This combination is the primary appeal of the region as a golf vacation destination: places like Myrtle Beach and parts of Florida have more golf but fewer attractions, while Vegas has less golf with tons of other amenities, and between the two is the Gulf Coast, offering a complete package. Casino hotels range from the humble to the opulent, there is great offshore fishing and watersports, and plenty to do off the golf course. When it comes to casinos, most “second tier,” non-Vegas destinations are a bit hokey, but these properties are truly nice, with standout spas and restaurants, like the contemporary facilities and luxurious rooms at the Hard Rock, or the Beau Rivage, which would feel perfectly at home smack in the middle of the Las Vegas Strip.
Based on all of this we have decided to speak with Chris Chamapgne the head golf professional at The Preserve Golf Club in Biloxi to find out what he thinks of the area and what makes is so special. Chris had some interesting things to say when we spoke to them about both his course and the area:
What style would you consider the The Preserve Golf Club, and can you give a brief description of the course?
The Preserve Golf Club is a modern style golf course designed within a true Nature Preserve. We are bordered by 1800 acres of a federally protected nature conservancy. The 2 nines are different in the fact that the front nine meanders through cypress swamps, live oak groves while the back nine is integrated through pitcher plant bogs, long leaf pine savannah and native grass parries.
Tell me about what you feel are the signature holes on the course. Describe what makes it special.
Our signature hole is the Par 3 16th. It measures 225 yds. from the championship tee and up to 154 yds. On the red tee box. There is a severe slope in the green that will either feed your ball back to a back pin location or f the pin is on the front level it may send your ball rolling far away from the pin.
What are some of the accolades the courses have received?We have consistently been ranked as the #2 golf course in the state by Golfweek and we opened Golf Digest ranked us as the 6th best New Course over $75 in the country!! We also are a member of Audubon International and have one of the highest honors of being a Certified Silver Audubon International Signature Sanctuary!!
Being a golf professional in the area, what are some of the other courses in the area you would recommend and tell me a little about what you enjoy about them.When my true friends come into town, I would take them to play a couple of other courses besides The Preserve Golf Club. Those courses are Grand Bear, Windance G&CC and Fallen Oak. I love Grand Bear’s layout – it is a Nicklaus design and I love the separation between holes there. Windancew is an older – “country club” style course but it is ALWAYS in great shape. Fallen Oak in a modern Tom Fazio course that hosts an annual Senior PGA event.
Name a couple of restaurants in the area that you would recommend that maybe the golfers may not be aware of.
As for watering holes – it all depend on what you are looking for. If you are into being around a big crowd and good live music I would go to 875 at The Beau Rivage. If you are looking for a true “whole in the wall” I would try The Julep Room – Elvis used to frequent this basement style lounge when he spent his time on the coast. We have a few really good restaurants in the area – again all depending on what kind of food may interest you – We have one of the BEST Sushi restaurants I have ever eaten (I have eaten at a BUNCH of them around the country) it is called Chef Scott and it is a local favorite. If you are looking for some god fresh seafood it would definitely be Mikey’s on the Bayou – they have homeade onion rings and oysters on the half shell are always fresh (in season) that are out of this world!!
Tell us about what you think makes the Biloxi / Gulfport area specialFirst and foremost is the slower pace lifestyle. I couldn’t imagine being in a big city with all the traffic and fast pace – “rat-race” day to day lifestyle. I also love to get out on the water and venture out into the open water occasionally. There is a boat launch 5 minutes from my house and I am able to get out whenever the job and the weather permits. The cost of living is extremely low and this bodes well for new families looking for opportunity. The area is growing at a substantial pace and this can only mean good things for the area in general. Last but definitely not least is the quality of golf in the area. We have several great golf courses designed by all the greats (Jerry Pate, Arnold Palmer, Tom Fazio to name a few) all within a 30 minute drive of “casino row” on the beach.