Life on the Links

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Branson showcases the Ozarks natural beauty and continues to remain a top spot for golfers.

Within the past few years, Branson has not only reveled in its entertainment district—it’s grown to be a world-class golf destination. Johnny Morris has worked with big names like Tiger Woods and Coore & Crenshaw to produce exquisitely built courses ranging from simple 13-hole walking tours to difficult 18-hole challenges. In a short time, Big Cedar Lodge and the area around it have turned into a golfing mecca.

MOUNTAIN TOP COURSE

Mountain Top Course is a world-class short course designed by World Golf Hall of Fame legend and professional golfer Gary Player. Opened in August 2017, the course is intended to appeal to all skill levels as it is only 13 holes and walking only. Most notable landscaping features are the jagged rock formations that can be seen from each hole. The third and fourth hole are connected by a bridge, giving golfers a view of 300-million-year-old natural rock formations. After finishing the course, stop and eat at the Mountain Top Grill, which serves a delicious salmon salad.

OZARKS NATIONAL

In September 2018 Ozarks National became the fourth addition to Big Cedar Golf. The course focuses on the love of golf and, like others at Big Cedar Lodge, also has incredible vistas and breathtaking views. Along the way, golfers find strategic bunkering and slopes that enhance their experience. The course is a challenging 18-hole layout with natural elements coming into play, including a 400-foot wooden beam and plank bridge connecting the tee box and fairway of the 13th hole, standing 60 feet above a flowing creek.

TOP OF THE ROCK GOLF COURSE

Every die-hard golfer must take a trip to Top of the Rock for the swing of a lifetime. Eight years went into the making of the whole complex with the help of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Tom Watson. The par-3 course is PGA-tour sanctioned with state-of-the-art facilities like the Arnold Palmer-designed practice facility and a Jack Nicklaus Signature Course. Perched above Table Rock Lake, the course gives golfers views of peaceful waterfalls, creeks, and bass-filled ponds. Before you get started, take lessons with seasoned golf professionals for a one-on-one time no matter your skill level.

BUFFALO RIDGE SPRINGS GOLF COURSE

Redesigned into the impeccable beauty it is today, Buffalo Ridge Springs Golf Course is another Big Cedar Golf course every golfer will want to try. Renowned architect Tom Fazio helped Johnny Morris create his vision that now sprouts springs, ponds, waterfalls and bunkers. Participants can even spot free ranging buffalo from the nearby Dogwood Canyon Nature Park. Don’t believe it’s all that? The course has been rated the No. 1 Public Course in Missouri by Golf Magazine and has been named one of the Top 10 Missouri Courses by Golf Digest since 2001.

PAYNE’S VALLEY

Payne’s Valley is the first public TGR Design golf course in the United States. Led by Tiger Woods and with Johnny Morris’ help, the course appeals to families and pros alike as they take part in the newest 19-hole course at Big Cedar Golf. Because Woods was initially drawn to the beauty of the Ozark curves, scenic views are a must. The course connects players with natural beauty like majestic views of exposed rock outcroppings, mountain ridges, valleys, streams and mature trees. To finish the course, the 19th hole, called “The Rock,” is one of the most dramatic holes in the golf world.

BRANSON HILLS GOLF CLUB

Golfers of all skill levels love the Branson Hills Golf Club for the six tee boxes on each hole. From 2012 through 2020, Golfweek has named it the No. 1 public course in Missouri. With Zoysia fairways, several dramatic elevation changes and a range of wildlife, the public course is a popular destination for state associations’ tournaments. Schedule a morning tee time then enjoy the new menu at the club’s restaurant, Magnolia Grille.

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