190 Top of the Rock Road, Ridgedale, Missouri 65739, US
(800) 225-6343
Location Map

About Big Cedar Lodge

Set in the Ozarks near the entertainment mecca of Branson, Missouri is Big Cedar Lodge, a 4,600-acre natural playground owned by Bass Pro Shops Founder and Ozarks native Johnny Morris. Since originally opening as a small riverfront resort in the 1920s, today Big Cedar Lodge is one of the largest U.S. golf resorts with three regulation-length courses, two short courses, a remarkable driving range and putting course (as well as mini golf). Morris has amassed a legendary group of golfers to design his golf product: Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson, Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw, Gary Player, and Tiger Woods. Morris also acquired an 18-hole course originally designed by Tom Fazio. The resort overlooks Table Rock Lake and has a marina as well as a variety of outdoor activities to choose from including shooting, fishing, horseback riding and much more. There is a kids adventure club and plenty of things for the family to do outside, including pickleball and six swimming pools and hot tubs. Accommodations include 260 units ranging from guest rooms and suites to cabins and glamping. Missouri's Big Cedar Lodge and Top of the Rock facilities have made the Ozarks of southeast Missouri one of the country's most coveted golf escapes.

Facts

Price Range$$$
Property Class★★★★
Acres4600
Year Opened1921
Number of Units100-300

Amenities

RestaurantsBar, Fine, Casual
Room TypesRoom, Suite
Short CourseYes
Fitness CenterYes
Practice FacilityYes
MarinaYes
Beach AccessYes
Golf School/AcademyYes
Banquet SpaceYes
SpaYes

Services

Kids ProgramYes
Room ServiceYes
ConciergeYes

Rules

Is the resort pet friendly?No
Is resort stay required for a tee time?No

Golf courses at Big Cedar Lodge

Images from Big Cedar Lodge

Reviews

4.6
63 Reviews (63)

Reviewer Photos

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Recommended
Handicap
Age
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Played On
Reviews 239
Handicap 5-9
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Birmingham Advisor
Top 10 Contributor
First Time Playing
Cold weather
Used cart

Not hard to realize post-round why this Big Cedar property has consistently been ranked as Missouri’s top-rated public course for years. That perch may be threatened by the recent emergence of Ozarks National and Payne’s Valley to the fold, but Tom Fazio has made sure Buffalo Ridge Springs will always have a seat at that table.

Fazio blends dramatic elevation change (primarily off the tee box) with stunning natural table rock formations and deceptive green complexes to make this course a formidable challenge.

The first thing you encounter walking from the parking lot is the expansive, panoramic views despite not being at the highest point of the property (Payne’s Valley’s clubhouse that it shares with Gary Player’s Mountaintop 13-hole short course lays claim to that).

The fairways were dormant and thin, so ball-striking can be an issue this time of year. The bent grass greens, however, were as pure as you can find anywhere. I mentioned the deceptive nature of them. I would highly recommend taking a look at putts, and perhaps green side chips, from behind your ball, as well as the hole. Numerous times I was unclear about break until confirming from the other side of the hole. This might keep you from looking silly on lag putts. Beware of numerous false fronts as well. The pin placements I encountered today seemed to bring all of them into play. And I paid the price. None more so than the par-5 14th, which may be the best hole on the property. It certainly is one of my favorite that I’ve played in my travels. Played a good drive and textbook layup, only to have my wedge spin off the front of the green and make bogey.

Finally, there are some nuances that make this course stand out from most. Live buffalo herd in the pasture adjoining the first fairway. And the tips tee markers are buffalo skulls. Additionally, there are several covered bridges connecting the cart path. Pretty unique.

Conditions Good
Value Average
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Average
Amenities Good
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Reviews 1
Handicap 10-14
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
First Time Playing
Windy weather
Used cart

Would Have Been Better with Better Weather

Played the course today with my wife, and I will preface that the weather was a challenge for playing golf at all. with wind gusts of 30-40 MPH it made the experience a little rough. The course was in good shape for November, the fairways were cut very short and the ground was hard.
the greens were true and fast,and the layout was good. We were a little disappointed that the first experience was that of pulling up to a tent and then driving through construction to get to the "clubhouse". The range was nice and the starter was able to get us off early which was good since the weather turned cold and rainy on 17. I would like to play the course again when the weather is nice. My advice would be if it is supposed to be windy, and or cold, I would pass on this course for the 300 dollars that we spent, there could have been a much more enjoyable experience in the area. Will try again when the weather is good. Free Hot Dogs and snacks at the turn was nice however.

