As part of a fantastic golf vacation to Mississippi we stayed at Pearl River Resort in Choctaw (also known as Philadelphia) Mississippi and enjoyed two outstanding rounds of golf, a delicious dinner, and some gaming in the Casino. Where in the world is Choctaw you ask, well it's about 90 miles northeast of Jackson, Mississippi. Pearl River Resort is the Southern United States' premier gaming and entertainment enterprise and it consists of the Golden Moon Hotel & Casino, Silver Star Hotel & Casino, Dancing Rabbit Golf Club and Inn, and the nearby Geyser Falls Water Park. Pearl River Resort is an excellent golf destination with a variety of stay and play options and the two spectacular courses. When we arrived and saw the gigantic golden ball jutting high in the sky and the walkway across the highway joining the Golden Moon and Silver Star, we sensed that we were in for a special treat - and we weren't disappointed.
Pearl River Resort is owned and operated by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians which are one of the United States' original nations and the only Federally-recognized American Indian tribe living within the State of Mississippi. They are 10,000 members strong and the Choctaw land covers over 35,000 acres in ten different counties in Mississippi. The Band operates a diversified portfolio of manufacturing, service, retail and tourism enterprises, which also includes the Bok Homa Casino located in Sandersville, MS.
We checked into our room at the Inn at Dancing Rabbit, which is short walk from Pearl River and adjoins the parking lot of the Dancing Rabbit Pro Shop and Clubhouse. The Inn has 140 hotel rooms and I loved the very comfortable king bed with plush bedding - I slept like a baby!
Our room also had a spacious bathroom, 32 inch flat screen, alarm clock with MP3 capability, microwave, mini refrigerator, coffee maker and an iron and ironing board. The ergonomically designed workstation with a Herman Miller Mirra chair and complimentary Wi-Fi was perfect for the little bit of work that I had to do.
Shortly after checking into the Inn we walked down to the Silver Star Resort & Casino for dinner - wow, what a spread we enjoyed at Phillip M’s, the only Mississippi casino restaurant to earn Wine Spectator’s coveted “Award of Excellence.” After our dinner, there was no question from our perspective why Phillip M's won such a coveted award. Our meal started with the Seafood Tower which had oysters on the half shell, plump juicy shrimp, lobster tail, snow crab, and king crab legs - all of which were fresh and delicious. In addition to that, we were served crab cakes, fried green tomatoes, and small lamb chops plus a rich seafood soup! After devouring all of the appetizers, I should have gotten up from the table and gone home but I didn't - I had a delicious and tender filet followed by a huge piece of cheese cake. I left filled to the brim and when I got back to Texas and jumped on the scale it registered much higher than expected and I'm sure I heard "you set a new record, what have you been eating pudgy?" Silver Star also has a award winning steakhouse plus casual dining with pizzas and sandwiches and a large buffet with a wide variety of options.
In addition to several dining options, Silver Star has 503 guest rooms, 84 suites, and a 90,000 square foot casino with 40 table games including Craps, Blackjack, Roulette, Mini Baccarat plus over 1,200 slot machines including video slots, video poker and video Keno in addition to a high-denomination slot area.
I was stuffed after that delicious dinner at Phillip M's and needed some exercise before heading to bed - so we went into the Casino hoping I wouldn't go home with a full stomach and an empty wallet. Lo and behold I actually won enough to buy a few beers and immediately went to the brand new and state-of-the-art Sports Book at the Timeout Lounge. What a setup for sports enthusiasts - 20 TVs with feeds to all the major sports networks including all NFL Sunday Ticket games; 12 state-of-the-art odds/wager boards listing all the games and scores; comfortable chairs; 3 wager stations to place in-person bets; full bar with “Bar Juice” charging stations for tablets and phones; and traditional sports bar food and drinks. After a few beers and several wild bets, I was down $20. So I caught the shuttle back to the Inn at Dancing Rabbit (I didn't think I could carry my full tummy up the slight hill) and immediately plopped into bed!
Dancing Rabbit Golf Club is home to two championship award winning golf courses - The Oaks and The Azaleas - which were carved out of 700 acres of rolling terrain with towering pines and oak forest by Tom Fazio and PGA great Jerry Pate. The Oaks Course features Zoysia Fairways and Champion Ultra dwarf greens, while the Azaleas Course features Bermuda Fairways and Tif Eagle Ultra dwarf greens. Both courses have managed to preserve the character and grandeur of the great Southern woodlands from which they were masterfully created and over the years they have won several awards and accolades, some of which included:
More than five miles of the Dancing Rabbit streams (named after the Dancing Rabbit Treaty) meander through the property that has an Augusta National like look and feel. It's not surprising that Golf Magazine labeled The Azaleas as “The Augusta You Can Play.” The Azaleas is very scenic and when the Azaleas are blooming it's stunning! The first hole got a big "wow" as we stepped up to the tee box- the only "wow" on our trip so far. And as good as that first hole was, all the others were equally impressive! The Azaleas Course is the older and slightly more decorated of the two layouts. It features Bermuda fairways and smooth, quick bent grass greens. What an excellent layout that is fair but challenging with perfect conditions, beautiful scenery, and everything that makes golf both fun and challenging - dog legs, risk reward opportunities, elevation changes, sloping fairways, strategically placed bunkers, creeks, and challenging green complexes. Read our review of The Azaleas at Dancing Rabbit Golf Club to see why we rated it a 9.5 out of 10!
As good as The Azaleas is, I think (it's a very hard call) I liked The Oaks a little better. But I can't pinpoint why - each course has a different feel from the other and each has it's own unique personality and characteristics. The Oaks is the newer of the two courses and it was built on more rocky terrain and the fairways on the Oaks are more narrow than the fairways on the Azaleas and if you miss the fairway on either course you're in deep trouble. Like The Azaleas, The Oaks is home to perfect conditions, elevation changes, creeks and bunkers, and excellent greens - plus it's beautiful and a round of golf here is calm, majestic, peaceful, and tranquil! It just doesn't get any better! The Oaks requires some good tee shots to avoid the combination of native vegetation, bunkers, and winding streams and to give you the best angle of attack into the greens. Check our our review and rating of The Oaks Course at Dancing Rabbit, which we also rated 9.5 out of 10!
It's hard to miss the Golden Moon Hotel & Casino with it towering giant golden ball jutting high into the sky! Inside the gigantic ball was a restaurant but it was closed for renovation when we visited. The Golden Moon has a dramatic architectural ceiling, warm cove lighting, colorful decorative fixtures, and beautifully designed carpet that pays tribute to the Choctaw culture with a contemporary spin.
The Golden Moon is home to a 70,000-square-foot gaming floor with 1,150 slot machines (several of which now have my quarters), 25 table games, an elevated 14 table poker room, a stunning video wall, and a new center bar. In addition, the Golden Moon is has 600 rooms including 112 suites and 33 VIP suites; a new infinity pool with cabanas and day beds; a fitness center, spa, and saloon, and a variety of dining and drinking options; and lots more amenities.
Common to both Silver Star and Golden Moon is the Geyser Falls Water park a few miles down the road. The Waterpark is a 23 acre family amusement center featuring:
What a fun couple of days with two world-class casinos, two award-winning golf courses, marvelous restaurants, comfortable accommodations, an exquisite spa, infinity pool and fitness center, and exceptional venues for meeting and special events plus the Southeast’s #1 water theme park - all of which makes Pearl River Resort the perfect place for a golf stay and play! You need to go out of your way to enjoy a stay and play at Pearl River Resort.
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