Public Gets Preview of Legends of Golf Location

By Grant Sloan |

Published 05/05 2014 06:40PM

Updated 05/21 2014 12:32PM

RIDGEDALE Mo. -- The public got a preview of a nine hole golf course in the Ozarks, designed by PGA royalty, on Monday.

In a months time, the Big Cedar Lodge "Legends of Golf" Tournament will be held at Top of the Rock and Buffalo Ridge in Ridgedale.

Former players like Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson will pair up in teams of two, tackling the newly renovated courses for three days in June.

"If you know Johnny Morris and Bass Pro Shops, you know it will be done and it will be done first class," says Tournament Director Kirk Elmquist, referring to the Top of the Rock golf course.

After seven and a half years of renovations, the Jack Nicklaus designed course is nearing completion. The resort also features at 70,000 square foot putting green and driving range, designed by Arnold Palmer.

"Gary Player calls it the best par-3 golf course in the world," says Elmquist, "You want to play 18 holes play this twice."

That's exactly what the champions and legends will do on days one and three of the event, on day two they will play at Buffalo Ridge, formally known as Branson Creek.

With plenty of construction left to be done, and the tournament less than a month away, Bass Pro Shops owner Johnny Morris says he was a little hesitant about showing the media. 

"Brother-in-law looked at me and he said, ‘some of these people know you a little bit, don't' worry about it, because they'll be amazed that things are as far along as they are,’"says Morris.

Five-time major champion, and Big Cedar Lodge "Legends of Golf" tournament player Lee Travino falls in that category. 

"These things are unbelievable, it's beautiful out there," says Travino.

The tournament will take place June 6-8, with the professional amateurs playing the 2-5. In-between events some of the pros will also try their hand at archery, fishing and other outdoor activities.

"I think it shows nature and the views that we can all get our arms around, golfing fishing and shooting, "say Tournament Director, Kirk Elmquist, "it's one way to showcase the state of Missouri and it's tourism for sure."

The tournament is expected to draw in close to 20 thousand visitors, once play is finished, the course will then be open to the public.

For more information, including how to volunteer, click here.

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