by Sam Joseph
The only things that go better together than gambling and winning are gambling and golf! With the summer in full swing, golf courses at casinos are popular attractions. We have done the research to provide you with a snapshot of some of the finest casino courses in the South. Many of them rank among the finest in the nation and will add the perfect touch to any gaming adventure. So, here we go … FORE!
Belterra Casino Resort & Spa
Course: Belterra Casino Resort
Designer: Tom Fazio
Head Pro: Ty Robinett
Price Range: $95 – $110
Tee Times: 1-888-BELTERRA or visit BelterraCasino.com
Signature Hole: No. 18: 522 Yards – Par 5
Course Overview: Designed by one of the most accomplished designers in the world, Tom Fazio, Belterra’s course is second to none. Named one of the top five new upscale public courses by Golf Digest, this par 71 layout will give you all you want. The course is lined with over 2,200 trees and provides picturesque views of the Indiana ridges and horizon. Challenging bunkers and water hazards will test your ability to keep your ball in play and your scores low. The course has received many accolades, including holding the Best Casino Golf Course Award from Southern Gaming for multiple years.
Course: Chariot Run Golf Club
Designer: Bill Bergin
Head Pro: Jeff Krohn
Yards: 7,169 Yards from the Championship Tees
Price Range: $47 – $63
Tee Times: 1-877-316-7336 or visit caesarsindiana.com
Signature Hole: No. 18: Cleopatra’s Cup – 533 Yards – Par 5
Standing on this tee, you will think that clearing the water is impossible. A creek runs in front of and up the entire right side of this fairway with most shots naturally bouncing towards trouble, making for an exceptional challenge off the tee. The hole moves slightly to the right and is all uphill making this picturesque par-5 a challenge. Trying to reach it in two will be tough as the green is protected by a pond on the right side and a bunker on the left. This hole is a good par five from start to finish and a great way to finish your round.
Course Overview: Chariot Run is a links style, equestrian themed golf course that offers four sets of tees for every playing ability. Each hole is named for ancient Roman themes like Roman’s Release and Caesar’s Revenge. The course offers over 7,000 yards of bent grass greens, tees and fairways making for a pleasurable playing experience. There is also a 5,000 square-foot clubhouse with a fully stocked golf shop, restaurant and bar, and rooms to host corporate events.
French Lick Resort – Casino
Course: The Donald Ross Course at French Lick
Designer: Donald Ross
Head Pro: Dave Harner
Price Range: $75 – $110
Tee Times: 1-888-MY-HIDEAWAY or visit FrenchLick.com
Signature Hole: No. 16: 151 Yards – Par 3
Course Overview: Test your game on the newly restored Donald Ross Course at French Lick. Originally constructed in 1917 by world-renowned architect Donald Ross, the legendary course has been home to many regional and national tournaments including the 1924 PGA Championship. Ross is revered for his links-type courses with deep green?side bunkers and severely undulating greens. The course has experienced an incredible $4.6 million transformation in collaboration with the Donald Ross Society. Course highlights include thirty-five bunkers and square and rectangular-shaped greens.
Grand Victoria Casino
Course: The Links at Grand Victoria Casino
Designer: Tim Liddy
Head Pro: Jeff Weales
Price Range: $35 – $59
Tee Times: 1-800-GRAND-11 #2 or visit Grandvictoria.com
Course Overview: The Links at Grand Victoria Casino is Southern Indiana’s only true Scottish links-style golf course. This Tim Liddy-designed gem features gently rolling bent grass fairways and greens nestled among traditional long waste bunkers, winding lakes and heather rough. Many holes boast panoramic views of the Ohio River Valley.
With several newly expanded tee boxes, you can play the tees most appropriate to your game (5,600 yards from the front tees or 6,800 yards from the “tips.”) Be sure to ask about the new GPS equipped carts, they are a definite help. Before or after your round, peruse the fully stocked pro shop, take advantage of locker room and shower facilities, grab a bite from the snack bar or just relax on the spacious covered patio.
