Missouri, United States: Much beloved for its live entertainment, welcoming atmosphere and dozens of leisure attractions, Branson is increasingly becoming known as one of America’s best golf destinations.
Located 20 minutes from the Arkansas border in southwest Missouri, Branson has added several new golf courses in the recent past, including three in the past three years. There are now 10 diverse yet complementary courses that golfers can choose from, all are open to the public and close to one another.
The newest course to debut may be the most exciting yet. Named Payne’s Valley, it’s an 18-hole course paying homage to Payne Stewart, the legendary former PGA Tour player who grew up in nearby Springfield.
Designed by Tiger Woods and his golf architecture company, TGR Design, in tandem with Big Cedar Lodge and Bass Pro Shops Founder Johnny Morris, Payne’s Valley features an extra hole for settling bets that is called the ‘Big Rock at Payne’s Valley’.
The sprawling, pristine layout opened 13 holes for play on March 6, with a US$195 green fee. The remaining holes are expected to be ready for play this summer, when a Grand Opening will herald their completion.
Based on media visitor reviews thus far (10 holes were open for preview play last fall), Payne’s Valley caters to the best players as well as those less skilled. The course design features a wide variety of hole types, undulating terrain, Ozarks beauty, immaculate conditions, and the ability to play the ball along the ground virtually throughout (minimal forced carries).
In addition to Payne’s Valley, Branson golf courses include Buffalo Ridge Springs (Tom Fazio/Johnny Morris), Branson Hills (Chuck Smith/Bobby Clampett), Ozarks National (Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw), LedgeStone (Tom Clark), Top of the Rock (Jack Nicklaus), Mountain Top (Gary Player), 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.”
A Coore and Crenshaw creation, 18-hole Ozarks National 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.