Links at Cottonwoods Undergoing Enhancements

The Links at Cotton at the Grand Casino Resort Tunica in Northern Mississippi, about 30 minutes south of Memphis, is undergoing renovations. Opened in 1998, the Hale Irwin design is seeing several upgrades in preparation for its 10th anniversary.

Named a Top-40 Casino Course in the U.S. by Golf Digest Magazine, the layout is being enhanced by Stan Genty, a course architect with Hale Irwin Golf Design. Genty is coordinating and developing a plan to return the course to its original design while improving the conditions. The course was designed as a true links layout with extremely minimal tree plantings. Before completion of the project, the owner of the Grand Casino insisted on trees and consequently 2,500 trees were planted throughout the layout. Over the past one-and-a-half years, Links at Cottonwoods has been selectively removing trees and planting additional native areas consistent with the original links design.

"Upon completion of the course renovations this spring, we will have removed 90 percent of the trees and added 60 acres of native grasses providing players with a true links golf experience," says Director of Golf Matt McNeil.

In addition to those changes, McNeil and course superintendent James Harris will install Champion Bermuda turfgrass in June, replacing the bentgrass currently in place. The grass conversion on the greens will add another level of complexity to the course while providing a playing surface consistent with links golf.

The ever-present and often stout winds which roll over the vast flatlands of the unprotected Delta where Links at Cottonwoods is located, coupled with the new design upgrades, will mean pars are at a premium.

Measuring 7,000 yards from the tips - but playing longer due to the breezes - the par-72 course is also defended by multiple bunkers and water hazards, which enter play on several holes.

Another upgrade will be made at the par-4 15th hole, which was a sore spot given a water hazard which bisected the fairway at a distance that took driver out of many players' hands, then required a long, uphill second shot to the green. Now players will be able hit driver without worrying about finding the canal.

"The hole will be shortened to proper lengths so that all players will be able to carry the water with their tee shot," says McNeil. "In addition to the new tee boxes, several pot bunkers will be added to the hole to challenge players at the shorter yardage."

The 15th hole will play as a 415-yard par-5 for women and as a par-4 for the men ranging from 298-372 yards depending.

Two other courses and eight casino resorts are located within minutes of Links at Cottonwoods and Grand Casino Resort Tunica. The other courses are Riverbend Links and Tunica National Golf & Tennis Club.

For more information, call 877/307- 7529 or toll-free at 866/801-8551 or visit for a free Golf Travel Guide and suggested play-and-stay itineraries in Mississippi.