Conditions Good
Value Average
Layout Good
Friendliness Average
Pace Good
Amenities Average
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Reviews 1
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
3.0
First Time Playing

Great course. Staff is clueless.

First time playing Payne’s Valley. Not another course I’ve played like it in the world. Great layout. Not a hard course from the right tees. Great shape. Pace of play ridiculously slow. Never picked up. But the staff is clueless how to run a golf course. Actually it’s easy to believe none of them play golf. The starter and the pro shop staff didn’t even know if it was cart path only or whether it was open. Our frost delay seemed like it was a sudden and unthinkable natural tragedy. No one knew how to handle it. The starter didn’t have a radio to the driving range that is almost a mile away. Couldn’t call people to the tee. And at the range they had almost a hundred yards available on the practice tee open and yet had only 8 stalls open with 40+ golfers waiting to warm up for two golf courses. Then they ran out of balls. Obviously. And no one was around to refill or direct traffic. In sum the management is awful. The course is great.

Conditions Excellent
Value Average
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Poor
Amenities Poor
Played On
Reviews 5
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
3.0
First Time Playing

Was expecting more.

Parking and cart pickup was at a temporary tent a distance from the clubhouse. Staff was friendly and the range was nice. Would have liked to have been told about the practice area for bunker shots but not a big deal. The clubhouse is quite small with only one bathroom. Unfortunately it was cart path only, although it wasn’t wet. It made for a rather lengthy round and was difficult to locate the ball occasionally.
The course design left a lot to be desired. There were too many blind shots, and many holes weren’t shaped well. I think if you played the course a few times it would be better. I was disappointed in the condition of the fairways. They were thin in many areas. Over time this will likely improve as the course matures.
I have played Buffalo Ridge and it is a much better design, and actually more picturesque. I would prefer it and Payne’s Valley.

Conditions Average
Value Fair
Layout Fair
Friendliness Good
Pace Average
Amenities Fair
Played On
Reviews 7
Handicap 10-14
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
First Time Playing
Perfect weather
Used cart

Very challenging, scenic track

This is one of the 3 destination courses at Big Cedar Lodge. Lots of construction going on in area due to proximity to Payne’s Valley, the new Woods designed course. Very long course with big elevation changes and blind shots, particularly off the tee (makes it hard on first timers). Fairways are wide and with good reason - if you are in the rough, you are dead. Pros - Staff were very friendly and very accommodating. Tee boxes and fairways were in excellent shape. From a scenery standpoint, very tough to beat this course (will be even better when construction on Payne’s Valley And surrounding area is complete). Cons - Pace of play was really bad, largely due to Course allowing 5 somes in October. You just cannot do that in October in my opinion, especially when players paying a premium to play your course. If you put a target stick in the middle of a fairway of a blind tee shot with instructions to hit at the stick, the advice needs to be solid, and it isn’t on at least two tee boxes. Greens in only fair condition, largely due to unrepaired ball marks. The driving range is great, but the clubhouse only has one bathroom which is a little odd. All in all, glad I played it and would do so again if rate was a little more reasonable. If you are asking mid to low $200s for a round in MO, should be close to a perfect course.

Conditions Good
Value Good
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Fair
Amenities Average
Difficulty Extremely Challenging
Default User Image
Anonymous
Played On
Handicap 5-9
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
3.0
First Time Playing
Perfect weather
Used cart

The course is beautiful. Tried to make tee time online couldn't do it. Website wouldn't let me. Spent an hour on phone just to make tee time. Then got email confirmation saying I didn't have tee time. Had to call again and finally got email confirmation. The staff were not helpful. When you arrive there was nobody to help unload bags. The guy at the door told me to unload the bags over there and just pointed where to put them. Went to pay and you have to download a QR reader app to sign liability waiver. I asked if I could just sign a piece of paper and lady behind the counter told me that this was the modern era and no I could not. My friend I was playing with didn't have one on his phone so had to go through process of downloading it for him to play.. Had to park about 300 yards down hill which was where the carts were located but then had to walk back to the clubhouse only to end up waiting for a cart. Starter finally came to get us(4some). Asked if we had carts. Told him we did not. He brought one in which the batteries were dead. Then gets a cart which had been used and not cleaned and not recharged. Cart died at end of round. Restaurant closed before every one was finished playing with no other facilities close. The course was ok but service was nonexistent. Wouldn't go back. Heard multiple people with similar complaints.