Grand Casino Resort
Designer: Hale Irwin
Director of Golf: Matt McNeil
Yards: 7,000 Yards from the Championship Tees
Price Range: $69 – $89
Tee Times: 1-800-WIN-4-WIN ext 6078
Signature Hole: No. 16: 181 Yards – Par 3
Course Overview: Designed by golf pro Hale Irwin, the gently rolling par 72 course recalls the feel of legendary Scottish links. Over half of the holes border water and more than 80 traps crop up when least expected. Each hole is themed with different flowers, shrubs and other plantings. The course sparkles with three lakes, one a full mile long bordering several holes. Landscaped paths wind through the course and over scenic wooden and ledge rock bridges. With its eclectic mix of idyllic surroundings and dramatic challenges, Cottonwoods provides the quintessential setting for the serious player, as well as the novice.
Hollywood Casino Tunicaâ??Sam’s Town Tunicaâ?? Resorts Tunica
Course: River Bend Links
Designer: Clyde Johnston
PGA Pro: Jesse Weeks
Yards: 6,923 from championship tees
Price range: $50 – $60
Tee Times: 1-888-539-9990 or www.riverbendlinks.com
Signature Hole: No. 17: 205 Yards – Par 3
Course Overview: The only true Scottish links course in the Mid?South, with lakes, bunkers and mounds galore, River Bend offers a unique round to the area at the right price. Bermuda fairways and rough and bent grassgreens make for an intriguing round that is sure to give even the seasoned golfer a challenge. The signature hole has a beautiful picturesque view from the tee and is almost always into the wind and over water. An elongated green can mean up to a three club variation from the tee and leaves minimal room for error left or right.
Tunica National Golf & Tennis
Course: Tunica National Golf and Tennis
Designer: Mark McCumber and Associates
Head Pro: Buck Matheny
Yards: 7,210 yard, par 72
Price Range: $27 – $58
Tee Times: 1-866-TEE-OFF1 (1-866-833-6331) or visit www.tunicanational.com
Signature Hole: No. 18: 443 Yards – Par 4
Course Overview: An exciting par 72 championship 18 hole course located in The South’s Casino Capital, Tunica National Golf and Tennis has a 360 degree driving range, 6 hole practice course, five sets of tees, strategically placed water hazards and bunkers, uplink GPS in every cart, PGA professional instruction, first-rate customer service, and is managed by KemperSports. The signature hole is located on a peninsula and the golfer must hit over water and avoid sand traps to finish this challenging test of golf. Water surrounds the fairway with a draw being the ideal tee shot, setting up a mid-iron to the bunker-laden green. The strategically-placed bunkers combined with two separate water hazards make par an outstanding score on this finishing hole.
Pearl River Resort
Course: Dancing Rabbit Golf Course-The Azaleas Course
Designer: Tom Fazio & Jerry Pate
Head Pro: Sean Racki, Director of Golf, Mark Powell
Price Range: Daily play range from $57 to $109 with discounted hotel packages available, call
Tee Times: 1-866-44PEARL or visit www.dancingrabbitgolf.com
Signature Hole: No. 9: 439 Yards – Par 4
Course Overview: When NFL great Mike Ditka played this course he called it a “rare jewel…if you don’t enjoy Dancing Rabbit, you probably won’t enjoy heaven either.” Each of the 18 holes bears the indelible mark of Fazio and Pate and retains the character and grandeur of the great Southern woodlands from which they were masterfully carved. Only ten years old, The Azaleas Course has immaculately manicured Mississippi Choice Bermuda tees, Tifway II Bermuda fairways and A4 Bentgrass greens and is consistently listed among one of the top courses in the country. The club also boasts a stately antebellum mansion for its clubhouse and pro shop, and has bedroom suites upstairs for guests. It is located one hour northeast of Jackson, MS near Philadelphia and Meridian.
Pearl River Resort
Course: Dancing Rabbit Golf Club-The Oaks Course
Designer: Tom Fazio & Jerry Pate
Head Pro: Sean Racki
Director of Golf: Mark Powell
Yards: 7,076 from Championship tees
Price Range: $57 to $109 with discounted hotel packages, call
Tee times: 1-866-44PEARL or visit www.dancingrabbitgolf.com
Signature Hole: No. 17: 177 Yards – Par 3
Course Overview: The Oaks opened in June 1999 to critical acclaim from the golf media and is consistently highly regarded in top publications, who tout it as the finest course in the South. With an Augusta National-like setting, it differentiates itself from the Azaleas course with Tifway II Bermuda tees and supple Meyer Zoysia fairways. In addition to the spacious plantation club house, a Hilton Garden Inn will open on the property in the near future, making both courses ideal for business retreat meetings. Like its sister course, The Oaks has no official signature hole but the par-3 17th is unusual as it is guarded in front by a menacing rock rampart that has rejected many a ball on what appears to be an easy shot.
