The Takeaway: The treasure of golf in the Magnolia State, Mossy Oak is reason alone to find yourself in Mississippi. With onsite accommodations, a highly compelling course design, and sister track Old Waverly to add to the mix, Mossy Oak is the perfect destination for a buddies golf trip that is sure to please. Grade A-
Designer: Gil Hanse in 2016
Cost: $130.00 ($20 for a cart) Click for current rates
Phone Number: 662.524.1000
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Mossy Oak Golf Club's official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - One Mossy Oak Drive, West Point, Mississippi 39773
Accolades: Ranked 1st in Mississippi by Golf Course Gurus.
What to Expect: Mossy Oak is the first course in the United States that Gil Hanse designed after completing the Olympic Course in Rio de Janeiro that crowned Justin Rose with the gold medal in 2016. The collaborative effort of George Bryan (founder of Old Waverly) and Toxey Haas (found of Mossy Oak apparel) together with 80 founding members, Mossy Oak is a minimalist design laid out on former pastureland featuring less than 20 trees and over 100 bunkers. The course is built for walking with a caddie, though carts are available and are included in the green fee that is half the cost in winter and summer compared to the standard rate. The routing features wide fairways, big greens, and native grasses scattered throughout which make it very possible to play your entire round with the same golf ball; unless you dunk it into one of the two ponds founds on the course. From a comparison standpoint, Mossy Oak looks and feels similar to Erin Hills though it doesn't have as much elevation change. The course is a ton of fun to play with several ½ par holes, top shelf bunkering, and engaging hole designs that requires strategy at every moment. The green surfaces steadily slope in directions rather than featuring big undulations like you might find in a Tom Doak or modern Jack Nicklaus design, which is nice for getting consist rolls and feeling like you have a legitimate chance of rolling a putt in. The majority of greens at Mossy Oak are plenty fair, but the fairness level teeters on the driveable 3rd hole before falling off the cliff on the par five 12th hole that shuns approach shots off the front edge faster than a Gore-Tex Mossy Oak jacket sheds water. Variety is the spice of life and Mossy Oak comes through strong in that category with par threes ranging in length from 145 - 250 yards, par fours from 299 - 476 yards, and par fives from 523 - 622 yards while also managing to shape the holes left and right as well as run them different directions; exactly what you want for variety sake as well as to contend with windy days. Mississippi State University's campus rests 20 miles southwest of the course and are given a dedicated practice facility to enjoy as they begin utilizing Mossy Oak more as a home course rather than the current facility in Starkville. Lastly, when you come to Old Waverly and Mossy Oak you do so with the intention of staying the night and absorbing the whole experience. In fact, the stay-and-play rate is the same, or cheaper, than showing up to play as a daily guest. The onsite cottages feature a spacious common area with four individual rooms coming off of it with each room featuring two queen beds and boasts the perfect setup for a buddies trip or overnight tournament.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 17th Hole – 523 Yard Par 5 – The largest, most memorable bunker on the entire property looms in the distance on the 17th hole. At just 523 yards from the back tees, this is a scoring hole that should be taken advantage of. The tee shot features three fairway bunkers on the right which are generally out of reach from the back tees but can be a factor for longer hitters playing one of the forward sets of tees. The King Kong sized bunker comes into play on the second shot and stretches a mighty 80 yards long while owning the area short and left of the green. Finding yourself in this bunker is an early death sentence on the eve of Mossy’s final hole and quickly takes birdie out of play for most golfers. Avoid the bunker and you will have a golden opportunity to score well on this hole despite the long and narrow green, but if you find yourself in the half acre high faced pit, you’ll be wondering when the last time you updated your will.
Best Par 3: 11th Hole – 250 Yards – Playing over the southern corner of the larger of the two water ponds at Mossy Oak, Gil Hanse counters the easy 10th with the intimidating par three 11th. All carry from tee to green, the protractor shaped green is fronted by water across the straight front edge while three bunkers await beyond the rounded back portion of the putting surface which can set up a dreaded downhill sand shot to a green with water just beyond the edge. The further forward you play the less intimidating the carry as it opens up the bailout area left of the green. The steadily sloping putting surface sets up challenging strokes with the flat stick when coming from the side or above the hole. It isn’t uncommon to see players card a birdie three on the 10th hole and follow it up with a double bogey five on the 11th.