Conditions Good
Value Poor
Layout Good
Friendliness Poor
Pace Good
Amenities Poor
Difficulty Moderate
Played On
Reviews 512
Handicap 10-14
Skill Advanced
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Golf Advisor
First Time Playing
Windy weather
Used cart

Tiger sets a high bar at Payne's Valley

Tiger might not get a better piece of land or a better owner to work for than his first public effort in the United States. Johnny Morris, the founder of Bass Pro Shops who owns Big Cedar Lodge, gave Woods the budget to create an epic 19-hole experience in the Ozarks. You read that right. This is an experience, not just a round of golf.
The fairways are as wide as humanly possible, allowing golfers to swing away. It's his green complexes and elevation changes that defend par. The water features at the par-5 4th, par-3 10th, par-5 18th and par-3 19th are stunning. They don't feel like gimmicky, Trump-made waterfalls. They at least fit into the natural terrain, falling off of rocks that characterize the region.
The 19th hole, a 137-yard par 3 to an island green, will be the highlight of the round, followed by the wild cart ride along the cliffs back to the hilltop clubhouse.
Famous Dave's does a nice job serving quality food in the clubhouse. All in all, a day you won't forget.

Conditions Excellent
Value Good
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Reviews 512
Handicap 10-14
Skill Advanced
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Golf Advisor
First Time Playing
Perfect weather
Used cart

Tight compared to its sister courses

Tom Fazio's redesign of the old Branson Creek course set the golf boom ablaze at Big Cedar Lodge. Visitors are greeted at the clubhouse with sweeping views of the Ozarks. Real buffalo roam along the left side of the first fairway. It's quite the scene.
Buffalo Ridge Springs probably ranks as the hardest and most narrow course at the resort. It's loaded with twisting fairways guarded by scenic water features. It's a glorious cart ride from start to finish. If you can finish with one ball, you've played some stellar golf.

Conditions Excellent
Value Average
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Good
Difficulty Extremely Challenging
Played On
Reviews 512
Handicap 10-14
Skill Advanced
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Golf Advisor
First Time Playing
Perfect weather
Walked

The most fun you'll have at Big Cedar Lodge

Mountain Top gets the par-3 formula just right. It's fun, fast, interesting, playable, walkable, challenging, scenic and flat-out cool.
It's as good for beginners as it is for buddies looking for more golf before or after a regulation round. There's no water or cross hazards, other than the occasional bunker guarding a front portion of the green but not the entire thing. The stretch from the downhill 7th to the rocky 8th and 9th is simply fantastic. The 13th green is made to funnel shots toward the pin, so take aim for that hole-in-one!
If I had a minor complaint, it would be to ask for a little more variety of yardages. From the tips, there's only two holes playing between 125 to 170 yards. Those are the scoring clubs I need work on (along with many other golfers). Thankfully, your group can likely mix tees up to find the perfect match for your game.
Mountain Top shares a clubhouse with Payne's Valley, so playing both would make for one of the best 1-2 punches in resort golf.

Conditions Excellent
Value Good
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Reviews 512
Handicap 10-14
Skill Advanced
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Golf Advisor
First Time Playing
Perfect weather
Used cart

A tougher-than-expected C&C design

Phil Mickelson's BOMBs made Ozarks National look easy during the win in his PGA TOUR Champions debut. It isn't so simple for amateurs to go low. It's probably the toughest Coore & Crenshaw resort course I've played. With no rough, if you miss the fairway, the ball will bound into impossibly long grasses.
The front nine delivers what you'd expect from this dynamic architectural duo. It's filled with scoring opportunities with three par 3s, three par 5s and a pair of short par 4s. The back nine, however, felt like a penal parade of long par 4s (462, 440, 428, and 425 yards) with less variety. Maybe this issue can be solved with some combo tees. Most golfers will play from the golds (6,510 yards) since the whites (5,903 yards) look too short on the card. I love the inclusion of a comfort station with free ice cream, chips, snacks and hotdogs. Groups pass it several times, so nobody leaves Ozarks National hungry.

