Tiger Woods to Unveil First Public Design at Big Cedar Lodge

Branson’s Big Cedar Lodge is Booming

tiger woods big cedar lodge cover

Tiger’s First Public Design to Debut in 2019

 By Chris Duthie

If you’re a golf fan of Branson, Missouri, prepare for an extraordinary, cleat-tightening experience: A new 18-hole Tiger Woods design is under construction on 4,600 acres owned by Bass Pro Shops founder and CEO Johnny Morris.

When completed in 2019, Tiger’s first public course in America will add considerable panache to Big Cedar Lodge, a resort property that, quite suddenly, is being regarded among the more compelling golf destinations in the world. Among its award-winning guest perks are the Jack Nicklaus-designed Top of the Rock par-3 course and the Tom Fazio-crafted Buffalo Ridge course, both of which host a PGA Tour Champions event each spring.

But wait — there’s more. Woods also will orchestrate a par-3 short course adjacent to Big Cedar Lodge; a new 13-hole public course penned by Gary Player has just opened; and next year the resort will debut a 7,000-yard Bill Coore/Ben Crenshaw public routing.

big cedar lodge top of the rock golf courses tiger woods


“I couldn’t be more proud to partner with Johnny Morris to debut my first public-access courses at Big Cedar Lodge,” said Woods. “Johnny’s passion for connecting people of all ages and walks of life to nature is truly inspiring. Together we’re excited to create a publicly accessible world-class golf experience in the center of America.”

Inspiring indeed. Woods’ and Morris’ friendship actually began 20 years ago when Tiger, fresh from his 1997 Masters Tournament victory, purchased a Bass Pro Shop fishing boat.

“My son and I had the opportunity to deliver the boat and spend the day bass fishing with [Woods],” recalls Morris. “You really get to know a person when you’re able to spend quiet time on the water fishing together.

“When we contemplated building another golf course at Big Cedar, my son John and I visited Tiger’s new Bluejack National course in Texas and we were blown away,” he says. “After spending more time with Tiger and his team, it became apparent to us that Tiger is extremely dedicated to applying his worldly knowledge of golf to develop great courses.”

The new Woods routing is named “Payne’s Valley,” paying tribute to Ozarks native son Payne Stewart, a friend of both Morris and Woods who won 11 PGA Tour events, including three major championships. To further honor Stewart’s legacy, Morris, with the help of Coore and Crenshaw, is also creating a superlative practice facility that will also host a tribute museum displaying Stewart’s personal trophies, scorecards, apparel, equipment, photos and more.

big cedar lodge resort

Anchoring it all is Big Cedar Lodge, named the last two years as the number-one resort in the Midwest by readers of Travel + Leisure magazine. Overlooking 43,000-acre Table Rock Lake, the upscale retreat features a rustic but elegant collection of lodges, cottages and cabins indelibly complemented by four restaurants, spa, marina, five swimming pools and 40,000 square feet of meeting space.

Also part of the Big Cedar amenities mix: Just-opened Fun Mountain with 50,000 square feet of adventure and activities like bowling, billiards, climbing wall, laser tag, bumper cars, arcade and more; Ancient Ozarks Natural History Museum; and 15 minutes away, the 10,000-acre Dogwood Canyon Nature Park.

To find out more, go online to BigCedar.com.

What are your favorite memories of Branson? Share your comments below.

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Chris Duthie is a Durango-based contributor to Colorado AvidGolfer.

Colorado AvidGolfer is the state’s leading resource for golf and the lifestyle that surrounds it, publishing eight issues annually and proudly delivering daily content via coloradoavidgolfer.com.