It’s been a while since I last found myself in Mississippi, but it’s not because I don’t like the place. Quite the opposite, in fact. I love the Magnolia State, everything about it. The people, food, music, culture, and you guessed it, golf.
While I was more enamored with big whitetail bucks, largemouth bass, and hunting ducks in flooded time when I was a kid, my love for Mississippi has become deeper and wider.
Through my own exploration and experience, and the people I’ve met in my time here, I’ve come to realize there’s really no place quite like it.
I’ve also come to think the only two things people here go nuts for more than golf, might be church and college football.
It’s in that spirit that I’ve come up with a list of the ten best public golf courses. Of course, I didn’t do it all alone; I reached out to our Golfer’s Authority readers too.
So, grab a Dr. Pepper, slice of moon pie, sit back, and enjoy.
Grand Bear Golf Club
If you find yourself in the community of Saucier and only have time for one round of golf, it should be at Grand Bear Golf Club.
As its name would suggest, Jack Nicklaus designed this modern track that winds through bayous and the De Soto National Forest.
Opened in 1999, it didn’t take long for Grand Bear to receive critical acclaim from golfers far and wide.
No two holes are alike here, and most are separated from each other. There aren’t any houses or major roadways nearby either. You’ll feel at one with nature when you play here.
The layout is one of big features. Sprawling landing areas are guarded by expansive bunkers and penalty areas that eat up wayward shots.
While the course might look quite tough on paper, it’s playable for everyone. Most greens allow you to run the ball in, and multiple tee boxes suit everyone’s needs.
An unparalleled experience in the heart of the low country, don’t miss a chance to play Grand Bear.
Mississippi State University Golf Course
You guys know I’m a huge fan of golf courses that are tied to universities. That’s why I couldn’t pass up a chance to play the track at Mississippi State University last time I was in the area.
This Brian Ault design opened in 1985. It’s proven a stern test for the game’s best players, as well as a wonderful recreational addition to the community of Starkville.
By modern standards, this course isn’t overly long. It measures less than 7,000 yards from the back tees. However, narrow fairways and tricky, undulating greens give it some teeth. Make sure your misses are to the fat sides of the green if you want a reasonable shot at making par.
While you’re here, take in the sights and sounds of the MSU campus. It’s bustling with life and will likely take you back to that special time years ago when you were in college.
Shell Landing Golf Club
A true bang for your buck can be found at Shell Landing Golf Club. From what our readers have to say, the quality of this track isn’t at all reflected by its modest price.
The course is located in the community of Gautier, and both waterfront and forested backdrops make for a most pleasant setting.
Unlike a lot of courses in Mississippi, you’ll experience some changes in topography here. Expect some uneven lies in the fairways, and changes in elevation on approach shots.
The layout is a traditional one. Holes move in both directions and placing your shots strategically is the key to scoring well.
While you’re here, take advantage of all the other amenities too. The clubhouse includes locker rooms, a full-service pro shop, and a restaurant that serves up the most delectable southern cuisine you’ll find anywhere.
A must play that won’t disappoint.
Mossy Oak Golf Club
If there’s a name that’s paved the way for modern golf course design, it’s Gil Hanse. He was the brains behind Mossy Oak Golf Club.
In 2017, Golf Digest called this track the “#3 Best New Course in the U.S.” In 2019, Golfweek said it was a “Top 100 Modern Course.” That’s some lofty praise.
In many of his designs, Hanse puts an emphasis on incorporating the natural terrain into the layout. That’s certainly the case here.
The course is wide open and blends seamlessly into the Mississippi Black Prairie. Large expanses of native grasses separate holes. Rolling dunes provide enough contour to make for some fun and challenging shots.
I’ve played here once, and I can’t wait to get back for more. I’m not the only one.
Grove Park Golf Course
Grove Park Golf Course has a long and storied history. In recent years it had fallen on hard times and conditions had waned.
However, that all changed when this nine-hole gem underwent an extensive renovation and re-opened for play this past summer.
Even with the drastic improvements that have been made, Grove Park still exudes old-school charm. The fairways are narrow and the greens small. Expect a few quirky bounces and some tricky breaks.
This is also one of the cheapest rounds you’ll find anywhere. And it more than exceeds expectations.
The people of Jackson are tickled to death that Grove Park has been revived. And they can’t wait to share it with you.
Elm Lake Golf Course
Championship golf in the town of Columbus doesn’t get any better than Elm Lake.
Measuring nearly 7,000 yards from the back tees, you’re sure to hit every club in your bag when you play here.
The layout is a traditional one. The fairways are tree lined and ask you to play strategically from the tee. Water can be found throughout the course as well. It makes for some demanding approaches into greens.
The course’s condition is second to none too. Bermuda fairways and greens are immaculate.
Elm Lake is understated but should be played when you’re in the Columbus area.
North Creek Golf Club
Tracy May designed North Creek Golf Club. It opened for play in 1998.
This course is linksy meaning that it offers something different from a lot of other courses in the area.
The layout is open and traverses rolling hills. While water comes into play on a number of shots, you most often have the option to use the course’s contours to place your ball where you want it.
If you play here in the afternoon expect the wind to blow. The playing conditions are usually more challenging than in the morning.
This isn’t the longest course, but it’s wide variety of holes will both challenge you, and afford opportunities to score.
North Creek is a breath of fresh air.
Wedgewood Golf Club
Wedgewood is located in the town of Olive Branch. But it’s just a short drive from Memphis, Tennessee.
This is yet another traditional layout that places an emphasis on precision and accuracy. While you can hit driver on a number of holes, your best bet is usually to play for position.
Ask anyone that’s played golf in this area, and they’ll tell you that greens here are some of the best you’ll come across. Year round, they’re fast and true.
Player’s rave about the service here as well. The staff go out of their way to make everyone feel welcome. Southern hospitality at its finest.
At Wedgewood, the experience is a complete one you won’t forget any time soon.
The Refuge Golf Course
Since it opened years ago, The Refuge has been considered one of the better golf courses in Mississippi. However, it’s been improved upon in recent years, and its reputation has skyrocketed.
If you’re a low handicapper, this track will challenge you from the back tees. But there are plenty of other tee grounds to accommodate players of all abilities.
Carved from 200 acres of native wetlands, water is a common theme here. As such, keeping the ball in play is essential.
With that said, the fairways and landing areas are generous. If you make aggressive swings at conservative targets, you’ll be just fine.
If you’re looking to stay and play, this is a great spot. The lodging accommodations are first-rate and in close proximity to the course.
The Oaks Golf Club
The Oaks Golf Club is one of the premier experiences on the Gulf Coast.
Carved from majestic forest and native wetlands, this is one of the more scenic courses in the state.
Along with water, strategic bunkering and undulating green complexes give this course plenty of character and exceptional shot values.
While this track might seem like a brute at first glance, it’s playable for everyone. Even though trouble lurks, there’s plenty of room if you execute solid shots.
A blast to play and the crown jewel of Biloxi, you’ll want to play here more than once.
Mississippi is known for a lot of great things. Food, hospitality, college football, and culture to name a few.
What you might not realize is that the state is rich with great golf too. And the best part there’s something for every budget, taste, and preference. You need to come find out for yourself.
I want to extend a warm thank you all of our loyal Mississippians that contributed their insight to this article.
If you have your own thoughts you’d like to add to this article, drop us a note below in the comments.