The national championship was televised worldwide at Old Waverly Golf Club. It was designed by Jerry Pate, 1975 U.S. Open champion, and opened in 1988. Fast forward to Friday morning. Bryan, Toxey Haas, and the 76 founding members officially opened Mossy Oak golf club. Mossy Oak, designed by Gil Hanse, the famed architect and architect of the Olympic Course in Rio de Janiero, is unlike any other Mississippi golf course or in nearby states. Pate was one of five professional golfers who played a nine-hole exhibition on Friday morning. “Gil Hanse (the golf course designer) studied in Europe, and I believe it shows here. Bryan believes that Mossy Oak and Old Waverly will make West Point a top-ranked golf destination. The 150 rooms in the planned and existing cottages at Old Waverly will be equivalent to 150 motels or hotels. Bryan stated that the goal is to attract golfers from around the globe, not just the southeast. One plus one is more than two in golf. Two world-class courses located right next to each other will create that kind of attraction. Mossy Oak is 7,500 yards long, par 72. The fairways are framed by wildflowers and native grasses, with dramatic elevation changes. The stately oaks strategically placed in strategic locations are the most striking because there aren’t many trees. Two spring-fed ponds are available, stocked with tiger fish, and there is a flowing creek with many berms that runs off it. The course is framed by ninety-five bunkers, each measuring varying sizes. One of these bunkers, which measures 20,000 square feet, can be found as you approach the 17th hole. The exhibition featured former Ryder Cup winner Jim Gallagher, Jr., who was also a Golf Channel analyst. Gallagher laughed after raking the traps he’d been in and after sand shots on five of the first holes. Many bulldozers have moved so much land that modern golf courses are often the result. This one is different. It is beautiful and looks so natural. Jonathan Randolph, a Brandon native who plays on the PGA Tour, said, “We are opening it today, and it seems as though it’s been here for a hundred years.” This golf course has an aura. It’s special. It’s something special. Rocha participated in an exhibition last March to open the Hanse-designed Olympic golf course in Rio. Rocha, who was a Mississippi State student, said that both last March and today were played on a new course. It felt as if we were playing an old course. Both have such a natural feeling to them.” This kind of talk is music for George Bryan’s ears. This land, the so-called Black Prairie in Mississippi, is his favorite. It’s rich in history is something he also loves. He is aware that the area was visited by Hernando deSoto, a Spanish explorer who explored it in 1541 in search for gold and silver. But he discovered the Mississippi River instead. Bryan stated that the goal of Bryan was for the golf course to look exactly like DeSoto did. “This land is so gorgeous, why mess with? It’s time to see if the Mossy Oak/Old Waverly combination will become the destination golf resort Bryan dreams of. Bryan was told by many that he was crazy for wanting to bring a national championship tournament into rural Mississippi. Early results are promising. Already, Mossy Oak has reserved 1,800 tee times in the fall for golfers from Georgia and South Carolina. Those interested can visit mossyoakgolf.com for details. Mississippi Today’s sports columnist is Rick Cleveland. Check out his columns before. To support this work, you can make a regular donation to us today as we celebrate our Spring Member Drive. This will allow us to continue important work such as this one. Our reporters give a human face to policy’s impact on everyday Mississippians by listening more closely and understanding their communities. To ensure that our work is aligned with the priorities and needs of all Mississippians, we are listening to you. Click the button below to let us know what you think.