Biloxi and surrounds make Mississippi’s Gulf Coast a golfer’s paradise
By Carolyn Blackburn | May 5
In some circles, the Mississippi Gulf Coast is known as the Golf Coast, as it’s filled with picturesque and challenging courses that make it an award-winning golfing destination.
Here, planners will find many group-friendly courses for attendees interested in either leisurely play during off-session hours or a fun tournament to further connect with colleagues. Groups can book sessions at the courses, or some resorts offer golf package options such as the IP Casino Resort Spa, which books golf outings at Shell Landing Golf Club and Grand Bear Golf Course, among others.
Following are six great golf course options—located within an hour’s drive or less from Biloxi—that will keep the meeting on par.
The Vancleave-based Preserve Golf Club, a certified Silver Audubon International Signature Sanctuary, is a scenic course with an interesting mixture of holes, according to Chris Champagne, the club’s head golf professional.
“You will use all the clubs in your bag on this par-71 course,” he says, adding skill contests, including longest drive, closest to the pin and longest putt, are big hits during group tournaments.
The Preserve Golf Club, he adds, specializes in custom-designed events to fit the needs of any group, and before or after play, the clubhouse is available for meetings, receptions and meal functions.
“Its back porch overlooking the 18th green is a great setting to have an ice-cold beer, watch golfers or just enjoy the sun setting,” Champagne says.
The Bridges Golf Club, located at Hollywood Casino in Bay St. Louis and named among the country’s top 40 casino golf courses by Golf Digest, is also Mississippi’s only Arnold Palmer signature golf course.
“There is almost a mile worth of bridges—you may even spot an alligator,” says Golf Manager Billy Baumgartner.
He adds, “The Bridges offers on-site golf packages, facilitates group tournaments, and has on-site amenities including a clubhouse, golf shop, beverage cart service, an 11-acre practice facility, meeting rooms and banquet facilities.
“The Bridges is flexible enough to handle any size group, from 50 to 250 people, for luncheons, gala dinners and cocktail receptions,” he says.
Golfers of all skill levels appreciate Diamondhead-based Diamondhead Country Club, which sports 36 holes of championship golf on two courses, the Cardinal and the Pine.
“Diamondhead has been played by familiar names in golf such as Greg Norman and Zach Johnson,” says Chris Altese, head golf professional.
Diamondhead welcomes amateurs as well, and facilitates many corporate outings and tournaments.
After play, golfers are welcome to hang out at The 19th Hole Bar & Grill, and the Emerald Ballroom is available to accommodate meal functions and receptions.
“We also have a beautiful event lawn outside of the Emerald Ballroom that overlooks the driving range and No. 10 of the Pine,” Altese says, adding: “Our food and beverage department will create a menu to suit the needs of each group, whether it’s box lunches, an awards reception/dinner or something in-between.”
The Tom Fazio-designed, Saucier-based Fallen Oak, located 15 minutes outside Biloxi at the edge of DeSoto National Forest and built exclusively for guests of Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, has played host to the PGA Tour Champions Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic since 2010.
“Fallen Oak features more than 1,000 mature oaks, pines and magnolias, forest, marshes, pecan groves and more,” says Apryl Hall, public relations/communications specialist for Beau Rivage Resort & Casino.
She adds groups can count on a personal greeting upon arrival, on-course food and beverage and chilled towels, cart signage, and swing tips at the practice facility.
“Fallen Oak’s practice facilities and clubhouse alone put it among the top courses in the country,” Hall says, adding the 12,000-square-foot clubhouse features a 70-seat lounge, top-level dining and panoramic views of the 18th hole and of the course’s namesake live oak.
Golf Digest once named Gulf Hills Golf Club’s 17th hole among the top five most challenging and beautiful holes in the Southeastern region.
Located in Ocean Springs, this course is great for beginner and pro golfers, as well as first-time and veteran tournament planners, according to Janice Jefferson, director of sales at Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast.
“Group golf outings at Gulf Hills Golf Club are an incredible experience,” she says. “The well-equipped staff is available to help identify dates, set up tournaments and so much more.”
Jefferson adds the club also offers customized golf/hotel room packages with the on-site Gulf Hills Hotel & Conference Center that “alleviate extra steps” for planners.
The Pass Christian-based Oaks Golf Club, named among the “Best Courses You Can Play” by Golfweek magazine, winds through native wetlands and timberlands.
“The golf course is challenging for golfers of any level with five sets of tees,” says General Manager Russ Bloom, adding the course’s signature hole is the par-3 No. 7 over water.
“The beauty of the hole is stunning, and then the golfer realizes they must hit a quality shot to avoid trouble.”
The Oaks is a popular tournament course, complete with a practice facility, event coordinators to help with group outings, and an outdoor pavilion featuring a built-in scoreboard, audio and televisions for post-play receptions or banquets.