The Azaleas at Dancing Rabbit Golf Club, Philadelphia, Mississippi ? A Championship Golf Course and Showcase for the Grandeur of the Great Southern Woodlands


The Azaleas course is one of two championship golf courses found at the Dancing Rabbit Golf Club in Choctaw, Mississippi. The Azaleas opened in 1997, and is the product of the design team of Tom Fazio and Jerry Pate, and is said to be a showcase for the character and grandeur of the great Southern Woodlands.

The 18-hole, par-72 Azaleas course plays to 7,128 yards from the Gold Tees, with a USGA rating of 74.4 and a slope rating of 135. From the Blue tees, the course plays to about 600 yards shorter at 6,537 yards.

The course is nestled amid the towering pines and oak trees native to the region, and plays through the rolling hills of east central Mississippi. The course features manicured Mississippi Choice Bermuda tees, Tifway II Bermuda fairways and A4 Bentgrass greens. While the Oaks course is actually considered the more difficult of the two courses at Dancing Rabbit, the Azaleas has also hosted many professional tournaments.

Some of the more noteworthy holes at the Azaleas include Hole No. 8, which is the #1 handicap hole on the course. This par-4 plays to 465 yards from the longest tees and has been called by GOLF Magazine "one of the finest natural par fours in the nation.'' What makes this relatively straight hole so challenging is a fairway that falls off to the right, while being guarded by a large fairway bunker to the left. Stray just a little off the short grass and golfers will find trees overhanging the fairway, blocking approach shots to the green.

Hole No. 9 which follows is no picnic either. Another par-4 that plays to 439 yards from the back tees, this is one of the more picturesque holes on the course. From the tee, golfers must carry the wetlands to a landing area guarded by a large fairway bunker on the right and a pond beside it. From there the approach shot plays to a tricky green guarded on the left by a long, meandering stream.

Hole No. 17 has been called a magnificent risk-reward hole. This par-5 hole plays to 527 yards from the back tees, and features a fairway lined by trees and divided by a stream. The water hazard comes into play at just the right location to make golfers think twice about going for the green in two. The green is big, but narrow, and is said to be full of tricky putts.

The Azaleas course has received its fair share of accolades since opening in 1997, and has been included in a number of golf magazine's Top 100 You Can Play lists. Golf & Travel magazine listed the Azaleas among the country's Top 100 Modern Courses, while Golf Digest ranked the course among America's 100 Greatest Public Courses.

Practice facilities at the Dancing Rabbit Golf Club include a 40-tee driving range and short-game practice area. Lessons are also available.

Right next door is the Silver Star Hotel & Casino and the Golden Moon Hotel & Casino, which collectively offer lodging, casino entertainment, and thirteen different restaurants on site for both casual and fine dining. Music and dancing are also found at the Starlight Lounge, and there's also a spa and salon relaxation center.

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