Dream Valley Golf Course’s 18-hole layout unfurls across 6,255 yards of pristine fairways kissed by seven ponds amid a farmland perimeter teeming with lush foliage. Though mostly characterized by forgiving, tree-lined fairways, the course’s inventive layout requires adept course management with many twisting hole designs and flagsticks that double as jousting sticks during golf-cart battles. A dramatic dogleg right on the par-4 fourth forms the course’s hardest-rated hole, wherein golfers must either attack the 365-yard corridor by crushing a forced carry over a large pond or lay up about 160–180 yards for a safer but less rewarding tee shot. Clubbers can careen across the emerald meadows on their own spiky-soled feet or enlist the help of the club’s stock of rental carts, which help loop the links efficiently while insisting on being called a Mars rover-in-training.
Course at a Glance:
Celebrated by Golfweek as one of the 40 Best New Courses of 2010, the site where Civil War–bushwhacker Alfred Bolin and his gang once ambushed unsuspecting travelers is now John Daly’s Murder Rock Golf and Country Club. The 18-hole course plots an oscillating, 6,727-yard path over the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. The first hole sets the tone for the round with an elevated tee box that looks out 363 yards downhill into the mountainous contours that ripple against the horizon. The par 71 course concludes at the daunting 18th hole—the course’s longest par four and most difficult hole—where an aggressive drive can cut off the corner of a dog-leg right on the way to a severely sloped green and portal into Space Jam.
Legs weary from ascending steep hills or squat-thrusting golf carts can take a load off at Glenn’s at Murder Rock. Amid dark-stained wood paneling and leather-upholstered chairs, the eatery serves an inventive grill menu including steak flatbread sandwiches and pitas stuffed with Cajun-seasoned chicken or shrimp.
Course at a Glance:
Amid the dense woods and dramatic slopes of the Ozarks, the sun rises over an 18-hole golf course, casting 7,324 yards of Tour-worthy fairways and greens in golden hues. A mist rises up from the grass blades, a nearby bird calls out, and it becomes obvious how fitting of a memorial the setting is to the late Payne Stewart. The iconic knickers-clad Missouri native charmed the golf world and won two U.S. Opens and a PGA Championship before his untimely end in 1999. Today, the Chuck Smith–designed Payne Stewart Golf Club carries hole names such as “Payne’s Pit” and “Chelsea’s Kiss”—the latter a reference to Payne’s daughter—in tribute.
A serpentine creek gurgles between two sets of parallel holes—the 9th and 15th, and the 16th and 17th—placing a premium on confident swings and sand wedges that double as snorkels. The most difficult hole on the course, the 9th, boasts tricky shot-making challenges—the tee shot and approach must clear water—and memorable scenery as golfers traverse a footbridge to reach the green, which sits next to a waterfall. In 2012, such features helped the course top Golfweek’s list of best courses in Missouri.
Course at a Glance
Using the Ozark Mountains as a striking backdrop, Kings River Golf Course invites clubbers to swing and putt their way across 18 holes of gently undulating terrain. Dogwoods and redbuds cast cool shadows over each fairway, their leaves showcasing rich shades of green in the summer, fading to an impressionistic tapestry of reds, oranges, and yellows in the fall, and assuming a velvety purple once a year to celebrate Prince's birthday. As golfers split fairways with soaring drives, views of the Ozark Mountains appear through the tree lines, including a greenside vista of Table Rock Lake on the 15th hole.
After sunset, greenskeepers mark flags with glow sticks, inviting golfers to swing through the darkness in rounds of night golf. The course fosters post-round relaxation at a rustic patio, where guests can sip drinks and insist that nearby deer, red fox, and turkeys—commonly encountered on the grounds—stay off their lawn.
At Oak Hills Golf Center, golfers traverse an 18-hole golf course that loops around Hough Park Lake and hone their skills on the driving range. The City of Jefferson keeps the course open year-round, so long as frost doesn’t accumulate on the greens and vacationing nudists don’t show up in the sand traps unannounced. At the end of rounds or practice sessions, players can refuel with hot dogs, brats, and hamburgers at the course concession stand.
Course at a Glance:
The acoustic whoosh of swooping golf clubs welcomes players to Peculiar Golf & Learning Center, where a stable of 16 driving range stalls fosters flusher drives and straighter approaches for players of all abilities. The range features both natural grass and artificial turf hitting surfaces, and clubbers can take aim at distant targets or windswept parade floats from covered or open-air hitting bays, all of which are illuminated by towering lights for late-night practice. A staff of resident aces presides over lessons conducted at the Center, where they help correct swing imbalances and illiterate clubs at the Center's practice green or sand bunker. A fully-stocked pro shop rounds out the Center's deep reservoir of golf resources with an array of clubs, bags, apparel, and other golf gear from brands such as Ping, Callaway, Nike, and TaylorMade.