Tiger Woods’ vision for a golf course is one where you don’t have to be…well, Tiger Woods to be able to play it. Woods has already designed the Diamante in Los Cabos, Mexico, and the Bluejack National, near Houston, Texas, with the thought of creating courses where anyone can play. Now he’s moved on to his next course, Payne’s Valley at Big Cedar Lodge, in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri.
“I want to see a lot of birdies made here,” says Woods about the course, which is set to open in the spring. “I have always felt that golf is about bringing people together and this has served as my inspiration to design fun and playable courses.” To that end, Payne’s Valley features a “championship-caliber, family-friendly golf experience that will allow individuals of all skill levels to come together to enjoy the game and the beautiful natural setting.” Throughout the course, players will encounter exposed rock outcroppings, streams and water hazards, valleys and ridges, mature trees, and professionally maintained grounds. The course consists of the normal 18 holes, but also has a 19th hole, thought up by owner Johnny Morris, for settling bets.
For Woods, the course recalls his memories of playing golf as a kid with his father. “Some of my greatest memories are growing up playing golf alongside my dad at public courses,” says Woods. “I want to create courses that future generations can share those experiences and I can play with my kids.” To make it more playable, the course is built following an “inland links” design that is seen in the Australian Sandbelt. These types of courses offer multiple ways to play a hole, either through the air or on the ground. “I want the ground to be a player’s friend. Tightly mowed green surroundings allow players the option of using everything from a putter to a lob wedge when recovering from a missed green. I believe this allows players to play to their strengths versus forcing them to hit a lob wedge out of thick rough. It also promotes creativity.”
Payne’s Valley is slotted to be a part of the many activities and amenities to be found at the Big Cedar Lodge wilderness resort and family destination. Big Cedar is located in Ridgedale, Missouri.