When you don't have the flash of a ocean- or riverfront location, it's up to the amenities to draw the crowds.
At the Pearl River Resort in Central Mississippi, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians do it with a luxury hotel, first-class spa and a pair of Tom Fazio-Jerry Pate golf courses at the Dancing Rabbit Golf Club.
Most places that refer to themselves in the same sentence as Augusta National aren't worth much more than a snicker, but Azaleas Course really does show the same bloodlines--although more as a first cousin vs. a direct sibling. Impeccably maintained, it sports a similar rolling topography and variety of trees and flowering plants. And unlike Augusta, getting on this course, ranked one of the best in Mississippi by Golf Digest, is a snap.
Better yet, you can act out your own Crow's Nest Masters fantasy and book one of the eight king suites on the second floor of the Dancing Rabbit clubhouse. For $305 double occupancy, you get a night in the suite, a round for each player on either the Azaleas or the Oaks--both on Golf Digest's list of America's Top 40 Casino Courses--20 percent off any purchase in the shop, breakfast and a dedicated cart to ferry yourself both around the course and over to the adjacent casino. The package starts at $235 if you're content with a regular room in the casino tower.
The resort is located outside of similar-in-name-only Philadelphia, Ms., 80 miles northeast of Jackson and 160 southwest of Birmingham, Al. It's definitely a driving destination, or, you can take one of the daily buses from Birmingham, Tuscaloosa or Bessemer, Al.