L’Auberge du Lac
Course: Contraband Bayou Golf Club
Designer: Tom Fazio
Head Pro: Billy Rase
Price Range: Call Pro Shop
Tee Times: 1-337-395-7220
Signature Hole: No. 17: 196 Yards – Par 3
Course Overview: Contraband Bayou Golf Club, designed by world-renowned golf architect Tom Fazio, compliments the lowland marsh features of the natural Louisiana environment to enhance a unique 7,000 yard, par-71 championship golf course. A combination of aquatic and natural vegetation on the edges of eight spectacular lakes challenges golfers of all skill levels. This enjoyable course is the only public Fazio course in Louisiana; that means your tee time is just a phone call away. ProLink GPS in every cart will help improve your game and the skilled team of employees offers an unmatched level of friendly guest service.
Beau Rivage Resort & Casino (Biloxi)
Course: Fallen Oak
Designer: Tom Fazio
Head Pro: David Stinson
Price Range: $200 – $300 *Exclusive for Beau Rivage Guests.
Tee Times: 1-877-805-4657 or visit FallenOak.com
Signature Hole: No. 18: 493 yards – Par 4
Course Overview: Described by many as “heaven on earth,” Fallen Oak is a $40 million golfer’s paradise. Recognized by Golf Magazine as one of the Top 10 New Courses in 2006, every hole on the 510-acre course is another masterpiece of world-renowned designer Tom Fazio. Stretching almost 7,500 yards, this course is exclusively available for the guests of Beau Rivage and features a SubAir drainage system which vacuums moisture out of the greens, providing an optimal environment. This drainage system is also found on courses such as Augusta National in Georgia and Harbor Town in Hilton Head, South Carolina. The greens are Tiff eagle Bermuda grass, 419 Bermuda grass in the fairways and zoysia grass flanking the bunkers. In building the course, the team transplanted more than 1,000 oaks, magnolia, pine and other hardwood trees. They imported more than 3,500 tons of Ohio?based Tour Grade Signature Blend bunker sand by barge down the Mississippi to Mobile, Ala. and then trucked it to the site. Fazio also designed MGM’s Vegas jewel, Shadow Creek, claimed as one of the best courses in the world. Fallen Oak will rival any course, anywhere, anytime, as the finest and most-unique settings of them all.
Grand Casino Resort (Biloxi)
Course: Grand Bear Golf Course
Designer: Jack Nicklaus
Head Pro: Mike Buckley
Price Range: $50 – $65
Tee Times: 1-888-5-BILOXI
Signature Hole: No. 17: 450 yards – Par 4
Course Overview: The 18-hole, Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course is one of the most spectacular in the entire South and instantly catapulted Mississippi’s Gulf Coast into the major league of premier golf destinations. Grand Bear takes you through all its majestic beauty, exquisitely sculpted amid protected wetlands and a pristine Mississippi forest of towering pines, natural cypress wetlands, secluded fairways and impeccably manicured greens. Grand Bear has the feel of Augusta and the excitement of Pinehurst, with packed pin needle rough, championship greens and deep bunkers. There are five different tee levels of play: Grizzly Bear, Golden Bear, Brown Bear, Black Bear and Teddy Bear.
Palace Casino Resort
Course: The Preserve Golf Club
Designer: Jerry Pate
Head Pro: Chris Champagne
Price Range: $90 – $120
Tee Times: 1-877-MSGOLF9 or visit www.PreserveGC.com
Course Overview: Designed by U.S. Open Champion Jerry Pate, three words describe it all-undisturbed, unparalleled and unbelievable! Eighteen-hundred acres of nature conservancy preserve surround the course, providing for a relaxing round enjoying only the sounds of nature. The sanctity of the dedicated preserve flows onto the Tifdwarf greens and its spectacular native species are carefully integrated into the layout of the course. Five sets of tees provide a strategic golf experience, both challenging and enjoyable. The highest levels of course conditioning, amazing amenities and superior service will provide you with a quality afternoon at the links.