Nestled among the towering pines and oak forests in the rolling hills of east central Mississippi is one of the southeast’s most acclaimed golf clubs – Dancing Rabbit Golf Club, which is conveniently located next to Dancing Rabbit inn.
Within this lush environment are two award-winning, par-72 courses, the Azaleas and the Oaks. Combined, the courses encompass more than 700 acres over five miles of meandering spring-fed streams – an exquisite setting that accentuates the beauty of the courses while adding to the difficulty of play. Each course covers 7,000 yards from the championship tees and offers five different sets of tees to accommodate every level of play.
Both courses were created by acclaimed golf course designer Tom Fazio and PGA great Jerry Pate. The Oaks Course features Zoysia fairways and Champion Bermuda grass greens, while the Azaleas Course features Bermuda fairways and A4 Bent grass greens. Most importantly, both courses have managed to preserve the character and grandeur of the great Southern woodlands from which they were masterfully carved.
Azalea Course at Dancing Rabbit Golf Club
The Azalea Course is the older and slightly more decorated of the two layouts. It features Bermuda fairways and smooth, quick bent grass greens. On both golf courses, the one-shotters feature elevated tee shots while the par-fives for the most part will entice long hitters with tantalizing risk-and-reward options.
In Golf Magazine’s Top 100 Courses You Can Play book by Brian McCallen, the author states: “It’s difficult to single out feature holes on this seamless, flawless 18 that opened to instant acclaim in 1997. The quartet of one-shotters, three of which plunge sharply downhill, are exceptional.
The 8th hole, rated the toughest on the course, and stretching to 465 yards from the tips, is one of the finest par fours in the nation. The driving area is generously wide, but the approach must be rifled into a chute of trees, the green tucked deep in the woods and well-defended by bunkers.
“The 9th and 18th holes, both testing par fours graced by strategic water features, are memorable Nassau nightmares that can make or break a match. A pure golf experience unsullied by real estate, Dancing Rabbit is anchored by a clubhouse described as ‘the house your grandmother should have lived in’. It’s a three-story, plantation-style brick structure with high ceilings and two wrap-around verandas overlooking rolling, wooded hills.”
Oaks Course at Dancing Rabbit Golf Club
Opened in June 1999, The Oaks at Dancing Rabbit Golf Club is the most recent addition to the resort. The Oaks course is a wonderfully crafted and excellent quality parkland layout. Unlike Azalea Course however, the routing follows an out-and-back design, with a half-way house conveniently sited as far out from the clubhouse as you can go, alongside the 10th tee. Each hole is attractively characterised by towering pines, oaks and many other tree varieties, creating impressive tree-lined avenues to play through.
Arguably the Oaks offers a bit more space from the tee than you’ll find on the Azaleas course. The holes are also solidly defended by stylish bunkering; this time grass-fronted rather than sand-faced. At the par-4 6th, par-5 16th and testing par-3 17th, a small rocky bluff attractively adds extra definition to the holes. Small fountain-adorned ponds are also brought into play alongside a few of the expansive greens.
Surrounded by pristine woodland, the Oaks course doesn’t offer too much in the way of scenic vistas, except of the holes themselves, which are indeed handsomely crafted.