Best Public Golf Courses in Branson, Missouri

Updated February 2024 to update booking information.

For some reason, I’ve always felt like Missouri is one of the most understated states in the country.  I’m not quite sure why.  Maybe it’s too far east to be considered a “flyover” state.  Perhaps it’s too far west and too far north to be part of the Midwest or the South. 

However, it’s undeniable that Missourians are darn proud of the state they call home.  Having spent some amount of time here, I can tell you that the folks here are some of the most genuine, good-hearted people you’ll find anywhere. 

Oh, and some of them are absolutely bonkers about their golf too.  Having read our course guides for both St. Louis and the state proper, I had several express interest in highlighting some of the Branson area’s golf options too.  They agreed to collaborate and together, we’ve summed up their thoughts in the list below.

1

Branson Hills Golf Club

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Nestled amidst the breathtaking beauty of the Ozark Mountains, Branson Hills Golf Club invites you to encounter an unparalleled championship course. As the Best Golf Course in Missouri according to Golfweek from 2012-2018, Branson Hills Golf Club is a must-visit for golf enthusiasts. The course, designed by Chuck Smith in consultation with Bobby Clampett, showcases the stunning natural landscape of the Ozarks, featuring rock outcroppings, creeks, and diverse wildlife.

The first hole alone boasts a 130-foot elevation change from tee to green, offering a unique and exciting challenge. Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or just starting out, Branson Hills Golf Club caters to all experience levels. The club’s commitment to integrating the natural surroundings into the course design creates a picturesque and memorable golfing adventure.

The elegant clubhouse and restaurant provide a perfect setting to relax and relive your best shots. This top-notch facility, situated in Branson and backed by Johnny Morris, offers a golfing event that perfectly complements the beauty of the Ozark Mountains. Branson Hills Golf Club represents the epitome of golfing excellence in the region and is a must-visit for anyone seeking to explore the best golf courses in Branson.

2

The Pointe Golf Course

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If you’re seeking a premier golfing encounter in Branson, Missouri, look no further than The Pointe Golf Course, acclaimed as the Best of Branson in 2018.

This course, located at the esteemed Big Cedar Lodge, offers a variety of holes that challenge shot-making skills. With water coming into play on 12 holes, narrow fairways, and small greens requiring accuracy, it’s a true test for golfers of all levels.

The Pointe Golf Course is known for its Grill, which is famous for serving the best pizza in town, making it an ideal spot to unwind after a challenging round.

Situated within the picturesque Big Cedar property, The Pointe is part of a collection of top-rated courses, including the Cedar Hills Golf Club and the Top of the Rock Golf Course, where players can explore the Canyon Cave and Nature Trail, waterfalls, and stunning views.

For an exceptional golfing experience, The Pointe Golf Course stands as one of the best golf courses in Branson, offering a blend of natural beauty and demanding play.

3

Top of the Rock Golf Course at Big Cedar Lodge

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The Top of the Rock Golf Course, a part of the esteemed Big Cedar Lodge, offers a unique golfing adventure with its stunning views and bold design, creating an ideal continuation from The Pointe Golf Course.

Designed by golf legends Jack Nicklaus and Bobby Clampett, the course provides a par three experience with breathtaking views of Rock Lake.

The elevation changes present a challenge, making club selection crucial while offering a visually stunning and memorable round of golf.

Arnies barn on the course adds a historical touch, showcasing memorabilia from Arnold Palmer’s career and adding to the overall event.

As part of Big Cedar Lodge, the course offers a range of outdoor activities, making it an ideal destination for both golf and leisure.

The Top of the Rock Golf Course in Branson, Missouri, not only offers a challenging and stunning golfing encounter but also immerses you in the beauty of nature with its caves, waterfalls, and magnificent views.

Whether you’re navigating the course in a golf cart or simply taking in the natural surroundings, this public course provides a unique and memorable golfing adventure.

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4

Holiday Hills Golf Club

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Holiday Hills Golf Club, located at 630 E Rockford Dr, Branson, MO 65616, offers a welcoming atmosphere and diverse challenges suitable for golfers of all skill levels. Designed by Chuck Smith, this public golf course is a must-visit destination in Branson, Missouri.

The course features wide, open fairways and large, undulating greens set on flat to mildly rolling terrain, providing a user-friendly experience for golfers. Holiday Hills is known for its beautiful landscaping, lakes, creeks, and waterfalls that enhance the golfing adventure, making it a top choice for those seeking a memorable round of golf.

One of the unique features of Holiday Hills Golf Club is the Lost Canyon Cave Experience, where golfers can explore the Lost Canyon and encounter stunning rock outcroppings. The course also offers River Golf and Valley Golf, adding variety and excitement to your game. The Bent grass greens are highly regarded in Missouri, making Holiday Hills a great value and enjoyable course for golfers.

Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or new to the game, Holiday Hills Golf Club should be at the top of your list when considering Branson golf courses.

5

Ledgestone Country Club

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Nestled in the Ozark Mountains just minutes from downtown Branson, the Ledgestone Country Club offers a captivating golfing adventure that seamlessly transitions from the inviting atmosphere of Holiday Hills Golf Club to a more secluded and demanding terrain.

