My pal Reed Hughes called me a few days before the golf team and I were going to the Old Waverly Invitational graciously hosted by The Bryan family, Old Waverly and of course the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Reed had a Titleist demo day scheduled at Old Waverly the same day we were driving up from Hammond. He suggested we try and play the newly opened Mossy Oak golf course across Waverly drive.
Reed generally doesn’t have too many good ideas but this turned out to be quite the gem.
We get into town and check into our cottage on the 10th hole at Old Waverly. What a spot, but that’s for another time. I take the guys over to the Bulldog practice facility adjacent to Mossy Oak.
We check into the hunting camp style golf shop and away we go. The terrain for the course was a perfect canvas for architect Gil Hanse to create his masterpiece. My first impression was the course reminded me of the Olympic course in Rio also designed by Hanse. Lots of closely mowed areas framed by native areas waiting to run your score up.
As I bogey one and Reed makes routine par, we make our way to the second tee and tee off with about 10 horses watching us from the neighboring property. The course looks wide open as there’s definitely a links type feel to it. However, any loose shot will be penalized as the native grass and perfectly placed bunkers are waiting for the wayward shot.
I really enjoy this style of golf where the ball is played along the ground. There are very few forced carries, and there are plenty of chances to bounce the ball onto the greens. Around the greens is closely mowed, so many options for short game shots are available to the player. False edges and contoured greens are the main defense of the course as one’s touch on the short shots will be tested.
As the day went on, Reed and I began to understand how special the course is and will mature to be. Elevation changes are part of the property. From the seventh tee box, you can see the entire golf course and what a beautiful site it is.
As we made the turn, Reed had found his groove with his swing and especially putting stroke. A near hole in one on the short par three ninth did me in on the front side. I took time out to take the guys back to our cottage where they started in on cooking dinner. I love this trip as we all get to stay together and do our own cooking. Lots of fun and lots of team bonding.
The back nine is as good as the front and the fun holes just kept on coming. The par fives for we normal golfers aren’t reachable until you get to the 17th. However, two short par fours, number 3 and 10, give the aggressive player the opportunity to “go for the green.”
Perhaps the best hole was the last. A demanding, long par four with a green that features a false front. A sharp drop off to the right of the green awaits those playing away from bunker and water hazard on the left.
The most interesting part of the day was when I learned the mission of the course by the partners. As I mentioned Gil Hanse, George and Marcia Bryan, and Mossy Oak have preserved and protected all natural habitat of the property. Mossy Oak is a pioneer in preserving natural habitats across the country. Gil Hanse is a leading golf course architect and his work is known for also being environmentally sensitive. And of course the Bryan family have been instrumental in developing a world class facility for the people of our area.
The threesome have collaborated on not only a wonderful golf course but also a approach to golf course design and maintenance to follow. Stay and play packages are available, and I highly recommend you adding this trip to your bucket list.