Northern Mississippi: Blues, BBQ, and Golf

Not Your Average Golf Trip

If you want to wake up, play 36 holes a day, pass out, and do it again, there are plenty of destinations that will meet your needs.  However, if you’re looking to take a trip that blends high quality, affordable golf with great food and an unmatched cultural experience, there’s one place for you: the Mississippi Delta.

The Music

The Americana Music Triangle includes virtually the entire state of Mississippi.  That’s not an accident of geography; MIssissippi is essential to America’s musical history and its present.

Towns throughout Mississippi celebrate the blues, but nowhere does it quite like Clarksdale.  The home of the fabled Crossroads – where Robert Johnson is believed to have sold his soul for the ability to play the blues – has live blues 365 nights each year.  It’s also home to dozens of festivals celebrating music and the arts, none more popular than Juke Joint Festival held in April.

If you’re up for a drive, you can travel the Mississippi Blues Trail.  Throughout the state, signs marks some of the most significant places in the history of the blues (like Dockery Plantation, above).  If you find yourself wanting to dive deeper into the history of the blues, head to Oxford.  The University of Mississippi’s library is home to the Blues Archives, which you can experience if you phone ahead.  It’s an unbelievably rich collection of materials, including BB King’s personal record collection.

If you love the blues, there is nowhere like Mississippi. 

Must Visit Venues

In Clarksdale: Reds for an authentic juke joint experience

In Oxford: Proud Larry’s for good food and a wide array of musical acts

Must See Museums

In Cleveland: Dockery Farms is the literal birthplace of the blues.  If you love the music, being in the place where it started is a special experience.  The Grammy Museum is also a worthwhile destination for music lovers of all stripes.

In Tunica: Gateway to the Blues Museum boasts a collection of historic guitars that will make your head spin.

The Food

Despite my best efforts, I left Mississippi four pounds heavier than I arrived.  While I was prepared for the southern staples like warm biscuits for breakfast, the quality and variety of cuisine took me by surprise.

Throughout our tour, we were able to find delicious barbecue everywhere we went.  From ribs to pulled pork to brisket, it would have been easy to live on smoked meat alone.  If you’re seeking something a little more gourmet, you can find that, too.  In both Oxford and Cleveland, we ate mouth watering meals cooked by award winning chefs.

When you’re packing for Mississippi, bring those pants with an extra inch or two for the end of the trip.

Must Try Restaurants

In Horn Lake: Memphis Barbecue Company where pitmaster Melissa Cookston demonstrates nightly why she has a restaurant full of trophies.

In Oxford: City Grocery for award-winning versions of classic dishes by chef John Currence

In Cleveland: Delta Meat Market for meat, obviously.  Skip lunch so you can put down the 32 oz ribeye.

The Golf

The names of the courses in Mississippi may not be on all the big lists, but, if they were rating value, many of them would be right at the top.  In particular, Tunica National and the Ole Miss Golf Course stand out.  These courses can be played for around $50.  In most other markets, the greens fee would be well over $100.

Beyond the value, northern Mississippi golf has great variety.  Within a one-hour driving radius, you can play courses that are Tour-ready and courses designed to help the weekend golfer.  The landscapes vary wildly too, from gentle rolling fairways to extreme elevation changes.  Regardless of your taste, you’ll find a course to love in Mississippi.

Course Reviews

Tunica National (coming soon!)

Ole Miss Golf Course (coming soon!)

Cherokee Valley

North Creek (coming soon!)

River Bend Links (coming soon!)

Where to Stay

In Oxford: The Graduate will make you feel like you’re back in school.  It’s near the main square, and the rooftop bar is outstanding.

In Cleveland: The Cotton House, home to the aforementioned Delta Meat Market, for a boutique hotel experience.

In Clarksdale: The Lofts at the Five & Dime puts you right in the heart of downtown.

Go Down to the Crossroads

In northern Mississippi, you don’t need to sell your soul to have a memorable trip.  It’s easy to get to (fly into Memphis), and there are hundreds of things to do within a short drive of each other.  Add in the reasonable cost of golf and it’s an obvious destination for your next golf vacation.

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Matt Saternus

Co-Founder, Editor In Chief at PluggedInGolf.com
Matt is a golf instructor, club fitter, and writer living in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Matt's work has been published in Mulligan Magazine, Chicagoland Golf, South Florida Golf, and other golf media outlets. He's also been a featured speaker in the Online Golf Summit and is a member of Ultimate Golf Advantage's Faculty of Experts.

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3 Comments

  1. Matt you are one lucky guy , goo luck with your golf.

  2. Oxford is my hometown. I’m glad you had a good time here and am looking forward to your review of the Ole Miss course.

  3. I love the blues so this is my kind of golf trip!

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