  1. Masterpiece of Mountain Golf: Ledgestone Country Club is hailed as a masterpiece of mountain golf architecture by Golf Digest, offering a unique and challenging golf experience.
  2. Secluded Beauty: Despite its proximity to downtown Branson, the club feels secluded in the ancient Ozark Mountains, providing panoramic vistas that inspire both golfers and non-golfers with its natural beauty.
  3. Challenging Design: Designed by Tom Clark, the course presents golfers with challenging elevation changes and narrow landing areas, creating a mix of holes with varying levels of difficulty.
  4. Inspiring Terrain: The club’s captivating rocky hills, waterfalls, and tee boxes that overlook the Buffalo Ridge create a mesmerizing environment for golf enthusiasts.

Ledgestone Country Club stands out as a unique golfing destination in the Branson area, where you can play amidst the captivating rock formations and demanding terrain while being surrounded by the beauty of the Ozark Mountains.

6

Mountain Top Golf Course at Big Cedar Lodge

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It shouldn’t come as any surprise that Big Cedar Lodge occupies a couple of spots on our list.  This place really does have it all.

Mountain Top Golf Course was designed by Gary Player.  All 13 par threes combine to create an unforgettable experience.

Rock and water come into play on nearly every hole.  One hole even plays to an island green.

Because this course is so up and down, carts are highly recommended.

While we can’t guarantee you’ll shoot your best round ever here, be sure to bring your camera because you’ll want to capture the entire experience.

7

Buffalo Springs Course at Big Cedar Lodge

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Tucked away in the beautiful Ozark Mountains, Buffalo Springs Course at Big Cedar Lodge offers a bold and picturesque golfing experience that showcases the natural beauty of the area. Designed by Johnny Morris and Tom Fazio, this Par 71 championship layout is a true gem in the Branson Hills Country. The course features rock outcroppings, creeks, and wildlife, providing a stunning backdrop for your game.

The 130-foot elevation change from tee to green on the first hole sets the tone for an exhilarating round of golf. At Buffalo Springs, you’ll not only play golf but also immerse yourself in the breathtaking surroundings. The inner caves and sight of the waterfalls are sure to make your game memorable. It’s no wonder this course is considered one of the premier golfing destinations in the area.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced golfer, the Buffalo Springs Course offers an unforgettable event. So, go ahead and tee off at this exceptional course, and have some of the most fun you’ll ever have on a golf course. It’s no wonder even Tiger Woods couldn’t resist the allure of this remarkable course at Big Cedar Lodge.

8

Ozarks National at Big Cedar Lodge

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Rounding out the tracks at Big Cedar Lodge is Ozarks National. 

Designed by the infamous duo of Coore and Crenshaw, this track is one of the most beautiful you’ll find anywhere.  Mountain vistas and sweeping prairie are everywhere you look. 

Forced carries come into play on a number of holes out here, so be sure to choose the set of tees that best fits your game. 

Approach shots are both varied and demanding.  As is a theme at Big Cedar Lodge, elevation change is prominent on this course too.  It’s all about proper club selection and execution. 

Even though this isn’t the cheapest round of golf, it’s more than worth it.

9

Thousand Hills Golf Resort

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Thousand Hills is often called the “Fastest 18 in Branson”.  Pace of play is never an issue here.

It’s also one of the most unique and enjoyable rounds you’ll find anywhere. 

Playing to a par of 64, this course gives you ample opportunities to score.  The fairways and greens are both generous. 

Like most courses in the Branson area, elevation change comes into play on a number of holes here too.

If you’re looking for more than just great golf, you’ve come to the right place at Thousand Hills.  The amenities and service are over the top.

10

Horton Smith Golf Course

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Horton Smith Golf Course is located in the community of Springfield.

One of the best values in the area, this is the epitome of muni golf.  The layout is straightforward and not that long.  With that being said, you still have to execute the proper shots if you’re going to score. 

You’re likely to encounter people from all walks of life here.  The dress code is somewhat lax, and all anyone really cares about is having fun. 

While there are certainly fancier, more dramatic courses to play in the Branson area, Horton Smith is a breath of fresh air for nothing more than its simplicity and charm.

Conclusion

Branson, Missouri isn’t at the top of most people’s list when it comes to the best golf destinations in the country.  But I agree with the people that call this community home, that there’s some world-class golf to be found. 

While Big Cedar Lodge is certainly the most notable property in the area, there are plenty of other great courses to choose from as well. 

I want to thank our readers from Branson for reaching out to me and requesting a guide to the best courses in their area.  Their input proved invaluable and I’m sure they can’t wait to meet some fellow Golfer’s Authority readers out on the links.

Paul Liberatore
Paul Liberatore

As the Founder of Golfers Authority Paul Liberatore Esq. has spent the last 7+ years writing about the best golf equipment or instruction from the top golf instructors in the world. He has been a contributing writer for Sports Illustrated Golf and GolfWRX. After graduating with honors from Purdue University, he realized that he had a passion for the golf business and the law. When he's not practicing law, or creating golf content on YouTube, he can be found on his syndicated Behind the Golf Brand podcast both on Apple and Spotify talking with the most prolific leaders in the golf industry. 

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