Conditions Excellent
Value Good
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Extremely Challenging
Played On
Reviews 512
Handicap 10-14
Skill Advanced
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Golf Advisor
First Time Playing
Perfect weather
Used cart

One tough par 3

Top of the Rock will wow and intimidate you at the same time. It's a demanding test of golf. No matter how short the hole, there's always an obstacle in the way of par, a bunker, water hazard or slope of the green.
I'd recommend you play it twice before worrying about how poorly you scored the first time around. So much elevation change creates a lot of guess work with club selection. Plus, much of the first time you play is spent looking around at the scenery. Maybe the second time you can focus on executing the proper shot.

Conditions Excellent
Value Average
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Extremely Challenging
Played On
Reviews 2
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
First Time Playing

Great course except...

My friend and I drove 2 hours to play this course. We needed to use the restroom upon arrival. To our astonishment there was only one bathroom at the club house for men and women. One stool! Outstanding course, friendly employees, but why on earth would you only have one bathroom? Johnny Morris screwed this one up!

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Average
Played On
Reviews 14
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a month
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Previously Played

Scenic Golf

The layout of Buffalo Ridge is what makes it, conditions are good but the scenery of the course is worth it in itself for the price of admission. It’s a genuinely fun course and presents challenges while still being player friendly for the middle handicapper like myself. Can’t wait to go back!

Conditions Good
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Good
Pace Good
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Reviews 14
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a month
I Recommend This Course
5.0
First Time Playing

Best Course in MO!

Quite honestly the best course in Missouri public or private and the best course I personally have played. We were fortunate enough to play here during preview play and the conditions of the course and views are simply stunning. Wide fairways make it very player friendly as well. Amazing course!

Conditions Excellent
Value Good
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Default User Image
Commented on 10/20/2020

Everyone has an opinion and my opinion is it's not even the best course on this road. Buffalo Ridge is a better layout, better scenery and better value at almost half the price.

Played On
Reviews 14
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a month
I Recommend This Course
5.0
First Time Playing

Excellent Conditions

Ozarks National is a fantastic course and was in amazing condition. Greens were as pure as can be and free hot dogs at the turn was a nice touch!

Conditions Excellent
Value Good
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Reviews 304
Handicap 5-9
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Golf Advisor
Perfect weather
Walked

tremendous C&C routing

I caught Ozarks National on a beautiful 80-degree August day and decided to walk the course. I wasn't alone; I saw a lot of trolleys out there that afternoon. The routing is definitely hilly but highly walkable with tees always steps from the previous green. The scenery is great throughout with long views (though Payne's Valley next door may have better overall views) and the walk comes with strolls across bridges in the woods and several "hub" spots at comfort stations.

After playing Payne's 13-hole preview in the morning, some landing zones at ON were a little tighter but there is still a lot of room on most tee shots. The green complexes are phenomenal and subtly tricky at times. There are risk-reward options, especially on the front nine, with two short par 4s and a few great par 5s, including the opener. The 5th is one of the best and boldest short par 4s in the country with decisions galore off the tee.

If I had to knock ON, it's that there are a few too many elevated greens, which might get old for higher handicaps. The par 3s and 5s are front loaded with 3s and 5s in the first 12 holes and 5 of the last 6 holes are par 4s. Quite a few of the tee markers were moved up a box compared to what the yardage was on the card and that's a pet peeve of mine. I ended up playing from the plates on some holes.

The par-3 17th is stunning but it ate my lunch. I went pin seeking to a back left location and ended up making triple.

I was a little surprised at how few amenities were at the Ozarks National clubhouse so for hot food you have to make the short cart trip to the Mountain Top-Payne's clubhouse. The practice facility has a great range and short game area.

