Wizard Spins His Magic in the Mississippi Delta By: Claudio DeMarchi
… touched down in the land of the Delta Blues in the middle of the pouring rain…
… Then I'm walking in Memphis, Walking with my feet ten feet off Beale…
… Saw the ghost of Elvis…Followed him up to the gates of Graceland…They just hovered 'round his tomb…
… Catfish on the table…
… Now Muriel plays piano every Friday at the Hollywood....in the land of the Delta Blues!!!!
A few of the lyrics from Marc Cohn's – Walking In Memphis
It was only fitting. We are 5 minutes from home and what comes on the car radio but "Walking In Memphis." We had just made the "long drive" straight through from Tunica, Mississippi to Collingwood, Ontario after participating in the first ever MB Golf Wizard Golf and Blues Tournament.
Listening to the lyrics brought back instant memories of the great time, great people and new friends that were made on this trip. Over 110 golfers and non-golfers from all over North America participated, and as Bill Pesavento, the Golf Wizard of all golf wizards said "this was probably the best group that we have ever had at any of our events."
Strangely enough, just as it happened to Marc Cohn, many of us also arrived in the "land of the Delta Blues in the pouring rain". However we were lucky enough to have it clear up, although a little on the windy side, our golf was pretty much played in 70 -80 degree sunshine.
We had neither Marc nor Muriel to play the piano for us but we did have Chuck! None other than Chuck Jackson the lead singer of the Downchild Blues Band participated in this event. Chuck has been known to build rapports instantly with his audiences and it was no different with this group.
We called Harrah's Tunica (Tunica Mississippi is located 35 minutes south of Memphis TN.) home for the week. Harrah's Tunica is the largest casino resort between Las Vegas and Atlantic City with state of the art conference, event and entertainment centers, the Bellissimo Spa, Paula Deen's Buffet and of course the Hale Irwin designed The Links at Cottonwoods Golf Course.
Sunday night was the meet and greet cocktail reception before many headed off to the casino. There was an opportunity to play 9 holes of golf on the Monday morning but by early afternoon we were all off to Clarksdale MS for a visit to the Delta Blues Museum and dinner at the historic Hopson Plantation Commissary. Hopson's is about 3 miles from the Crossroads (Highways 61 & 49) and part of the same complex as The Shack Up Inn. You need to check that out! Then we were off for an evening of Blues music at Morgan Freeman's Ground Zero Blue's Club. This is where many of the group got a taste of just what kind of performer would have the talent to win The Maple Blues Award as Canada's top Blue's Male Vocalist. Chuck joined long time friend Stan Street and his band on stage and it was an evening to remember.
The Tunica area has three golf courses: Scottish links-style course Riverbend Links, Mark McCumber designed Tunica National Golf & Tennis and the Hale Irwin designed Links at Cottonwoods Golf Course. All three courses are minutes apart situated amongst the 9 casino properties. The group played one round on each course Tuesday through Thursday before the championship round on the Cottonwoods Course on Friday.
We were back on the Blues bandwagon Wednesday afternoon as we made our way up to Memphis. And although we did not see Elvis's ghost, we did make it to the gates of Graceland and did see his tomb. Graceland is one of the places that everyone should do at least once... more than that – not sure - but for the buffs it is a taste of heaven.
Shortly after Graceland we were all walking on Beale Street that was lined with bikes on both sides as far as the eye could see. To a blues fan this could be the most important street in America. It was very evident Chuck was the man about town here as every few steps he would come across someone that he knew. It wasn't long before we lost him for the first time. He somehow found us having dinner to advise us that he would soon be jamming at the Rum Bogie Café. Off we go and what a treat it was. The funny thing is, after listening to Chuck with the band and then listening to the band without Chuck, we soon realize why the band leader did not invite Chuck back for the last set. Chuck you are a tough act to follow!
Wednesday's golf round at Cottonwoods was a memorable one for Chuck. His last shot of the day might just have made him a legend – at least in his own mind. Chuck and his traveling partner and business associate in Mississauga's South Side Shuffle, Kevin Kennedy, were having a friendly little competition. Chuck sunk a 35 yard chip to tie off Kevin at 99's for the day. It was funny how later into the evening the 35 yard shot sounded like a 150 yard hole in one! And now the 'Legend of Chuck the Golfer' has begun.
Thursday was a very windy day and we were all very glad to get off the Tunica National Course that had water, water everywhere! That evening approximately 35 of us decided to visit the Hollywood Café (that was all that the restaurant could handle on short notice). Since Murial only seems to play on Fridays we brought Chuck and once again he and his harmonica did not disappoint. There was plenty of opportunity to have catfish on the table however they make a yummy steak!
It was a great week and as my traveling partner said on the way home, "the golf was really secondary on this trip; I had more fun doing everything else."
MB Golf Wizard is based in Myrtle Beach South Carolina and puts on another event such as this in Myrtle Beach in November. To find out more visit www.mbgolfwizard.com
Bargain Golf on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast