Recap from the Big Cedar Lodge Golf Advisor Getaway
Have you ever had the chance to be one of the first people to play a hotly anticipated, brand-new golf courses?
That's exactly the opportunity afforded two dozen avid golfers in September 2018 at a Golf Advisor Getaway to Big Cedar Lodge outside of Branson, Missouri.
The group, led by Golf Channel personality and Golf Advisor Editor-at-Large Matt Ginella, included buddy groups and couples, retirees and Millennials, all bound by a common love of the game and the different places where it is played. They spent four days and three nights both exploring Big Cedar Lodge's growing golf offerings and sampling some of the manifold other amenities and activities on offer.
Tom Fazio's Buffalo Ridge Springs course hosted the first round of the trip on a brilliant late-summer morning. This course, which has co-hosted the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf, a PGA Tour Champions event, features dramatic elevation changes and classic Ozarks scenery. The back nine plays around and inside a canyon, with dramatic rock outcroppings around every turn.
That afternoon, the group took to the Gary Player-designed Mountain Top Course, a 13-hole par-3 routing draped across ridges and meandering by limestone canyons. Despite the mountain setting, Mountain Top is walkable, with acres of short grass allowing players to run shots on and putt from well off the pristine greens.
Then came the main event of the trip: a special preview round at Ozarks National, the brand-new Bill Coore/Ben Crenshaw-designed layout that helps cement Big Cedar Lodge's status as a major American golf resort. Despite an "official" opening date of November 1, the Golf Advisor Getaway group was granted special access to the course, becoming the first golfers outside of resort developer and Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris and his inner circle. Despite the early date, the course was in flawless condition, fully mature and ready to welcome its first full year of play in 2019. The layout weaves along several ridge tops, affording spectacular views at every turn, along with big corridors tailor-made for fun, strategic golf.
On getaway day, the group experienced the course where it all began for Big Cedar Lodge: the Jack Nicklaus-designed Top of the Rock, a stunning nine-hole par-3 course overlooking Table Rock Lake. It was a memorable last hurrah for a wonderful gathering.
Take a look at the links below to find a recap of the trip, a photo tour of Ozarks National, a link to an on-site podcast conversation between Matt Ginella and Golf Advisor Senior Writer Tim Gavrich and more.
To browse upcoming Golf Advisor Getaways featuring either Matt Ginella or Bradley S. Klein, click here. We hope to see you on a future trip!