The Takeaway: The "Shadow Creek of the South," Fallen Oak is MGM's high roller offering north of the gaming town of Biloxi, Mississippi. While not in the same league architecturally as Fazio's effort with its sister course in Las Vegas, Fallen Oak delivers the same exceptional service and conditioning to create the most envied golf experience in the Magnolia State. Grade B+
Designer: Tom Fazio in 2006
Cost: $200.00 - $300.00 (must be a guest of Beau Rivage Resort) Click for current rates
Phone Number: 877.805.4657
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Fallen Oak Golf Club's official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - 24400 Highway 15, Saucier, Mississippi 39574 – UNITED STATES
What to Expect: The high roller golf course of MGM's Beau Rivage Resort and Casino, Fallen Creek is modeled after another Steve Wynn project; Shadow Creek in Las Vegas. Like Shadow Creek, Fallen Oak was designed by Tom Fazio as an oasis removed from the glitzy lights of a gambling town. Both courses offer similar experiences including a limo ride from their respective hotel, personalized name plates in the locker room, celebrity name plates next to yours, immaculate conditioning, caddies, and often more employees on property then there are golfers. Fazio had less to work with on North Las Vegas’ barren desertscape but employed more imagination to create a course that is more compelling to play than Fallen Oak. That isn’t to say Fallen Oak isn’t good, because it clearly is, it just doesn’t live up to the lofty standard of its older brother. Fallen Oak is solid from start to finish, as you’d expect with Fazio, with the front nine offering the more engaging hole designs of the two sides, although the signature 18th is easily the best hole on the entire property and the best finishing hole in the Magnolia State. In fact, the course gets its namesake from this hole where a large oak tree, which is partially fallen, sits on the right side of the driving zone and was commonly used as a meeting spot when Fazio’s crew was constructing the course. The back nine features more movement in the terrain than the front nine but is also routed through denser trees, so getting wild off the tee gets punished quicker. Speaking of tee shots, the bunkering throughout the course is deep and can be a real nemesis off the tee where several bunkers impinge the driving zones. In the end, Fallen Oak clearly offers the best golfing experience in Mississippi which certainly contributes to its lofty rankings on magazine lists, but architecturally it takes the silver medal to the newer Gil Hanse designed Mossy Oak course up in West Point.
By the Numbers
|5 (Red Ladies)||72||5362||71.1||127|
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 18th Hole – 493 Yard Par 4 – Quite easily the best hole on the course, the 18th also makes an argument as the most difficult. The course’s namesake comes from the partially fallen oak tree located right of the fairway and can be reached with a long tee shot. Going left off the tee doesn’t provide any safety as a trio of bunkers await on that line and require players to stripe one down the short grass for any hope of reaching the green in regulation. The left side continues to provide a challenge enroute to the green with a pond and large bunker flanking that side of the putting surface while a small bunker sits near the front right. With a non-scoring club in your hand, some players may elect to just layup and take their chances at getting up and down rather than assuming the risk of a lengthy approach which could yield a big number if things don’t go well. The way the hole bends left and swoops down to the green next to the glistening water pair with the artistic bunkering creates a beautiful setting to play golf.
Best Par 3: 3rd Hole – 224 Yards – A crescent par three wrapping to the left around a pond where the further you tee it back, the more carry you have to achieve to clear the water. The green angles away from the player and affords the most forgiveness on the right side, so if you are between clubs and choose to stomp on the shorter club, don’t even think about attacking a flag on the left side. Both par threes on the front (3rd and 8th holes) play over the water so you need to avoid going short at all costs.
Best Par 4: 10th Hole – 468 Yards – The back nine starts with a very strong two-shotter that will test even the best of players. Large bunkers are found on each side of the driving zone so there is minimal forgiveness afforded off the tee before players find themselves staring at an uphill approach shot. The center of the green is fronted by a bunker and pushes players away from the heart of the putting surface which makes hitting this green in regulation all the more difficult. Reprieve is afforded up the left where the fairway tumbles in from this side and can help move approach shots onto the green. It takes two very good shots to have a look at birdie, so pat yourself on the back if you can manage a par here.
Best Par 5: 13th Hole – 575 Yards – The 13th features a design element that I really like; a dogleg that bends one way while the fairway slopes the opposite direction. In this case, the fairway slowly and steadily bends to left the whole way while the terrain tilts to the right. Bunkers protect left side of the hole in case people try to cheat the distance and attack the dogleg while a pair of bunkers await 75 yards from the green on right side to challenge the layup zone. Getting home in two requires a shot up the left side that fades over to the safe side of putting surface. The uphill approach provides one of the more visually appealling shots on the course as well as challenging given the limited view of the green.
Birdie Time: 7th Hole – 330 Yard Par 4 – Time to get aggressive. Despite the water that flanks the right side of this hole, the 7th delivers an opportunity to score well. If you are on top of your game and can pop a 290 yard tee shot over the fairway bunkers on the right then you will find your ball perched on the front edge of the green with an eagle opportunity awaiting. Two fairway bunkers are found on each side 235 yards from the green where the holes doglegs so whether you play aggressive or conservative off the tee you’ll want to stay short or go long of the sand. Obviously there is more safety left than right, so if you can make a swing that will take the right side out of play then hammer away and make something happen here.
Bogey Beware: 5th Hole – 488 Yard Par 4 – Playing straight south into the prevailing wind, the lengthy 5th can play even longer than the card indicates. Two fairway bunkers sit in the driving zone on left side 275 yards from the back tee box and then a lake picks up where the bunkers left off to protect the rest of the left side all the way to the green. The fairway narrows along the water and a bunker protects the front left of the circular green to provide a difficult approach shot to contend with. With the fairway tilting slightly towards the water, it is easy to have a ball turnover towards the hazard when the ball is pinched without a fading follow through. Be smart here and take the big number out of play.