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Big Cedar Lodge: Gateway to the Ozarks

Big Cedar Lodge
Ozarks National Golf Course

Take a look behind the scenes at Buffalo Ridge and Ozarks National at Johnny Morris’ Big Cedar Lodge, to be featured in upcoming PGA Tour Champions event.

Big Cedar Lodge is redefining golf in the Ozarks. Ozarks National and Buffalo Ridge courses, designed in partnership with Johnny Morris, noted conservationist and founder of Bass Pro Shops, serves as the gateway to the Ozarks National Forest and further cements Big Cedar Lodge as "America’s Next Great Golf Destination."

Hosting back-to-back tournaments in the upcoming Charles Schwab Series, each course has a unique story. The Tom Fazio-designed Buffalo Ridge course has been acclaimed as one of the region’s top golf courses, transformed by Johnny Morris’ vision and collaboration with the renowned golf course architect. Adding new approaches, water features and bunkers, Morris and Fazio redesigned the (formerly Branson Creek Golf Club) 18-hole course layout to bring players in close contact with the great outdoors.

Native prairie grasses line the course, and as you play, you will travel over many streams via the Amish-built bridges while taking in views of waterfalls, lakes and caves. Throughout Morris’ Big Cedar properties, these hand-crafted Amish bridges have been incorporated to create seemingly natural connections along the land. Notably, the championship course gets its namesake from the free-ranging North American Bison that roam the ridge from nearby Dogwood Canyon Nature Park. The serene, par 71 course was rated the #1 course you can play in Missouri by Golfweek in 2019.

Tom Fazio states, “…this property at Buffalo Ridge is even grander than what anyone can imagine. I’m shocked… every time I come here I am amazed."

Buffalo Ridge 14th hole
Buffalo Ridges' 14th hole.

The second Big Cedar Golf course to host the upcoming series showcases the famed golf course architect duo of Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw who both share Morris’ passion and appreciation for nature and conservation and aim to maintain the integrity and natural beauty of the Ozarks with every hole. The design of the course is a striking display for the senses and a fitting tribute to the Ozarks region.

“The scenery plus the vegetation and the way that this property moves makes it different than anything we’ve ever built,” notes Crenshaw.

The 18-hole championship course, measuring 7,036 yards from the back tees, represents the terrain of the land with incredible vistas and stunning views showcasing jaw-dropping surroundings of the Ozarks, including strategic bunkering and slopes that enhance the player experience.

Ozarks National also boasts one of the unique Amish-built bridges, a significant wooden beam and plank bridge built to carry golfers, walking or in a golf cart, from the 13th tee to the 13th fairway. The bridge spans approximately 400-feet and, at its highest point, is 60-feet above the flowing creek below.

Another unique feature, an old house called “The Stone House” is located between the 5th and 16th greens. It sits in front of an irrigation lake stocked with bass and is thought to be 100 years-old. The home has been completely refurbished, including an indoor fireplace, outdoor patio and fire pit, and may be a lodging option for guests in the future.

Designed to test avid players and golf travelers from around the world and provide the perfect complement to the 18-hole layout at Buffalo Ridge, Ozarks National, like nearly all of Coore & Crenshaw’s designs, is a very walkable course ready for tournament play of any kind. It was named the Best New Public Course in America by Golf Digest in 2019.

Watch a glimpse with Ben Crenshaw as he gives insight on the course during its construction in 2018:

Designing Ozarks National with Ben Crenshaw

Big Cedar Lodge is advancing Morris’ vision for a world-class outdoor resort that combines a shared appreciation for nature and a premier golf experience. Buffalo Ridge and Ozarks National combined with existing courses, Top of the Rock, Mountain Top, designed by Gary Player, and the newest Big Cedar course, Payne’s Valley, designed by Tiger Woods, make for a world-class golf experience, advancing the property as America’s Next Great Golf Destination.

Catch both Buffalo Ridge and Ozarks National on the Golf Channel during the PGA TOUR Champions Charles Schwab Series at Bass Pro Shops’ Big Cedar Lodge. The series will feature back-to-back 54-hole tournaments played over a nine-day period in August and each tournament will compete for a $3 million purse.

The Charles Schwab Series at Buffalo Ridge will take place Aug. 19-21 at the Buffalo Ridge Course, with the Charles Schwab Series at Ozarks National to follow on Aug. 24-26. Practice rounds for each event will be held the two days prior to competition.

For more information about Big Cedar Lodge and the family of Big Cedar golf courses, visit www.Bigcedar.com/golf