While crossing most ranches on the great American plain, one might be saddled on a horse or particularly lively cow, but at Eagle Falls Ranch, guests strap into ziplines and enormous hamster balls before hurdling into the sunset. High bridges and platforms connect the six ziplines, which send riders on adrenalin-spiking soars past waterfalls, over fountains, and along the Jacks Fork River. This same sense of adventure permeates the ZORB ride, where two guests strap themselves to the inside wall of a giant inflatable ball before rolling and bouncing along a 500-foot downhill course. In addition to their daytime adventure courses, Eagle Falls Ranch also hosts night zipline rides, as well as campgrounds and cabins for guests who would like to start their mornings with an invigorating downhill rush instead of a murky cup of coffee.
Amid Hardy's hardwood forests and rocky bluffs resides terrain that the Griffin family has called home for more than 60 years. Throughout the decades, the family has built Griffin Park into a destination to relax, play, and test the latest camouflage fashions amid the area's scenery and wildlife. In 2011, Gregg Griffin and his brothers overhauled the park, removing old fences and flood debris. Their cleanup efforts made way for new campsites, beaches, and a performance venue. Today, the melodies sung by artists such as Neal McCoy frequently fill the park, setting an upbeat mood for adventurous attractions including zipline and horseback rides. The Spring River passes through Griffin Park and carries canoes, kayaks, and tubes down its watery freeways. Fish such as smallmouth bass swim beneath the water's surface while more than 400 bird species sing and beat box overhead.
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.