Branson, Missouri. With its rural feel and history of Country Music performances, this Ozark Oasis does not seem like the place that would have an affiliation with a generational golfer who brought youth to the game. But think again. The entertainment has become more diverse through the years, and so has the golf.
Just two minutes from the Arkansas border in the southwest corner of the state, there are now some ten publicly-accessible golf properties to choose from and the latest, Payne’s Valley, is a creation of none other than Tiger Woods, his TGR Design associates, and Big Cedar Lodge and Bass Pro Shops Founder Johnny Morris.
The course is working towards a full opening but in the meantime thirteen holes will be available for preview play as of March 6th. The rest of the course, including a 19th hole where golfers can settle bets, is expected to be open for play later this summer.
The course name pays tribute to Payne Stewart, the ill-fated PGA TOUR player that grew up in nearby Springfield.
Media visits in the Fall saw favourable feedback on the ten holes then open for play, many saying it was suitable design for all levels of players. It leans heavily on the native terrain which heaves to and fro, immaculate grooming, and views of the spectacular surrounds.
A Bevy of Courses
The debut of Payne’s Valley follows quickly on the heels of the 2019 opening of Ozarks National. A Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw creation, it debuted in May 2019. Mountain Top, a walking only, 13-hole course, opened on August 31, 2018. They join Payne’s Valley and two other golf courses at Big Cedar Lodge.
Additional local courses include Buffalo Ridge Springs (Tom Fazio/Johnny Morris), Branson Hills (Chuck Smith/Bobby Clampett), LedgeStone (Tom Clark), Top of the Rock (Jack Nicklaus), Thousand Hills (Bob Cupp), The Pointe, and Holiday Hills.
“Branson offers a variety of golf courses, with layouts and price points to suit every taste,” said Lynn Berry, Branson CVB, Director of Communications. “Branson has become one of the most compelling places to play golf in the world.”
With the addition of a rare Tiger Woods design, that’s a hard point to argue.