I think $195 for this course is a steal compared to other resort courses these days that earn $250+. It can hold its own with the top resort courses in the country with both scenery and interesting design.

Conditions Good
Value Good
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Good
Pace Good
Amenities Good
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Reviews 304
Handicap 5-9
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Golf Advisor
First Time Playing
Perfect weather
Used cart

Tiger's first public effort aims to please

I played the 13-hole preview loop of Payne's Valley on a gorgeous early-August morning. I must say, the setting of the clubhouse at the top of the mountain and overlooking both the Mountain Top par-3 course and Payne's Valley is absolutely mesmerizing. It is one of the best bag drop locations I've ever seen.

If you want to hit balls, you'll have to take a short cart ride to the excellent practice facility at Ozarks National, so allow a few extra minutes to get there.

The opening tee shot at Payne's Valley is similarly breathtaking: a long but straight and downhill par 4 with a beautiful valley view beyond.

Tiger's design is wide, gently shaped and has more downhill shots than up. Compared to nextdoor Ozarks National, which I played later that afternoon, there are wider landing zones and fewer elevated greens. I suspect Big Cedar's Johnny Morris and Tiger decided to build something more player-friendly that Big Cedar's other two full-length courses.

The whole layout feels rather comfortable. Views are surreal at all times. I'd recommend playing Payne's first before moving up to Buffalo Ridge and Ozarks National on your Big Cedar golf trip.

Conditions Good
Layout Good
Pace Average
Amenities Good
Difficulty Moderate
Played On
Reviews 1
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
First Time Playing

Stunning

This stunning golf course checks off all of the boxes. A lot of elevation changes that makes the first go around a little difficult but very enjoyable. Stepping onto the first tee box looking down to the hole, you get lost in the beauty of the landscape and buffalo roaming in viewing distance. Once you get off each green, you’ll be excited to see what is in store on the next hole. The fairways and greens were in excellent condition. We had a group of 8 of all skill types and we played on pace, even with taking a lot of photographs.

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Good
Played On
Reviews 3
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Previously Played

Absolutely Fantastic

This course is unique, fun and views are unbelievable. If you have not played a Coore/Crenshaw course, they design a course that is challenging, but fair. Make sure you pick the correct tees and you will be in for a great, rewarding and fun round of golf.

The staff from beverage cart, to marshals, to club house staff are there to make your day enjoyable and memorable. They are very helpful, informative and willing to do whatever it takes to make your visit great.

The corse is in perfect condition. Does not seem to be a blade of grass out of p,ace. Greens are true and fast. Green complexes are interesting to say the least. Some greens are huge and all seem to fit the type of hole you are playing perfectly. Number of memorable holes. Holes 4, 7, 11 and 12 are just a few that standout. The views over the entire course are amazing. They designed the course along the ridges of the mountains and you seem to be able to see for miles on every hole of the Ozarks.

As per earlier reviews I have done of this course and Buffalo Ridge, Johnny Morris has made it quite clear he is committed to making the Branson area a golf Mecca. As a PGA Professional, I have had the privilege of playing some great courses and resorts throughout the country and these courses rank right up there with any I have played.

Make a trip to Branson. You will not be disappointed. Ozark National is a true gem and I look forward to visiting again soon.

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Reviews 3
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Previously Played

Splendid as always

Played this course few days ago and experience was as pleasant as before. Great course and layout. Conditions were excellent. Staff from top down was friendly, informative and helpful. Went out of their way to make the day fun and exciting.

Course is very challenging, so make sure you select the correct tees to play. More than one signature hole within the 18. Holes 2 and 8 on the front and holes 12, 14 and 18 on the back. Scenery is beautiful throughput the course.

I wrote a review a year ago and will state again, Johnny Morris, of Bass Pro Shop and Big Cedar fame is turning Branson into a great golf destination. Once Payne’s Valley, a Tiger Wood’s design is complete this fall, thee will be five great golf options just within the Big Cedar family.

Treat yourself to some great golf in the Branson area. You will not be disappointed. As a PGA professional I have had a chance to play a number of great courses and resorts across the country and this area and quality of courses and level of service will stack up to any.

Conditions Good
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Good
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