Best Golf Courses in the Ozarks (They’re Actually Great…)

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As a golf enthusiast, I’ve always been on the lookout for the best courses to play. Recently, I discovered some of the top golf courses nestled in the breathtaking landscape of the Ozarks. These golf courses not only offer challenging and enjoyable gameplay but also provide a picturesque and serene environment that truly immerses me in nature’s beauty.

One outstanding example is Ozarks National, Missouri’s first and only golf course designed by renowned architects Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. This 18-hole, 7,036-yard course highlights the unique terrain of the Ozarks region, creating a truly memorable experience for all golfers. Not to be outdone, Big Cedar Lodge also features a variety of top golf courses in Missouri, designed by some of the biggest names in golf, such as Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Gary Player, Tom Fazio, Bill Coore, and Ben Crenshaw.

From my perspective, the Ozarks region holds a treasure trove of exceptional golf experiences. Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or a beginner looking to improve your game, these courses are sure to leave a lasting impression and keep you coming back for more breathtaking views and unforgettable rounds.

Best Public Golf Courses in the Ozarks

Ozarks National

Ozarks National is a highly acclaimed public golf course located near Branson, Missouri. Opened in 2019, this championship course has quickly gained recognition, being named “Best Public Course in America” by Golf Digest. I can attest to its picturesque setting and challenging holes, as the course is nestled within the beautiful Ozarks landscape.

Payne Stewart Golf Club

Just a short drive from Springfield, I discovered the Payne Stewart Golf Club, a public course honoring the late, great Payne Stewart. Known for its challenging layout and pristine condition, this course truly showcases the natural beauty of the Ozarks. I highly recommend trying out the Payne Stewart Golf Club for an unforgettable golf experience.

Buffalo Ridge

Buffalo Ridge is another must-play public course in the Ozarks. Surrounded by magnificent mountain views and lush, rolling fairways, my visit to Buffalo Ridge provided an enjoyable golf outing. The course is well-maintained and offers a variety of challenges for all skill levels.

Top of the Rock

Finally, at Big Cedar Lodge, I had the opportunity to play Top of the Rock, a unique 9-hole, par-3 course near Branson. This one-of-a-kind course offers stunning views of Table Rock Lake and provides an unforgettable golf experience. To elevate your game, take advantage of the practice facility, including the Arnold Palmer-designed driving range.

During my time exploring these public golf courses in the Ozarks, I found that they offer incredible experiences for golfers of all skill levels. With their beautiful settings, challenging layouts, and great locations, these courses are well worth a visit.

Private Golf Courses in the Ozarks

One of the well-renowned private golf courses in the Ozarks is The Club at Porto Cima. I have been there to enjoy their luxurious course, which was rated #4 by Golf Digest for “Best New Private Courses” in 2001. The course offers a unique opportunity for me, my family, or even my company to have an extraordinary golfing experience in the heart of the Lake of the Ozarks.

In addition to Porto Cima, I found out that the Branson area is home to a selection of top-notch golf courses designed by renowned golf architects. For instance, Big Cedar Lodge Golf features some of Missouri’s finest courses designed by big names like Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Gary Player, Tom Fazio, Bill Coore, and Ben Crenshaw. Among these courses, Payne’s Valley and Ozarks National stand out as excellent private courses with picturesque views and challenging designs.

What makes Ozarks National particularly special is its status as Missouri’s first and only golf course designed by the architect duo, Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. Playing on this 18-hole course, which measures 7,036 yards from the back tees, allows me to experience the unique terrain and beauty of the Ozarks region.

As a golf enthusiast, I’ve noticed that the Springfield area also offers some great private courses worth considering. Millwood Golf and Racquet Club is a notable example, featuring an 18-hole championship course designed by renowned architect, Greg Martin. The club provides a complete golfing experience with premier amenities and challenging greens that can put any golfer’s skills to the test.

To sum it up, the Ozarks region, encompassing cities like Springfield and Branson, is home to a variety of top-notch private golf courses. Whether I’m looking for a luxurious golfing experience or seeking challenging designs set amidst stunning landscapes, I can find it all in the beautiful Ozarks.

