Mallard Pointe golf course expected to re-open in 2022

Published 9:27 am Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Mallard Pointe golf course at John W. Kyle State Park in Sardis will remain closed for now, but the property is being professionally maintained and golfers will soon be able to drive and putt at the local links.

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.

Managed in recent years by Greg and Jennifer Barkley, who also manage Kirkwood National Golf Club and Cottages near Holly Springs, Mallard Pointe was closed to members and the public on Nov. 28. In an email to members last month, the managers said they  had been unable to reach an agreement for a new contract with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks and would no longer operate the property.

Since then, the state has contracted with Turf Resources of Madison to maintain the property, including applications of pre-emergence herbicides, grass cutting, and green upkeep. Already ordered, and soon to the installed, are custom covers for all 18 greens, and a new computer software for the course irrigation system.

The MDWFP is currently advertising for proposals for the future management of the course, and possibly the entirety of the state park property. Some state officials have in recent years floated the idea of contracting with private companies for the operation of all state parks, several of which include golf courses and various other amenities in the parks around the state.

Another idea, gaining momentum statewide, would see Mississippi’s parks moved from the oversight of the MDWFP to the Visit Mississippi offices, which operates as a tourism agency under the umbrella of the Mississippi Development Authority, the economic development arm of state government.

Officials have reported at least two national companies have shown interest in bidding for the contract to operate Mallard Pointe. With relatively low overhead – utilities are about $3,000 a month – and plenty of opportunities for growth, the prospect of the course being taken over by managers with ambitious plans for the only municipal course in Panola County is becoming more of a reality with each new development.

Mallard Pointe offers golfers a total practice facility besides the course itself. 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.

Updating the Panola County Board of Supervisors about the latest developments, Panola Partnership CEO Joe Azar said, “Although Mallard Pointe is currently closed to the public, the integrity of the course is being maintained and we expect good things to come.”