After a rousing good time in Arkansas, it was time to get into the south. As far as I was concerned the swampier the better. The tour started off at Koasati Pines in Kinder, LA.
As I began to walk down the 1st hole, the ranger pulled up to me and asked "What do you think you are doing?" "Um, playing golf," I responded. The ranger proceeded to get on his radio and inform the powers that be that I was attempting to walk the golf course. "Tell him that he can't walk and he needs to head back in and get a golf cart." Apparently walking a golf course is outlawed in Louisiana. Hmmmm...
So, Louisiana didn't really get me fired up from the beginning, but I managed to run into a great golfer and he happily joined the RGV Tour. We proceeded to have an excellent time as the sun set over a fine day in Louisiana. I ended up staying at the local casino RV resort and had a 30 minute golf conversation with the lady that checked me in and another guy in line.
The Tour continued further south through Louisiana with dates at Oakbourne CC and Louisiana. This is where I ran into the tour's first gator and started to really break a sweat for the first time.
A couple of days in Louisiana got up into the 80's and I started to get worried that once the summer hits, the RGV is gonna be hard to keep cool. The AC works fine right now, but if something happens, it is quite possible that I may cook like a turkey in this thing. After about 3 months, I find myself worrying about things on the RV that I rely on daily. What if the water pump breaks? What if the generator craps out? What if my golf clubs burst into flames? All I can do is put out the good vibes and perform the the necessary maintenance.
With one final round left in Louisiana, I decided to join up with a couple of junior golfers at Money Hill. When I was a high school golfer back in Indiana, any score in the 70's was a good one. With these kids, I am pretty sure they never shoot anything out of the 70's. The good news is that I could still out drive them if I really stepped on one. So my ego didn't take too much of a bruising.
In the end, everybody got some RGV Tour T-shirts and some Callaway hats.
Next up in Mississippi, I came to a good little area for some golf around Biloxi. I started off with Fallen Oak and got paired with a great player from Florida. Jason was a regular at Fallen Oak and on the back nine, he started mentioning that he had never birdied 18 and today was going to be the day. 18 was his nemesis.
Being a first timer, I instantly realized the opportunity to go down in history and make birdie on my first visit. With 2 good drives in the fairway, the stage was set for a showdown. After we both missed the green, the outlook did not look quite as promising. Jason was in the water, but I was alive from the grass tongue in between the green side bunkers. As soon as the ball came off my wedge, I knew it had a chance. It didn't take long before that thing was resting in the bottom of the hole for a walk off, chip in, birdie. We high fived and carried on.
The other two courses that The RGV Tour took on in the area was The Preserve and Grand Bear. With a grinding pace of play at Grand Bear, I was glad when I ran into another golfer, a junior golfer named Callee. Calle is a member of All State Girls' Golf team and she shot a pretty casual 71. I made several pretty casual 7's.
When it comes to rain on the RGV Tour, the official policy is that if the course will let us play, The Tour will play. That was the case as I had the course to myself at The Preserve. On the back nine, the sun came out and I was rewarded with a splendid afternoon.
I had hear some rumblings about Dancing Rabbit for some time and I was excited to take on the 36 holes in Philadelphia. Philadelphia is much different in Missisippi, but both cities have some darn good golf. Both the Oaks course and the Azaleas course were a collaboration with Tom Fazio and Jerry Pate.
I ran into La 'Ellis on the front nine of the Oaks course and he gave me the biggest smile and two thumbs up when I explained to him that he was "On The RGV Tour." La 'Ellis had just lost his sister to cancer and was looking to the golf course to find some sort of serenity or peace in a difficult time. As we made our way around the course, I couldn't help but think what a gift the game can be for those that play it with the proper perspective and attitude. We had a great time and La 'Ellis even made a donation to the First Tee. As I headed to the parking lot, I saw him head around for another 9. La 'Ellis was indeed a standout RGV Tour Player.
I had one final destination left in Mississippi and I was in for a big day of 36 in West Point, MS. I kicked things off with an early round at Old Waverly. The course was designed by Jerry Pate and Bob Cupp in 1988 with the US Women's Open being held there in 1999. Although walking around the property, you feel like the place has been there for 60 years. I managed a couple good swings early but faltered down the stretch. In the picture below, you will find Magnolia Drive. Similar, but different from Magnolia Lane.
As I pulled up for my afternoon round at Mossy Oak, I heard somebody yell, "Hey Patrick!" It was Ben whom I had been chatting with on Instagram. He had also brought a full party bus of golf bros with him. I immediately could tell that these guys liked to golf party and they demanded that I join them for a burger at nearby Stafford's. I jumped in the golf party bus and away we went.
After consuming a burger, fries, and a butterscotch shake at Stafford's, I was ready to hit the 1st tee. My stomach wasn't but I certainly wasn't going to let that stop me. I trudged on.
Mossy Oak was a perfect send off course for Mississippi as it is a relatively new design that will certainly get a lot of attention in the coming years. Gil Hanse designed the course and it opened for play in 2016. This was the youngest course ever to earn an RGV Tour stop visit. Pretty big deal for Mossy Oak and Gil Hanse.
You can listen to the podcast on Louisianassissippi here. For a full list of the courses and the pictures, check out the Tour Tracks page. Next up, the RGV temporary halts operations to make a date with Cypress Point back in California.