Inside Tiger Woods' First Professionally Designed Public Golf Course

Head to Payne's Valley Golf Course if you want to play a round like the pro golfer himself.

Payne's Valley Golf Course
Photo: Big Cedar Lodge

In September 2020, Tiger Woods moved into the next phase of golf greatness by designing and opening a new public golf course that you can play on, too.

Located in Missouri's Ozark Mountains and part of the Big Cedar Lodge collection of epic Midwestern golf courses — which also includes Top of the Rock, Buffalo Ridge, Mountain Top, and Ozarks National — Payne's Valley is the first public-access golf course in the U.S. designed by Tiger Woods and his design firm.

As the team behind the resort explained, golf is "a perfect socially distanced activity for fall." The course, the team added, opened just two days after Woods played it himself during the Payne's Valley Cup. Others hitting the course during the event included Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, and Justin Rose.

As for the course's name, it's in homage to Ozarks native and golf legend Payne Stewart. The course, the team said, was "designed to showcase the natural beauty of the Ozarks. Payne's Valley stands out with its inviting layout, pristine water features, large fairways and greens, and spectacular 19th hole, the Big Rock at Payne's Valley."

"The breathtaking beauty and pure majesty of my native Ozarks is something you have to see to believe. To be able to harness this unique landscape and make it come alive through our golf courses has been an honor that has been driven by passion," said Johnny Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops and Big Cedar Lodge, in a statement when the course opened in September 2020. "Tiger and I have a 20-year friendship that started through fishing and has evolved into the great partnership that created Payne's Valley. We look forward to showcasing this destination to the world through the Payne's Valley Cup and truly believe we are creating 'America's Next Great Golf Destination."

cabin in woods at Big Cedar Lodge
Big Cedar Lodge

Of course, this isn't the only professional-grade golf course guests can experience while staying at Big Cedar Lodge. Guests can also play at one of the resort's other four world-class courses designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, and Tom Fazio, as mentioned above. Don't worry, even if you're only great at putt-putt they'll still welcome you.

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