippi Courses
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