A new Par 3 course is being built at Payne’s Valley, the first Tiger Woods-designed public golf course located near Branson, Bass Pro Shops confirmed to the News-Leader on Wednesday afternoon.
News-Leader reporters recently observed a major construction project in the Ozarks Mountains that is being built west of the clubhouse and the middle of the Woods course that opened in 2020. The construction goes from the top of the mountain down into an area of land that was previously an open field.
Multiple construction vehicles were seen working among the mounds of dirt before wrapping up for the day. Construction is still in its early stages and no timetable for completion was shared.
“We believe what is taking shape will offer one of the most extraordinary Par 3-course experiences anywhere,” Bass Pro said in a statement. “As well, it will be fun! In fact, we are sure it will be one of the most fun experiences in the world!”
Bass Pro did not say whether Woods would be involved with the project. Construction is in the middle of the course that he designed.
Bass Pro Shops noted in its statement that the course will be committed to sustainable conservation practices in both its development and operations practices.
“This approach will be the same diligent process that has earned Audubon Signature Certification for our five other courses,” the statement added. “Additionally, all profits from green fees will directly support conservation efforts here in the Ozarks through the Johnny Morris Conservation Foundation.”
Payne’s Valley, which opened in 2020, is an 18-hole course adjacent to the Buffalo Ridge site and is the newest part of the Big Cedar Lodge stable of courses south of Branson. Woods opened the course with the “Payne’s Valley Cup” event in Sept. 2020 which also featured Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas and Justin Rose.
The course is named after Ozarks legend Payne Stewart, who attended Greenwood Laboratory School on Missouri State’s campus. He won three major championships in his career and was named to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2001. The sports world was shocked when he died in an aviation accident at the age of 42.
Payne’s Valley was named Golf Digest’s “Best New Public Course in North America” in 2021. It also features a 19th hole that was designed by Bass Pro Shops CEO and founder Johnny Morris that includes a hole on an island and a breathtaking view of waterfalls tucked away in the valley below the clubhouse.
Bass Pro Shops and Big Cedar Lodge had been unusually silent, in terms of golf, in recent years following its opening. None of its five courses has hosted a national-level event since the Payne’s Valley Cup or a PGA TOUR Champions tournament that took place at Ozarks National in the previous month.
The lack of major events could be attributed to the success the course has had since opening to the public. Payne’s Valley is often booked months in advance as golfers seek the experience of playing on the course.
Bass Pro discontinued the “Legends of Golf” PGA Tour Champions event in 2019 after it made its debut in 2014. The premier golf destination also has not hosted a celebrity event that coincided with Legends of Golf since before the pandemic.
Prior to the Payne’s Valley opening, the Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw-designed Ozarks National course was the latest to be unveiled in 2019. The Big Cedar Lodge golfing catalog also includes Buffalo Ridge, Top of the Rock and Mountain Top.
A growing trend in new golf courses has been the addition of lights to expand hours of operation. None of the courses in Big Cedar Lodge’s current catalog offer night golf.
Wyatt D. Wheeler is a reporter and columnist with the Springfield News-Leader. You can contact him at 417-371-6987, by email at [email protected] or Twitter at @WyattWheeler_NL.
This article originally appeared on Springfield News-Leader: Tiger Woods-designed Payne’s Valley adding a Par 3 course in Branson