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You never get a second chance to make a first impression. It’s an old cliche that’s not only undeniably true, but one Fallen Oak and Beau Rivage Resort & Casino positively takes to heart.

Dozens of majestic oak trees line the entrance to the resort—which sits on the shores of Mississippi overlooking the Gulf Coast—and within the first few steps into the indoor arboretum, you are hit with an intense aroma of fresh flowers as you gaze above at the high-glass ceiling. A round of golf at Fallen Oak, meanwhile, begins by being greeted by a clubhouse attendant, who happily takes your clubs and shoes, provides locker room service and guides you to the expansive practice range, where you meet your caddy for the day.

You haven’t even made it to the first tee or plunked down a bet at the tables, but the attention to detail, first-class service and lavish surroundings already have won you over. And the experience has just begun.

In a region of the state flush with nationally acclaimed golf courses, Fallen Oak is the crown jewel. The Tom Fazio masterpiece opened in 2006 and was quickly regarded as one of the best resort courses in the U.S. Earlier this year, it placed 30th GOLF Magazine’s “Top 100 Courses you Can Play,” and it has been perennially ranked the No. 2 casino course in the nation by Golfweek (second only to the renowned Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, its sister MGM Resorts International course).

Set in an oasis on the edge of DeSoto National Forest, Fallen Oak is notorious for its lush, rolling landscape covered in oak and pine ridges, magnolias, pecan groves, large lakes, winding streams and wetlands. The course features 10 bridges and concealed cart paths to protect natural terrain.

“This is the once-in-a-lifetime site every golf course designer dreams of: rolling greens overlooking more than 4,000 stately oaks, magnolias and other hardwood trees,” states Fazio after overseeing the completion of an enhancement program last year that strategically improved the golf experience. “If you like golf, and you want to play all the great courses of the world, this should be on the list. This is someplace you have to come because of the quality of the course and the area of the country.”

Since 2010, Fallen Oak has hosted a PGA TOUR Champions Tour event each March. The Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic presented by C Spire is funded by a dozen consortium partners, including Beau Rivage and other area casinos, such as Harrah’s Gulf Coast, Hard Rock Biloxi and IP Resort & Spa, and annually attracts a full field of legendary golfers. Past winners include Fred Couples and Tom Lehman. Through the event, Fallen Oak has received numerous plaudits from players and media alike.

“It’s playable and enjoyable,” says Champions Tour player John Cook. “It sets up really nicely. It’s right up there with all of the best courses we play out here.”

Mark O’Meara, two-time Major Championship winner, adds, “I think it’s a wonderful course, very nice routing. They’ve got some picturesque holes out there. Tom’s [Fazio] done a wonderful job. It’s a nice test of golf.”

Fallen Oak’s 19th hole—featured by GOLF Magazine as one of the best in the world along with Pebble Beach, St. Andrews and Pinehurst—is known for its scrumptious Bloody Marys and sunken-down bar overlooking the 18th fairway, where the actual “fallen” oak tree lies.

Back on Beach Boulevard, there are plenty of after-golf activities to satisfy the needs for groups of all sizes and tastes. Beau Rivage—which fittingly means “beautiful shore” in French— blends the charm and character of the Mediterranean with graceful touches of Southern hospitality. Ten restaurants, four nightclubs and bars, an 85,000-square-foot casino, a first-rate spa and salon, an upscale shopping promenade, a state-of-the-art convention center, a 1,550-seat showroom, featuring headline entertainment, and a wide array of shows and entertainment acts all call Beau Rivage home.

Beau Rivage rests on the 62 miles of scenic shoreline found on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, which is often called “Casino Coast” for its dozen casinos. The region also has more than 20 other golf courses—all within a close proximity—that provide a wide variety of price points and designs of legendary names such as Arnold Palmer (The Bridges), Jack Nicklaus (Grand Bear), Davis Love III (Shell Landing), Jerry Pate (The Preserve) and Donald Ross (Great Southern).

Non-golf experiences include eco-tours, museums, shopping, boat cruises, fishing and kayaking. Mississippi is also the birthplace of the blues, rock ‘n’ roll and country music, and is world-famous for for its authentic Southern cuisine of savory barbecue, fresh seafood and French-Cajun delicacies.