Built exclusively for guests at the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino, looking for an exceptional off-campus experience, Fallen Oak Golf Club exceeds expectations.
Just a 20-minute shuttle ride from the Resort in Biloxi, MS, this Tom Fazio design is beautifully laid out among the Southern Mississippi landscape of large oak trees, tall pines and natural wetlands. From the moment you arrive you are greeted and directed to one of the most stunning 19th holes you will see. A giant wall of seamless windows, perched slightly above the 18th green for a terrific way to end your day with a Beer and a Burger. Knowing this is what awaits you, only amps up your anticipations for the rest of the day.
Custom golf carts with seats you barely want to get up from, take you to a beautiful range. You are not a part of a 200 person cattle call at Fallen Oak, nicely spaced tee times make you feel as if you are the only group on the course.
Expecting a nice but slow start to the round, the 1st hole is actually one of the most stunning on the course. A mid-length par-5, dog leg left around a stream and pond, require a good drive and a strategic layup, unless you are feeling confident enough to take on the many bunkers and water near the green. Immediately you feel the speed of the greens and something most of us do not get to experience is greens with a sub-air draining system, usually reserved for the PGA Tour courses (although Fallen Oak has hosted the PGA Tour Champions, multiple times).
The third hole is a mid to long iron par-3 completely over the natural wetlands short and left. But don’t just bail out right to be safe, a significant slope from right to left could propel a frisky chip shot to the back of the green or even the water if not careful. Just three holes in and you can tell it is going to be a special round.
A good mix of shorter and longer holes continues on the front nine, where most clubs in the bag come out. My favorite one coming in was the par-4, 6th hole. A classic risk/reward hole of only about 290 yards but slightly down-hill with the fairway sloping to the green. The risk lies on both sides with marshland protecting the right side all the way up to the green and two deep bunkers protecting shots hit too far left. A well struck driver or 3-wood could give you less than 40 yards into this tricky green.
After a quick pit stop at the turn to catch the view of the impending 18th, the back nine quickly showed that it would feature a bit more elevation changes than the front nine. The 10th hole has a fairway the creates a valley on your approach and the 11th and 13th holes (par-4 and par-5) play up the hill.
The par-3 14th hole is a short but deceiving shot. Well bunkered, our pin was on the right side of the green which was protected short and long by sand. Be accurate or have an awkward lie from off the green and be thrilled with bogey.
Finally, you get to play back down the hill on the par-5, 15th hole. One of the most visually stunning holes of the back nine. This reachable par-5 (with a good tee ball) bends a little to the right and appears to have a lot of room for a miss, but the right side, short of the green is not very flat and plays significantly below the green, while left will be a crap shoot of missing small pods of trees. A birdie hole, but only on two or three well executed shots.
If you are able to successfully navigate the challenging and up-hill 16th and 17th holes, you get to enjoy the unmatched view of the 18th hole. The fallen oak the club is named after is obvious down the right side. The clubhouse in the distance reminds you of that is to come, but there is no relaxing for the next 10 – 15 minutes as the longest par-4 on the course will take all of your skill to complete at par or even bogey. After a good drive the green sits below the fairway with water and bunkers protecting the left and another green that slopes from right to the water will challenge any miss short or right of the green.
Let’s just say we all made par on 18 (wink, wink).
Fallen Oak provided one of the most stunning golf experiences our group had ever seen and matched it with a clubhouse and friendly service that puts this on the list of must plays not just on the Mississippi Gulf Coast but throughout the Southeast. It is worth the splurge and heck, you might even win your greens fee and more back as you finish your night off at the Beau Rivage Casino.