- Address13541 Hwy 16 W, Philadelphia, MS 39350, USA
Developed by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, the two 18-hole layouts operated by Dancing Rabbit Golf Club at Pearl River Resort are late 1990s co-designs by Tom Fazio and Jerry Pate. The Azaleas came first, debuting in 1997, with the slightly shorter – though tougher – Oaks course following two years later.
The heavily wooded courses are built on ancestral land belonging to the Native American tribe, with the waters of Wolf Creek coming into play a number of times on the Azaleas course, most notably on the 453-yard 3rd, the 456-yard 12th and 527-yard 17th, where the creek encroaches on both the fairway and the green.
Interestingly, the agronomic make-up of the two Dancing Rabbit 18-hole layouts are completely different – the Oak s features Zoysia fairways and Bermuda greens whereas the Azaleas has Bermuda fairways and A-4 Bentgrass greens. Combined, the courses extend to more than 500 acres, with five miles of wandering creeks adding both beauty and challenge.
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.”
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Course ArchitectView All
Born in the northwestern suburbs of Philadelphia, Tom Fazio entered the business of golf course architecture as a teenager in 1962, assisting his uncle George in course construction.