Big Cedar Lodge’s grand plans to create the premier golf destination in the Midwest just got bigger with the announcement of a new course at Buffalo Ridge to be designed by the world-renowned golf course architect team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. The agreement features a new 18-hole championship course laid out along magnificent high plateaus of the Ozark range that will deliver a premium golf experience like no other in the region.
Already a top travel destination, Big Cedar Lodge vaulted onto the national golf stage this past year with the re-opening of two courses (Top of the Rock designed by Jack Nicklaus and Buffalo Ridge, Springs course, designed by Tom Fazio), the staging of the Big Cedar Lodge Legends of Golf Champions Tour event and the announcement of a new short-course complex designed by the legendary Gary Player. This partnership with Coore & Crenshaw sharpens Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris’ vision for a world-class outdoor resort that combines a shared appreciation for nature and conservation with a premier national destination golf experience.
“We have been in discussions with Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw over the past three years about creating a golf showcase in the Ozarks that highlights the changing terrains, distant views and wooded paths that make this region one of the nation’s most beloved natural resources,” Morris said. “Bill, Ben and I share a passion and appreciation for nature and a commitment to preserving the timeless landscape that serves as the leading signature for our region. The design of this new course should be a striking display for the senses and fitting tribute to a place we call home.”
Known for a minimalist approach to design that accentuates native landscapes, grasses and wildlife, Coore & Crenshaw have left their imprint on such heralded courses as The Sand Hills Golf Club (1995), Streamsong Red (2013), Bandon Trails (2005) and Kapalua Resort Plantation (1991). Matching this accomplished design team with the pragmatic visions of one of the nation’s leading conservationists in Morris promises to deliver a truly unique round of golf.
“When we visited the site on Buffalo Ridge, we were immediately reminded of some of the terrain we have successfully worked in locations such as Clear Creek at Lake Tahoe and Old Sandwich Club in Massachusetts,” Coore said. “The raw beauty of the views, meadows and elevation changes will serve as our creative motivation to deliver a golf experience that matches the Johnny Morris’ vision for Big Cedar Lodge.”
Top of the Rock, known as the first-ever par-3 course to be utilized in a PGA TOUR event, features nature and golf at its finest. Perched high above Table Rock Lake, the peaceful water falls, wandering creeks, bass filled ponds and pristine lakes of Top of the Rock complete a true celebration of nature, the Ozarks and the game of golf. The experience includes Top of the Rock, a Jack Nicklaus Signature Design Course, an Arnold Palmer-designed Practice Facility, Tom Watson’s 70,000 square-foot putting complex called the “Himalayas,” and Arnie’s Barn, re-located from Arnold Palmer’s backyard in Latrobe, Pa., complete with historic photos and memorabilia from Palmer’s career achievements.
In the words of PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem, “If there was ever a par-3 course worthy of PGA TOUR tournament play, Top of the Rock is it.”
Matching the beauty of Top of the Rock is the redesigned Buffalo Ridge Springs course (formerly Branson Creek). Already acclaimed as the region’s top golf course, Buffalo Ridge has been transformed by the guiding hands of visionary conservationist Johnny Morris and renowned golf course architect Tom Fazio. Adding new approaches, water features and bunkers, Morris and Fazio have redesigned the course layout to bring players in close contact with nature, native grasses and free-ranging buffalo from nearby Dogwood Canyon Nature Park.