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 Greatest Adventures Miniature Golf, an Egyptian sphinx, a towering dragon, and a waterfall cave present fun challenges for anyone from casual mini golfers to skilled putters competing in the US Pro Mini Golf Association, which has been hosted at the 36-hole facility. The USPMGA rated facility showcases two distinct 18-hole courses, both with their own themes and characters. Knights and a giant dragon roam the grounds of the medieval course, whereas a giant ape heckles players as they putt around Egyptian structures at the jungle course. In 2011, the USPMGA invited players to put their skills to the test at Greatest Adventures Miniature Golf for the US Open Championship. Though competition was fierce, the then-16-year-old Olivia Prokopova took home the win with her precise shots, determined swing, and ability to pick out the luckiest color golf ball.
Between games, guests can visit the onsite Scooter's Sports Grill, where they can nosh burgers, subs, and other grill fare while watching sports on four flat-screen TVs.
Elvis striking a pose behind a mic. A colorful jukebox. Vinyl records. Decades ago, these were all part of everyday life in America—and at Back to the 50s Mini Golf, they still are. Planted across from The Grand Palace Theater, the 18-hole course sends visitors putt-putting through the past with 1950s-themed decor peppered across its landscape. Although an appearance from the actual Elvis might be hard to come by, the facility resurrects The King and other iconic images in the form of obstacles and course features. After rounds, players can celebrate with a stop at the neighboring Cakes and Creams or by improvising a cheerful doo-wop about their winning club.
Described by Kansas City Golf Tournament & Travel Magazine as "Ozark Mountain golf at its finest," LedgeStone Country Club’s course boasts a satisfying combination of both picturesque scenery and challenging design. The course’s "front and back nines flow seamlessly," and welcome guests during peak golfing season and even during traditional golfer hibernation months, either on the greens or inside the 27,000-square-foot clubhouse. There, visitors will find a pool, tennis courts, and a restaurant.