Mallard Pointe golf course announces closure, leaders working to keep open

Published 10:51 pm Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Panola County officials are scrambling to find a way to keep the county’s only public golf course open.

The company that has managed Mallard Pointe golf course at the John W. Kyle State Park at Sardis sent an email to members last week informing them of the impending closure.

“After nearly a year of discussions and negotiations with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks, it has become clear that we will not be able to reach agreement for the continued lease of Mallard Pointe from this agency. As a result, we will be winding down our operations at Mallard Pointe beginning this week. Our last day of operation of Mallard Pointe will be Sunday, Nov. 28. Following that date, Mallard Pointe will be closed indefinitely.”

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Panola Partnership CEO Joe Azar said Tuesday he has been in contact with state officials and several private entities in an effort to match a potential manager or investor with the proper authorities from the state agency.

“The beautiful state park at Sardis, including Mallard Pointe, is a part of almost every presentation the Partnership makes when we are recruiting potential industry and business to our county,” Azar said. “We’ve heard so many compliments about Mallard Pointe from visitors who have played there, and we know that the golf course is an important part of the entertainment opportunities in Panola County. We must do everything possible to save this valuable part of what we have to offer.

The 18-hole championship course was rated one of the “Best Places to Play” by Golf Digest in 2004. The course was designed by Bob Cupp whose other work includes Old Waverly Golf Club, Palmetto Hall, Pumpkin Ridge, Settindown Creek, Hawk’s Ridge, Greystone, and Crosswater.

Mallard Pointe offers golfers a total practice facility. There is a 10 acre grass tee area and range with six target greens, practice fairway bunker, chipping green, and putting green. 

The course has a golf shop with equipment and apparel and a large outdoor patio. Golfers enjoy the challenging design of the course, and the views of the lake from different holes.

The course has been managed in recent years by Greg and Jennifer Barkley, who also manage Kirkwood National Golf Club and Cottages near Holly Springs.

Part of the email to the Mallard Pointe members said, “We greatly enjoyed managing both courses for your benefit these past seven years, and we trust that you similarly enjoyed the time at Mallard Pointe. While we’re sad that we will no longer be able to provide you with access to Mallard Pointe, we are excited to be able to turn all of our attention to Kirkwood once more as we head into 2022. We are particularly eager to be able to streamline all of our membership benefits to Kirkwood, including tournaments and events in the new year. We learned a lot in our time managing two courses, and we look forward to making the Kirkwood membership experience even better as we move forward.”

Azar also said he has discussed the matter with Panola County Board of Supervisors President Cole Flint, who also sees the notice of closure as a major negative for the county’s ongoing efforts to attract new companies and business investment.

“Cole is very much on board with anything that can be done to save Mallard Pointe, and hopefully continue operation without any interruption,” Azar said. “We both know many people in the county who play the course regularly, and we will be working hard to solve this problem in the next couple of weeks.”

Photo: The misspelled word on the state’s sign on I-55, northbound at the Sardis exit, is the least of the problems for Mallard Pointe Golf Course. The current managers announced last week they will close the facility at the end of the month.