The brand new Cottages at Buffalo Ridge are the latest in luxury from golf travel and are located below the … [+]
Big Cedar Resort
There is only one public 18 hole (actually 19) golf course in this country designed by Tiger Woods and it is great. Now the target-worthy course has new, superior accommodations that go with it.
I was fortunate to be among the first in the country to preview Payne’s Valley, Wood’s Course at Big Cedar Resort in the Missouri Ozarks. It’s amazing, fun, and incredibly scenic, an instant favorite of mine, and I’ve been writing about the world’s best golf courses for 25 years (read more about Payne’s Valley here). More recently, I was the very first journalist to step into the new Buffalo Ridge cottages, which were immediately at the top of the many diverse and unique lodging options at the sprawling 4,600 acre resort. The cottages opened a little over a month ago.
Payne’s Valley is the only public 18-hole course in the United States from Tiger Woods – besides himself … [+]
Big Cedar Lodge
The timing couldn’t be better. Golf has seen a tremendous recovery since the pandemic began, appealing to anyone seeking camaraderie and outdoor activity, and many resorts, including Big Cedar, had record years in 2020. That, in turn, has fueled a sustained surge in post-vaccination golf trips, and Big Cedar is heading for another record year in 2021.
At the same time, travelers are desperately looking for standalone accommodation over traditional hotel rooms, preferring privacy and outdoor living space over crowds and the lobby, elevator, hallway experience, and value resorts with huts, cottages, villas, even glamping units. I previously did a post on Top 10 Golf Resorts That Have Private Cottages or Cabins, and Big Cedar made the cut thanks to its many lakeside cottages, some of which are more like homes with full kitchens. They even have a full-blown glamping resort, Camp Long Creek, complete with luxurious safari-style tents and cabins (read more here). But while Big Cedar has long been known as one of the best family resorts in the country, this new addition is golf-centric and the first property on the property’s course (with five golf courses by famous architects, including the top-ranked duo in Missouri, Big Cedar is one the largest golf resorts in the country).
As a result of these two converging travel trends, Big Cedar was already selling more tee times than guest accommodations and had to open another full hotel nearby, the new mid-size Anglers Inn, just to meet the demand for golf. While the Angler’s Inn is value-driven, these cottages are a luxury proposition, and before they opened they were completely sold out for several months, even the fanciest at over five grand a night.
The living area of John’s Cabin with 4 bedrooms and a huge river rock fireplace is equally impressive … [+]
Edward C. Robison III
The new Buffalo Ridge Cottages are 18 self-contained units located near the Mountain Top Clubhouse overlooking Payne’s Valley, the forest course. Directly in front of the clubhouse, which has a full-service restaurant, is Mountain Top, a stunning 13-hole short course on the highest property in the resort with expansive views of the Ozark and exposed limestone cliffs, designed by legend Gary Player. Just down the street are two highly acclaimed 18-hole designs by Tom Fazio and Bill Coore / Ben Crenshaw, Buffalo Ridge and Ozarks National, a top 100 US golf course. These are 67-hole golf courses just minutes from the cottages. Oh, and right outside Mountaintop’s clubhouse is a Tom Watson-designed grass putting course.
This entire complex is said to be “outside” the main resort Big Cedar Resort, which sits on a 46,000 acre lake, with a world-class fishing port (Big Cedar is part of Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s retail and fishing empire), every conceivable water sport, several restaurants , including a brand new high-end French restaurant (the Worman House Bistro), bars, activities, a huge amusement park for kids, a large spa, and the Jack Nicklaus-designed Top of the Rock golf course. Because of their location, the cottages cater directly to golfers who prefer to be closer to the tee than the family-oriented resort core, but free shuttles are available to use all of the restaurants and facilities, including a second off-marina, Close to a world-class shooting range and the resort’s truly unique 10,000 acre private conservation area, Dogwood Canyon.
The outdoor areas of the cottages are special and this deck has its own plunge pool and adjoining … [+]
Edward C. Robison III
The cottages have one to four bedrooms, and regardless of the configuration, each bedroom has its own en-suite bathroom. One-bedroom cottages have kitchenettes, while larger units have full kitchens and living rooms. All have imposing wood fires, handcrafted fireplaces made from river rocks, and expansive decks with breathtaking views and gas grills. The initial demand for golfers who could enjoy the post-round sunsets on their decks while sipping fine whiskey and smoking cigars was so great that they had to go out and buy a new humidor and stock up on finer scotch and bourbon just to provide room service in the cottages. Another distinctive note is that these golf huts, just like ski huts usually have plenty of hooks and storage space for equipment at the entrance, have large lockers for club sets that create a clubhouse flair. But otherwise these are Ozarks’ big cedar-style cabins with exposed beams, lots of hand-hammered copper, and rustic furniture with lots of leather. Decor consists mostly of animal mounts mixed with antique golf gear, while comfort isn’t neglected, and bathrooms have huge walk-in showers and often oversized soaking tubs.
Each cottage has a working fireplace, kitchen, and large golf lockers at the entrance. this is that … [+]
Edward C. Robison III
Each of the cottages are ideal for two or more golfers, couples, or friends, but the crème de la crème is John’s Cabin, named after the resort owner and founder of Bass Pro Shops, Johnny Morris. Notoriously practical and headstrong, Morris has personally selected details from the wall finishes to the custom-made wrought iron deck railings, making this his truly eponymous cabin (though he was just as involved with the other units). This four bedroom monster has incredibly high ceilings (like 30 +/- feet) high enough that a whole flock of mounted geese “flies” overhead in the living room, there is a large commercial-style kitchen, and a huge bar, all with a lot of custom-made copper work, a massive stone fireplace, even wallpaper made of tree bark. The terrace is huge, accessed from the living room, contains its own plunge pool, and the cottage has a private putting green with bunkers.
There are two more of these huge John’s cabins opening on August 1st. Both are located below the remainder of the cottages, near the tee of the signature 19th hole and island / waterfall of the Payne’s Valley course. That’s a total of 20 units, which range from $ 620 to $ 725 for the one-bedroom cottages, $ 1220 to $ 1450 for the two-bedroom, and $ 4235 to $ 5080 for the four-bedroom during the high season (April-October). The incidental charges are $ 420 to $ 620, $ 490 to $ 1,220, and $ 2,100 to $ 4,235, respectively.
The cottages are close to the Mountain Clubhouse (left), the Mountaintop Course and this Tom … [+]
Big Cedar Lodge
About a third of the US population is within a day’s drive of Big Cedar, and for most other visitors, the nearest airport, Springfield, MO, is an hour away with commercial connections from several major airlines. But for Tiger Woods, John’s Cabin crowd, as well as those in the Rockies, there’s a much closer option, Branson Airport, which handles both private and scheduled flights on Frontier, with non-stop service from Denver, also a global United Turntable. Amazingly, the low-key, stress-free airport is only about a mile from the cottages. Fly Frontier or private and there is no luxury golf destination in the country easier to get to.
Known as “America’s Leading Wilderness Resort,” Big Cedar is a huge, full-service outdoor resort that has won numerous awards, including Golf Magazine’s Number One Family Golf Resort in North America – before Woods Course opened. and the Number One Resort in the Midwest by Travel + Leisure Magazine. The Cottages at Buffalo Ridge are simply the most notable luxury golf resort accommodations to have recently opened.