You’ve heard of Golf & Blues Mississippi Style for a while, now it’s time to Jazz it up with a visit to The Big Easy, the largest port city in the USA immersed in French and Spanish Creole and of course most well-known for its many festivals including the carnival of all carnivals, the one and only Mardi Gras! Bucket lists are made up of many different things for different people. I don’t know too many people that don’t like to have fun (and don’t want to) enjoy a few cocktails and some live music. If any of those tickle you fancy the Bourbon Street in the heart of New Orleans French Quarter needs to be on your bucket list!
On a recent media trip we caught up with the annual Golf & Blues Music week in Biloxi, Mississippi for a couple of days before moving over to New Orleans, Louisiana (NOLA) for a few days of superb golf on TPC of Louisiana (home of the PGA’s Zurich Classic), English Turn Golf Club and Lakewood Shores – both of latter which have also hosted the Zurich over the years as well as many other PGA and other high profile events. There are certainly many other courses close by NOLA to round out your golf vacation here.
We recommend that any stay & play in New Orleans have its base within walking distance to the French Quarter. Drive to golf, but walk to bars and restaurants and you will be grateful that you did as you will get caught up in the good times that are to be had!
There is a reason why tourism is one of the staples of the city and maybe even the State’s economy…music, not only Jazz but Blues, Cajun, and Zydeco too! Festivals too many to name but Jazz Fest is one my favorites! Culinary treasures… you will find some of the finest chefs in the world in NOLA. There is so much more!
Some of our favorite things to do:
- Never a dull moment walking Bourbon Street or anywhere in the French Quarter for that matter.
- Jazz at the Royal Sonesta Hotel
- Dueling pianos at Bobby O’Brien’s – have a Hurricane if you dare.
- Supercharge your breakfast experience at the world famous Café du Monde – if a sugary beignet doesn’t get you fired up nothing will.
- Eat, drink, some sleep, more eat more drink…get it!?!
You are not going to find much in the way of elevation changes on the NOLA courses but they will test your game to the limit.
TPC Louisiana: A Pete Dye masterpiece open to the public, named #4 best upscale public course by Golf Digest. The fairways of the Mississippi Delta lined with stately cypress and oaks wind through natural marshes and wetlands while protecting natural habitat. A wonderful balance of golf holes including a tempting series of shorter risk/rewards challenges with one of the finest finishing holes in the game!
English Turn Golf & Country Club: A Jack Nicklaus design that has watery graves coming into play on just about every hole! This unique design incorporates massive waste bunkers as hazards and, in some cases, to protect you from perfecting the dreaded ball retriever grip. Numerous grass depressions, mounds, and white sand bunkers also protect meticulously sculpted fairways and greens as you meander your way to large tiered greens. DO NOT leave English Turn without spending some time in the Clubhouse – the bar area is preferred by Traveling Golfer. Hint – the gumbo is to die for!
Lakewood Golf Club: Award winning architect Ron Garl has recently completed a multimillion dollar upgrade to the original course which played host to the PGA Tour’s New Orleans Open for 26 of its 50 years. New modern tees, adding contouring to the fairways, unique bunkering and new greens add to your experience while having preserved the character of the original course.
Circling back to the heartland of America where our Jazz Blues Golf with the Memphis, Mississippi and New Orleans trifecta began puts us on America’s Blues Street – Beale Street. Rich in music history with Graceland, Sun Studios, Rock’n Soul Museum and the Stax Museum of American Soul just to name a few. Beale Street itself bellows with the sounds of the Blues.
Of course a visit to Memphis would not be complete without a stay at the iconic Peabody Hotel, go ahead and spoil yourself, just once. Wrap yourself in some of the fluffiest towels before your Mint Julip while watching the famous Peabody Ducks is the only way to start my visit to Memphis! Beale Street and so much more just a short walk away.
The golf in the Memphis area is pretty darn good says this Traveling Golfer after doing some research. Most golf fans would know of TPC Southwinds as hosts of the FedEx St. Jude Classic and maybe some have heard of Mirimichi Golf Club, formerly owned by Justin Timberlake. Mirimichi is the #1 public golf course in Tennessee and this is an absolute, absolute, absolute MUST play if you are ever close. Highest green fee is unbelievably at only $55.00 – did I say this is a must play?
A rumor that I heard was that while the St. Jude Classic was on, most tour players would hang out at a nearby Glen Eagle Golf Course. The course is part of a US Navy support base, a solid golf course from tee to green but the greens is what this course is all about. If you can putt these greens you can putt any greens, thus the tour player attraction. Something like $30 – $40 gets you on here.
Two other course of note in the suburbs of Memphis are:
Quail Ridge Golf Course: a semi private course designed by a Pete Dye protégé of 15 years, David Pfaff, and has hosted qualifiers for the PGA FedEx St. Jude Classic.
Stonebridge Golf Club: is a beautiful tree lined George Cobb design. Cobb is well known for his countless designs throughout South Carolina but best known for “Amen Corner” at Augusta National.
Right in Memphis you will find The Links at Galloway a very well maintained course. 6,000 yards par 70 which has just undergone a multimillion dollar renovation. One of the best public courses in the city.
* All 3 of the above course you can get on to for under $40.00
Heading southbound into Mississippi, you’ll find a wide array of golf and blues to satisfy any green or blue palate!
The Gateway to the Blues in Tunica, Mississippi leads you into the Delta region of the State which is rich in blues and blues history. Take the Blues Highway 61 to Hwy 49 and you are at the Crossroads in Clarksdale, home of the Shack Up Inns, the Delta Blues Museum and Morgan Freeman’s Ground Zero Blues Club. Course of note in the north of Mississippi are Tunica National, Cherokee Valley and The Dogwoods at Hugh White State Park in Granada.
A little further south and just off Hwy 61 you will find yourself in Indianola home of the B.B. King Museum a must stop for the Blues enthusiast.
Other must stops for golf in the state are Dancing Rabbit Golf Club as part of the Pearl River Resort in Choctaw. Two Fazio/Pate designs that are as good as it gets. Stay & play in the $130.00 range! Bargain!
Coming in the Fall of 2016 is a new addition to the Old Waverly Golf Club family will be the Mossy Oak Golf Club in central Mississippi will be a notable stay & play destination, only 1.5 hours from Dancing Rabbit.
Of course the Mississippi Gulf Coast has just about anything anyone could want on any vacation. 20 plus golf courses designed by the finest in the game. A dozen casinos to light it up 24/7, southern cuisine to satisfy any palate, spas, the arts and historical attractions, the Gulf of Mexico, beach, water and outdoor adventure activities and of course breweries popping up everywhere.
For general Mississippi information www.visitmississippi.org
For one stop shopping visit www.jazzbluesgolf.com