A golf mecca is taking shape in Missouri

Getting people to experience the great outdoors and the beauty of his hometown Ozarks is a dream of Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris.

He continues to put his money where his mouth is, building the world class Big Cedar Lodge resort near Branson, Missouri, and continuing to expand its offerings to attract more guests and create more jobs in the area.

News broke Thursday that Morris’ dream will get another boost with the announcement of a Tiger Woods-designed course in the Big Cedar Lodge’s backyard. The Woods announcement comes on the heels of the opening of a Gary Player short course, a highly-acclaimed Tom Fazio 18-hole championship course and a neighboring course by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw that is currently in construction.

Tiger’s course will neighbor the Coore & Crenshaw course, each inhabiting half of the land that made up a former travesty of a course, John Daly’s Murder Rock Golf Club, which opened in 2007 and enjoyed a short life with very little acclaim. It’s no surprise that Daly’s foray into design was short-lived – Murder Rock’s 18 holes occupied a great deal of land and epitomized everything wrong with golf course design at the time – tight, penal holes that punish the average player.

Tiger and his design team will have their work cut out for them on the rocky land. This topography makes shaping and building contours – two of the most integral aspects of modern design – particularly difficult because the bed of rock lies just a foot under the topsoil. This rock will make for a unique look and some fantastic views but can wreak havoc on the design process.  

From his early designs, it’s evident that Tiger values width and playability in his courses. But given the land and the corridors he will be working with in Missouri, it will take a good deal of dynamite to continue that trend.

Stay tuned for more to come on this project.


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