Industry News

Golf Digest rates Ozarks National as the 'Best New Public Course in the United States, 2019'

Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw designed the championship-caliber 18-hole layout in the Branson Missouri Ozarks

(Branson, Missouri; December 3, 2019) – Golf Digest reviewers rank Ozarks National No. 1 in the publication’s “Best New Public Course 2019” roster. Opened for play on May 1, 2019, the Big Cedar Lodge amenity has quickly garnered acclaim from media, golfers, and industry participants.

The 8th hole at Ozarks National Golf Course
The 8th hole at Ozarks National

Designed by two of the world’s finest golf architects, Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, they created a stunning course in tandem with Bass Pro Shops and Big Cedar Lodge Founder Johnny Morris. Ozarks National has earned many accolades since opening on May 1 of this year. The acclaimed and gorgeous playing venue outshines other best-new layouts including ones at Pinehurst Resort (NC) and Arcadia Bluffs (MI).

“The awards that Branson-area courses hold are impressive and underscore the variety and high quality of our golf destination options,” said Lynn Berry, Director of Communications, Branson Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Complementing Ozarks National are Buffalo Ridge Springs, LedgeStone, Mountain Top, The Pointe, Top of the Rock, Holiday Hills, Branson Hills, and Payne’s Valley. We’re quickly becoming America’s Next Great Golf Destination.”

Buffalo Ridge Springs, Branson Hills, and LedgeStone are rated nos. 1, 2, and 6, respectively, by Golfweek in its 2019 “Best Courses You Can Play by State.”

Ozarks National is Missouri’s first and only golf course designed by Coore and Crenshaw. Measuring 7,036 yards from the back tees, the course reflects the glorious terrain of the Ozarks, complemented by scenic views. The 18-hole layout features challenging carries and a variety of visually appealing approach shots that are highlighted by the native habitat. The course also includes interesting features, such as a 400-foot wooden beam and plank bridge, which connects the tee box and fairway of the 13th hole that stands 60-feet above a flowing creek.

To determine Golf Digest's “America's Best New Golf Courses,” more than 1,600 Golf Digest panelists across the U.S. and Canada played and evaluated Best New candidate courses, scoring each in eight evaluation categories: Shot Options, Layout Variety, Challenge, Distinctiveness, Aesthetics, Conditioning, Character and Fun.

Some Golf Digest rater comments include the following ones that lavish praise on Ozarks National, Big Cedar Lodge’s fourth course (with a fifth coming in 2020 by Tiger Woods and his TGR Design team):

- “I was totally blown away by Ozarks National and its rugged aesthetics: high grass on the perimeter, asymmetrical traps and views of the Ozark Mountains. It was as good as any course in the Midwest.”
- “Stunning views from nearly every hole, minimalist teeing areas, very large greens, most with collection areas, some with false fronts.”
- “Possibly the biggest surprise of my course-ranking travels. With the severity of the land, I expected a choppy experience, but was treated to a flowing, beautifully routed course with unreal views. The playability was a little tight at times, but overall, they made excellent, strategic use of the land. Infinity greens and sight lines that stretch for miles add to the pleasure of the experience.”

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About Explore Branson Golf
Ozarks National, 800.225.6343
Mountain Top Course, 800.225.6343
Pointe Royale Golf Village, 417.334.4477
Thousand Hills Golf Resort, 800.487.0769, 417.334.4553
Buffalo Ridge Springs Golf Course, 800.225.6343
LedgeStone Country Club at StoneBridge Village, 417.335.8187
Top of the Rock Golf Course, 800.225.6343
Branson Hills Golf Club, 417.337.2963
Payne’s Valley, 800.225.6343
Holiday Hills Resort and Golf Club, 417.334.4838

About Explore Branson
Branson is a one-of-a-kind family vacation destination nestled in the lakeside beauty of the Ozark Mountains — and an incredible value — with dozens of live performance theaters, three pristine lakes, an international award-winning theme park, dozens of attractions and museums, a Historic Downtown district, a Town Center-style shopping complex, a full range of dining options, and a host of hotels, motels, resorts, RV parks, campgrounds and meeting and conference facilities. Branson is less than one day's drive for one-third of America’s residents. With low-cost flights to the Branson Airport (BKG and nearby Springfield-Branson National Airport (SGF), it has never been easier to access Branson. Call 1-800-296-0463 for help planning your next vacation, convention or reunion. See more at:

Dan Shepherd,, 703.403.5317