Best Par 4: 3rd Hole – 299 Yards – Perhaps the hole that players will remember the most, and want a chance to play again, is the devilish 3rd hole. On paper this hole looks like a pushover with less the 300 yards to cover but that oversense of comfort is exactly what can lull you into a bad decision. The tee shot plays uphill to a smallish green surrounded by five bunkers with the behemoth trap at the front left garnering all of the attention. A poorly executed tee shot is any ball that ends up in that bunker and suddenly leaves players with a mostly blind bunker shot to a crowned, firm green. Most players won’t finish on the putting surface after their first attempt as they hit it fat and leave it in the bunker or catch it thin enough to scoot passed the far side of the green. This bunker reminds me a lot of the greenside sand found on the short 6th hole at Pacific Dunes. Driving this green requires a draw shot through the opening afforded between the bunkers and is successfully paced for the firm conditions.
Best Par 5: 7th Hole – 607 Yards – Every hole I start writing about reminds me of how much I loved teeing it up at Mossy Oak, and the 7th is another excellent example of why. This big dogleg left hole features a straightaway tee shot that disappears to the bunkerless fairway below. A creek extends across the low spot of the fairway but would take a 350 yard poke to reach from the back tees. A speed slot is afforded up the left side and the fairway begins bending at the creek, so the ideal tee ball takes advantage of the tumbling left side while staying short of the water to set up a chance to reach the green in two. The hole ascends back uphill enroute to the putting surface which is protected by two greenside bunkers on the left and another large bunker 60 yards short of the green on the right. When considering your shot into the green, you have to be honest with yourself on your strengths and weaknesses. From the left side of the fairway there is more green depth to play with which is forgiving on distance control but penalizing on accuracy. From the right side of the fairway there is much less depth forgiveness, but all of the green width is afforded in case your ball comes out a bit crooked. The sweeping, larger than life aspect of this hole with the various features made it one of my absolute favorites at Mossy Oak.
Birdie Time: 10th Hole – 311 Yard Par 4 – After finishing the front nine with the shortest and easiest par three on the course, Mossy Oak hands players another olive branch to start the back nine with this driveable par four. The fairway plays with a baby dogleg right bend that effectively reduces the yardage if you take the correct line just left of the tree framing the right side of the hole. You have to be quite accurate on that line to avoid the bunkers protecting the right side of the green, so if you want to take the safer strategy then hitting a big cut that starts left of the fairway bunkers opens up the angle to the green. A straight ball left of the fairway bunkers has a good chance of skipping through the firm fairway into the long grass on the far side. If driving the green isn’t in your game, then laying up on the left half of the fairway opens the ideal line into the putting surface and takes the heavily protected right side out of play. No matter which strategy you employ, this is a great chance to take a stroke back from Old Man Par.
Bogey Beware: 2nd Hole – 485 Yard Par 4 – Gil Hanse wastes no time putting you to the test at Mossy Oak with this par four that measures out just under 500 yards. The hole plays dead straight on a westerly path with no chance to cut corners or catch a downslope to reduce the yardage, so you have to just gird up your loins and take this beast head on. While the fairways at Mossy Oak are generous, the 2nd boasts trouble on each side with bunkers scattered up the left and a tree line marking the northerly course boundary framing the right. If you go far enough left you may find yourself in the 5th fairway which runs parallel the opposite direction. From the fairway you will likely find a non-scoring club in your hand as you attempt to reach this green in regulation with you confidence not at full strength yet. This is a demanding approach to have on your fourth full swing of the day but you’ll need to summon up everything you can to execute a shot that avoids the bunkers and properly accounts for the firmness of the ground; a tough task that most aren’t able to do.