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Mississippi growing as elite golf and gaming destination25 August 2014
(PRESS RELEASE) -- Mississippi continues to rank as not only one of the largest gaming destinations in North America, but a mecca for golf and gaming. While the Magnolia State may not have the bright lights of Las Vegas or Atlantic City, it does offer attributes that every golfer covets: Year-round temperate weather with green fees that won't bust your budget.
Free from the arid heat of southwestern summers or the biting chill of northeast winters, golfing and gambling go together in the True South like shrimp and grits.
GOLF Magazine released its highly-respected list of "Best Courses You Can Play" last week and two Mississippi casino courses appear in the Top 35 of this biennial ranking of the 100 best public-access courses in the U.S. In fact, Mississippi's five highest-ranked courses were all partners or amenities to highly acclaimed casino resorts in the state:
With more than a dozen gaming venues, The Gulf Coast is where much of the state's golf and gaming action takes place and Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi is one jewel in the Golden Coast crown. Overlooking white sand beaches, Beau Rivage is a massive, 32-floor resort that houses an endless supply of activities under one roof. National entertainment acts, a salon and spa, shopping, and of course plenty of slots, tables games and high-limit lounges can all be found within the 3.2 million square-foot space.
Available exclusively for guests of the resort is Fallen Oak, which ranks as the 30th best course in the country according to GOLF Magazine and is perennially ranked the No. 2 Casino Course in the U.S. by Golfweek, second only to Shadow Creek, its renowned sister MGM Resorts International course in Las Vegas.
The "Fallen Oak" experience is memorable from the very start when a limo transports your group to the Tom Fazio-designed course at the edge of DeSoto National Forest. From there, golfers challenge themselves on the same manicured greens as pros on the Champions TOUR - Fallen Oak hosts the annual Mississippi Resort Classic, which has been won in recent years by Fred Couples and Tom Lehman. Finish next to the namesake "fallen oak" on the 18th and head back to the resort for an evening of gambling, live entertainment or relaxation.
Also on the Gulf Coast is Harrah's Gulf Coast Casino, Hotel and Spa. The modern décor, Mix & Mingle lounge and huge outdoor pool at the resort make it perfect for young adults. Harrah's nearby signature course is Grand Bear Golf Course, a Jack Nicklaus Signature layout. The greens meander through protected woods and wetlands, serving up a sometimes challenging but always enjoyable playing experience. Harrah's also offers a number of group golf packages to take advantage of stay-and-play buddy trips.
Resting on the Back Bay of Biloxi is the stylish IP Casino Resort & Spa. The 70,000 square-foot casino space is home to 1,700 slots and 60 table games. Plus, two AAA Four Diamond restaurants, a full-service salon and spa and well-appointed rooms guarantee a luxurious stay. The resort's equally lavish partner golf course is Shell Landing. Unlike many low and flat coastal courses, the course stretches from thick pine trees, to marshlands and grassy savannahs with varying elevation changes throughout - giving you a sample of topography you won't find anywhere else on the Gulf.
Golf and gaming destinations in Mississippi are not limited to Biloxi. Further north, between Jackson, MS and Birmingham, AL is Pearl River Resort. Owned by the Choctaw Indians, this sprawling property provides maybe the best bang for your buck. Billed as "Vegas with Sweet Tea," three casino hotels, a water park and two golf courses highlight the fun to be had.
Dancing Rabbit Golf Club puts two of the South's best golf courses together. The Azaleas course ranked just behind Fallen Oak to come in at No. 32 nationally - and amongst the country's best casino amenities. Its sister, the Oaks Course, was deemed the 4th best in the state by GOLF Magazine in the same issue. Tom Fazio and PGA great Jerry Pate worked together on both courses to create a pair of championship designs in the rolling hills of central Mississippi.