The Palace Casino

A bit of a “day off” today.  We rose late and enjoyed the in-room coffee.  Linda dutifully took to a YAYOG session while I dutifully took a shower.  (I am proud of her stick-to-it approach to the workouts – some of them are really tough.)

We hit the casino grill for breakfast, Linda with a couple of eggs, bacon, and grits, while I had yogurt, granola, and fruit, plus a couple of eggs.  Decent fare – and we especially enjoyed the bacon, which is a featured item from a Wisconsin provider called Nueskes.

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Breakfast at the casino

Picked up a mondo blueberry muffin at the adjacent bakery, then we set off for today’s golf course. We drove through the center of Biloxi, then found I110 north about 13 miles to the Dogwood Hills Golf Course. Judging from course signage, you could already tell what sort of place this was going to be. But hey that’s OK, I thought, we like a wide variety in our golfing.

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Welcome to Dogwood Hills

We talked at length to the staffer on hand, who asked about our travels.  We discussed some Florida golf courses, which prompted him to start excusing the course, stating they have some grass problems.  Uh-oh. He mentioned that there was a lot of maintenance needed and that some areas were “really ratty.”  Uh-oh.  He described the course as a “pasture course.”  Really.

Well, let’s see if I can adequately describe this course.  Um.   Our first hint was on the greens.  Using the Stimp meter, these greens were 0.2.  To you non-golfers, that means that if you use a cannon you still couldn’t propel the ball to the hole.  Like putting on Velcro, through cotton candy.  Now, picture weeds sprouting up about every 4 to 6 inches to deflect your ball randomly left and right.

So bad that Linda I decided immediately that all putts would automatically be 2-putts (unless you sink it on your first try of course).  Even then neither of us could reach the hole.

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Teeing off (anyway)

OK, so we get to a 410 yard par 4 on the front 9 and I hit a good drive down the pike.  I reach my ball and it’s about 120 yards from the pin.  Sounds good, except, where is the pin?  The very last 30 yards of the fairway turns wildly right, and the green is tucked in behind a wall of towering trees.  Um, good hole design.

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Linda carries the swamp

Picture a later par 4 about 330 yards.  Two large mature trees flank each side of the fairway about 200 yards out, with a narrow 30 yards between them.  OK, you might think a nice straight drive will do the trick – EXCEPT for the third large mature tree sitting smack dab in the middle of the fairway about 260 yards out, right in front of the green.  I try to tee off to the left of the lefthand tree and end up hitting OB.  Swell layout.

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The green is right behind the middle tree

We finish the 16th green.  We see the 17th tee box is to the immediate left, and the 18th tee box is to the immediate right.  That should have told us something, but I just figured there would be a long cart ride to the 18th tee.

We tee off from #17, sensing that it’s a dogleg right, find our balls, then scout out the hole.  Where is it?  Well, “dogleg right” is hardly a suitable description.  This fairway actually does a hairpin right turn, doubling back on itself about 160 degrees.  Yep, you guessed it, back up to the (17th green and) 18th tee box.  It is by far the screwiest hole layout I’ve ever encountered.

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Fairway, rough or green – take your pick

Despite the quirky conditions, Linda and I both shot semi-respectable 85s, though nothing to write home about.  We both hesitantly post the score to GHIN, because neither of us can quite call this “golf.”  But, we chalk it up as an enjoyable warm-up round for our play tomorrow.

The round was only $18pp – but this only serves to reinforce Janet’s recent admonition.  Cheap is not necessarily good.

A beautiful afternoon nap leads into an early evening visit to the casino.  Getting a new player’s club card nets you $10 playing credit, and Linda finally cajoles me into getting mine.  Yesterday, I’ve already picked out the machine I think is a hot one, and so I use the house credit to try it out.  It is one of the old style “Sizzling” 7 machines.  Eight $0.75 plays later I cash out with a $75 profit, and even go to the kiosk and cash it out in money.  Done for me.  Linda cannot quite understand this mode of play, but I believe in clearing profits off the table.

We hang around further so that Linda can play.  She enjoys the actual action of playing much more than I do, and is willing to stretch out the action.  She flits from machine to machine, enjoying the “Crystal” and “Gold” machines the best I think.  At times she’s up $20 or $30, and then down $20 or $30, but finishes pretty even.

We hit the Sports Bar for dinner and get a great table overlooking the rabid crowd gathered to watch the Saints-Dolphins game on Monday Night Football on at least fifty TVs.  It is a raucous crowd that yells out with every play – what a blast!  The Saints end up pounding the Dolphins too which only adds to the fun.  The staff raffles off a few items between quarters and Linda’s ticket hits!  One of the nice guys we’ve met yells out “Go Phoenix!” as Linda accepts her prize (a Bud Light cap).

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Go Saints

Linda leaves during the 2nd quarter to go play more slots.  When I text her later I learn she’s up over $150 already – wow!  I search around in the casino and finally find her on a “Jackpot Factory” machine.  She’s up about $165.  But unfortunately, her next 15 plays yield practically nothing.  With that, I decide I’ve brought her bad luck and retire to the room to watch the rest of the game, leaving her to play.

Alas, Linda returns a couple hours later about even again.  But she’s had fun on the machines – it’s all an entertainment value.  Our stay at the Palace Casino has been a real success.  The staff and clinetele at this casino is very friendly, the food pretty decent (at Mignon better than decent), and the gambling fun.  Something different for us for sure.  The smoke-free environment is especially great – hard to believe that an entire casino can adopt this idea and execute it so well.

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