RIDGEDALE, Mo. – Sure, Tiger Woods, Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose squared off in the Payne’s Valley Cup for Tuesday’s grand opening of the newest 18-hole track at Big Cedar Lodge in the Ozark Mountains on a nationally televised broadcast. But it was hard to get a handle on exactly how the course would play for the rest of us by watching that elite foursome.
After my full round on Wednesday, a couple things became more clear about the layout named for Ozarks native and three-time major champion Payne Stewart, who died in a plane crash in 1999.
First, the details: The course can be stretched to 7,370 yards off the back and plays to a par of 72, the site is atop various ridgelines stretching out beneath the clubhouse and the maximum posted green fee is $225. There’s hardly a flat spot on the property.
More importantly, here are five things you should know about the first public-access course in the United States designed by Woods and his TGR Design team.
First, the last
Johnny Morris, the founder of Big Cedar Lodge as well as Bass Pro Shops, gets the design credit for the par-3 19th hole at Payne’s Valley, not Woods. And while short 19th holes used to settle a bet are nothing new, this one is striking and has become somewhat of a social media sensation since Tuesday’s exhibition.
The hole can be stretched to about 140 yards and played 120 for Tuesday’s exhibition opener. And the shorty is unlike just about anything else. It features an island green at the base of a 150-foot-tall rock formation, with the clubhouse perched high atop the cliffs above. There’s a waterfall that cascades down the rocks behind the green. The green is basically a small rectangle, and it sits only a couple feet above the well-maintained water level thanks to how the pond drains down and away toward the right and the 18th green.
Did I mention the cliffs? It has to be seen to be believed. We’ve all seen island greens, but not with a setting like this.
Just don’t book a trip too soon expecting to play the bonus hole. The tee was recently sodded, the grass on the green is still growing in and the hole wasn’t open the day after the exhibition, in which the players swung atop that fresh and immature sod. It will be at least a few weeks before it’s ready for regular Joes to take a swipe at that green.
This place is big
Typical fairways at most courses range between 35 and 50 yards wide. At Payne’s Valley, the short grass frequently extends 80 yards side to side.
But don’t think all that width necessarily makes the fairways a pushover. There are plenty of bunkers and slopes, and sometimes having all that width only makes it easier to overswing and send a foul ball into something nasty. Remember, Woods opened the match with a hard pull into the native gunch left of No. 1 fairway and quickly gave up
By: Jason Lusk
Title: Five things to know about Tiger Woods’ new Payne’s Valley course at Big Cedar Lodge
Sourced From: golfweek.usatoday.com/2020/09/24/tiger-woods-five-things-paynes-valley-golf-course/
Published Date: Thu, 24 Sep 2020 10:00:32 +0000
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