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Len Ziehm On Golf

OZARKS NATIONAL

Location: Hollister, Mo.

Course architect: Bill Coore/Ben Crenshaw.

Opened: Nov. 1, 2018.

Par 71

Tee – Yard/rating/slope

Men: Tips 7,036/73.9/131; Gold 6,510/71.3/126; White 5,903/68.6/118; Red 5,025/64.6/112.
Women: Gold 6,510;77.4/132; White 5,903/74.0/128; Red 5,025/69.2/117.

Green fee: Preview play in November is $150 with a replay rate of $100. In December the prices drop to $125 for preview play and $85 for a replay.

Caddie service: Limited for now.

Walker friendly: Yes.

Fairways: Zoysia.

Greens: Bentgrass.

Rough: Buffalo grass is dominant, and getting in it can mean big trouble.

THE REVIEW

Starter: Golf-wise big things have been happening in the Missouri Ozarks and the opening of Ozarks National is the most recent. Payne’s Valley, a Tiger Woods design, is scheduled to open in the fall of 2019 next to Ozarks National. Coore/Crenshaw, though, is one of the most respected architectural teams in the world and any of their creations merits attention. This one opens to public preview play on Nov. 1, and it’ll continue through Dec. 15 before the course is closed for the winter months.

Play because: Though it’s not official yet Ozarks National is expected to be one of the courses used in the Legends of Golf event on PGA Tour Champions next April, replacing neighbor Buffalo Ridge Springs. Grand Opening festivities at Ozarks National are planned to coincide with the Legends of Golf event. It’ll be one of the most talked about courses of 2019.

Takeaway: The course is in a gorgeous setting with beautiful vistas and not much water. It has an unusually diverse collection of holes, and they’ll keep your attention throughout. Though the course is ready for play many more things are still to be done. A spacious clubhouse is expected to be ready sometime next spring and a 15-acre practice range, a putting course and two additional practice greens will also be added eventually.

Ratings (1 to 10 scale, 10 being highest)

Food/beverage: 8

Pro shop: 8.

Clubhouse: 9 (This is on the clubhouse at Mountain Top, the Gary Player-designed 13-hole par-3 course that is being used for Ozarks National guests until a new clubhouse is completed in the spring).

Course difficulty: 8, but choice of tees is critical. From the tips it’s definitely a championship-style course.

Pace of play: 10 (But, then, our group of two foursomes had the course all to ourselves).

Overall score: 9.2

THE COURSE SCORECARD

Best Par 3: No. 12, 254/213/175/133.
Rarely will a par-3 be the No. 2 handicap hole on any course, but this one merits it. It’ll takes its place among the best long par-3s in the country. The small, uphill green is protected by a ravine on the left and trees on the right. There’s very little room for error here.

Best Par 4: No. 5, 352/306/248/161.
I love this hole. It is a true short par-4, one that’s reachable for all levels of players if they use the proper tee. There are tougher par-4s on the layout but this one perfectly fits what this course is all about – a fun but still meaningful challenge that you’ll remember once the round is over.

Best Par 5: No. 9, 597/549/516/453.
The course’s No. 1 handicap hole comes right after somewhat of a breather at the par-3 eighth in the rotation. That dramatic transition may accentuate the difficulty of the longer hole. Still, this winding hole is the longest on the course – definitely a three-shotter.

INFO

Website: www.golfbigcedar.com

Phone:. 417-339-5420.

Facebook: facebook.com/BigCedarLodgeGolf

Instagram: instagram.com/ExploreBranson

Twitter: @GolfBigCedar

Rated by: Len Ziehm

Category: Morning Read