New owners have big plans for venerable golf course

One of Mississippi’s most noted golf courses, designed by one of the sport’s greatest legends, is under new ownership and is expected to undergo a major restoration.

Veteran club pro Leigh Brannan is among the new owners who recently took control of Deerfield Golf Club, a Byron Nelson-designed 18-hole course in Jackson.

Brannan was the head professional at Deerfield for nearly three decades. He and his partners purchased the club after financially troubled Colonial Country Club of Jackson went bankrupt. Colonial had owned the Deerfield course along with the Colonial property in Jackson.

Deerfield will operate as a private club, with a membership limit of 400. The golf course is the centerpiece of a planned community of some 400 homes near Canton.

Brannan said he and his partners plan to make a number of improvements to the course, which has played host to nine Mississippi Open championships, four Mississippi Amateur men’s ┬áchampionships, two women’s State Amateur championships and 12 PGA Tour Qualifying tournaments.

“We are going to restore it to its prestigious position in Mississippi golf,” said Brannan. “Actually, we’re going to make it better than it has ever been.”

Famed golf course architect Joe Finger built the course, which opened in 1979. Nelson, one of the greatest players in PGA Tour history, helped design it. While Finger built nearly 80 courses, Nelson designed only eight and was better known for his exploits as a player.

Brannan said the initiation fee will be waived for members who join the club before July 1.