Understanding Golf in the Ozarks

I have always been fascinated by the golf courses in the Ozarks, particularly in Missouri. This region is home to some of the finest courses, attracting golf enthusiasts from all over the country.

One of the most renowned courses in this area is Ozarks National, which has been rated as the #1 public course in Missouri by Golfweek and was even chosen as the “Best Public Course in America” by Golf Digest in 2019. This exceptional golf course, designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, offers a challenging and beautiful experience for golfers.

Another gem in the Ozarks is the Cove Golf Course, located at the Lodge of the Four Seasons resort. This 18-hole championship course is known for its stunning views of the Lake of the Ozarks. Challenges await at every turn, with 72 bunkers, rolling hills, and water coming into play on nine of the holes.

Aside from these top-tier courses, the Ozarks boast a golf trail of 12 courses that meander along the shoreline and up and down the adjacent hills. As a golf enthusiast, I appreciate the variety of terrains and unique features that each of these courses offers. The beautiful landscape of the region truly enhances the golfing experience.

For those looking to take up the sport or improve their skills, the Ozarks offer several golf clubs and schools, where professional instructors can provide valuable insights and tailored lessons. Golf is not just a sport in this area; it’s an integral part of the local culture, and I am continually impressed by the commitment and passion for the game that I encounter in the Ozarks.

In summary, the golf courses and clubs in the Ozarks showcase the best of what Missouri has to offer with challenging and picturesque courses that cater to both beginners and experienced golfers. As a knowledgeable and confident golfer, I know for sure that the Ozarks provide memorable golfing experiences for all who have the opportunity to play in this magnificent region.

Legendary Designers and Their Courses

Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw

I’ve noticed that the Coore and Crenshaw design team is renowned for crafting beautiful and challenging courses. They often focus on utilizing the natural landscape and molding their courses to fit within the environment, making for a unique and satisfying golf experience. In the Ozarks, they have had their hands in designing the breathtaking Ozarks National Golf Course, which is a par 71 course featuring 6,510 yards of play for a truly memorable round of golf.

Tiger Woods

The legendary golfer Tiger Woods has also made his mark in golf course design. His signature course, Payne’s Valley, is nestled in the Ozarks region and draws golf enthusiasts from all over to experience the challenging layout and stunning surroundings. The course is characterized by wide fairways, inviting greens, and dramatic elevation changes, which showcases Tiger’s commitment to providing an enjoyable yet challenging experience for golfers of all skill levels.

Tom Fazio

Tom Fazio is another noteworthy designer who has lent his expertise to the Ozarks region. The Buffalo Ridge Springs golf course, which Fazio designed, is both beautiful and challenging, featuring rock outcrops, water features, and significant elevation changes throughout. Golfers can not only appreciate the striking landscape but also enjoy a demanding test of their abilities on this course.

Johnny Morris

As a passionate conservationist and the founder of Bass Pro Shops, Johnny Morris has a strong connection with nature, which is evident in his golf course creations. Among the courses he’s contributed to is the Mountain Top Course, a 13-hole short course which was designed in collaboration with esteemed golfer Gary Player. This layout offers a unique and refreshing golf experience amid the stunning Ozarks landscape.

Robert Trent Jones

The prolific golf course architect Robert Trent Jones Sr. has also played a part in shaping the golf offerings in the Ozarks. Some of the courses featured in this region showcase his talent for creating visually spectacular and strategically challenging holes, emphasizing the importance of precise shot-making and strategic thinking, something I can personally appreciate as a golfer.

Arnold Palmer

The golf legend Arnold Palmer was not only an extraordinary player but also a renowned golf course designer. His distinctive touch can be found in the exquisite courses at The Lodge of Four Seasons in the Ozarks area. The courses offer a variety of terrain and challenges, always keeping golfers engaged and entertained during their round.

Jack Nicklaus

Jack Nicklaus, known as the Golden Bear, is another golf icon with a significant impact on the Ozarks golf scene. The Top of the Rock course, a 9-hole par-three layout designed by Nicklaus, provides a one-of-a-kind experience for golfers looking to test their short game skills. The course’s stunning views and course intricacies make it an absolute treat for players visiting the region.

Course Features and Challenges

As a passionate golfer, I have had the chance to experience a variety of golf courses in the Ozarks, which offer unique features and challenges designed to test your skills on the course. One of my personal favorites is the Ozarks National, designed by the renowned architects Coore & Crenshaw.

The fairways at Ozarks National are well-maintained and often present golfers with rolling territories and subtle elevation changes. These elevation changes may force you to adjust your club selection, swing, or stance to account for the varying topography.

Bunkering is another critical aspect of the courses in the Ozarks. At the River Course #2, for example, there is a challenging 445-yard par 4 that requires a long tee shot with the river down the left and bunkers down the right. With multiple strategically placed bunkers, golfers must be precise in both their distance control and shot shaping.

Navigating sand traps and bunkers is a common challenge on the golf courses, and mastering your shots from this terrain will no doubt improve your overall game. Additionally, utilizing a solid ground game is often vital on these courses, particularly when dealing with the undulating greens and tight lies around the greens.

Another standout course for me is the Deer Chase Golf Club found in the beautiful Auglaize River valley and surrounding hills. With its Bermuda fairways overseeded for early spring, the course not only poses challenges but also offers breathtaking views.

In conclusion, golf courses in the Ozarks region present a wide variety of unique features and challenges. From navigating difficult bunkers and sand traps to managing elevation changes and strategically placed obstacles, mastering these courses will significantly improve your overall game and offer an enjoyable experience.

Golf Packages and Rates

I found that when planning a golf trip to the Ozarks, there are several resorts and courses that offer attractive golf packages. For instance, at Lake of Ozarks Golf Council, you can book Golf Trail Packages, which offer a chance to play premier courses and stay at the best lodging facilities at a reduced price compared to booking golf and lodging separately.

Another great option is Lake of The Ozarks Golf Packages offered by The Lodge of Four Seasons. Their packages cater to those who take the love of the game seriously, with championship courses designed by renowned architects for both fun and challenge.

For those looking for more variety, the Lake of the Ozarks Golf Trail package at Margaritaville Lake Resort provides overnight accommodations and golf at a variety of area courses.

Regarding golf rates, they typically vary depending on whether you are a resort guest or a public guest. Resort guests often enjoy discounted rates as part of their stay package, while public guests pay regular fees. Some courses and resorts also offer different rates for weekdays and weekends, twilight hours, or seasonal promotions.

It’s important to note that in most cases, the non-golfer cart riding fee is separate and not included in the golf rates. This means that if someone accompanies a golfer on the course but does not play, they might be charged a fee for riding the golf cart.

When searching for golf packages in the Ozarks, keep in mind that reduced rates might be available for large groups, multi-day or multi-course packages, or during off-peak seasons. Be sure to compare package offers and rates, and reach out to the team at the chosen resort to clarify any doubts and secure the best deals.

Junior Golfing Opportunities

I strongly recommend the Betty Allison Junior Golf Course at Oscar Blom for young golfers. It’s free for ages 12 and younger, making it an ideal starting place for kids who are just beginning to learn the sport. The course features three sets of tees to accommodate different skill levels. Additionally, the facility offers a driving range, pro shop, and snack bar to ensure a fun and engaging experience for the whole family.

Another great option for junior golfers is the Ozarks National Golf Course at Big Cedar Lodge in Branson, Missouri. Juniors aged 17 and under can enjoy reduced rates throughout the year, ranging from $65 to $75 depending on the season. The course itself is challenging, yet enjoyable for young players, and also offers complimentary, on-course snacks to make the experience more delightful.

For families visiting the Lake of the Ozarks area, there are several golf courses that cater to junior players. Lake Valley Golf Club is a popular choice among young golfers as it provides a fun and challenging course layout. After a day on the green, family members can unwind at the Lake Valley Bar & Grill, which offers an indoor or outdoor porch dining experience.

In conclusion, the Ozarks region offers a variety of junior golfing opportunities, each catering to different skill levels and preferences. By exposing young players to these courses, we can foster a love for the sport and help shape the next generation of golf enthusiasts.