Tee It Up on Branson’s Dream 18

Playing golf in Branson is like a dream come true.

The area’s natural beauty and stunning course designs make playing golf in Branson fun for both scratch golfers and duffers alike.

From par 3 courses that test your short game to championship courses that require endurance and shot-making abilities, there’s a course for every player in Branson.

But wouldn’t it be cool if you could customize a Branson course for yourself? If you could put together your “Dream 18” in Branson, what would that look like?

Well, we took a running whack at it – Happy Gilmore style – and came up with an 18-hole, par 72 layout that highlights several courses and some of their signature holes.

And just for good measure, we talked to Trey Pelz and Mark Strong, two local golf enthusiasts who work at Clear Entertainment and Marketing and manage the Branson Golf Facebook page, to get their insights.

So let’s tee it up …

No. 1 – Par 4, 433 yards. The first hole at Branson Hills Golf Club is an excellent place to start our Dream 18. “Number one at Branson Hills is my favorite starting hole,” says Pelz. “It’s a beautiful opening tee shot, but that soon fades as the green is (challenging) on No. 1.”

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No. 2 – Par 4, 420 yards. The fourth hole at Ledgestone Country Club opens on an elevated tee box and doglegs right. A good drive is crucial, as is club selection on the approach.

No. 3 – Par 3, 121 yards. Don’t let the distance fool you. The sixth hole at Top of the Rock features the course’s signature island green. Don’t get psyched out by the water. And yes, it’s okay to stop for a picture of this stunning hole.

No. 4 – Par 4, 419 yards. The second hole at Buffalo Ridge Springs Course includes beautiful natural features, including a cave to the left of the tee box and a rock wall at the back of the green. The hole doglegs to the left so take time to plan for a well-placed tee shot.

No. 5 – Par 5, 533 yards. You’ll get to flex your muscles on this mammoth hole, the 18th at Thousand Hills Golf Resort. There’s a good chance to birdie, but perils, such as Sandpiper Lake, await. Your shot-making skills will be tested here.

No. 6 – Par 3, 182 yards. The ninth hole at Don Gardner Golf Course offers another great chance for birdie, and on our Dream 18, it makes a nice break after two difficult holes.

No. 7 – Par 4, 372 yards. You’ll have to cross water off the tee on the fourth hole at Pointe Royale, but a wide open approach to the green is the reward for a good first shot.

No. 8 – Par 5, 532 yards. “Number 18 is a beautiful finishing par five at Ledgestone,” says Strong of the hole known as The Plunge. The hole is guarded on the left by water and you might be courting trouble if you try to reach the green in two.

No. 9 – Par 4, 308 yards. A postage-stamp size green is waiting at the conclusion of the third hole at Holiday Hills Golf Resort. The fairway doglegs right, where a ball magnet … er, bunker, sits.

No. 10 – Par 4, 354 yards. Start the second half of our Dream 18 with the undulating fairway of the ninth hole at Branson Hills. “The second shot requires some accuracy as the hole doglegs right and you are shooting at a lengthy green across a creek,” Strong says.

No. 11 – Par 3, 124 yards. This easy birdie opportunity comes courtesy of the second hole at Thousand Hills. While distance-wise the hole doesn’t offer much in the way of a challenge, the bunkers at left and behind the green are waiting for wayward shots.

No. 12 – Par 4, 386 yards. The elevated tee at Buffalo Ridge’s fifth hole offers a beautiful view of the area. Of course, if you plunk one into the water-filled quarry – the hole’s signature feature – you may not think it’s that pretty.

No. 13 – Par 4, 390 yards. There’s water everywhere on the sixth hole at Ledgestone, which is probably why it’s called “Mermaid.” A small lake lines the left side of the hole, while Roark Creek is positioned on the right. Keep it straight off the tee or be prepared to go for a swim.

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No. 14 – Par 5, 498 yards. More water awaits on the fourth hole at Branson Hills. While there’s water on the right, the green is protected by both trees and a bunker on the left. This will be a great test of your shot-making skills … or luck.

No. 15 – Par 3, 114 yards. The elevated tee at Top of the Rock’s second hole can be a bit deceiving, so club selection is critical. There’s about a 100-foot elevation difference between tee box and green. Even if you shank your tee shot, take a minute to admire the view of nearby Table Rock Lake.

No. 16 – Par 5, 450 yards. The ninth hole at Holiday Hills is somewhat narrow, thanks to the dogleg right layout and left-side bunkers. Oh, and those trees on the right side of the fairway aren’t super-forgiving, either.

No. 17 – Par 4, 426 yards. Buffalo! You’ll have a chance to see them roaming as you approach the green on the 12th hole at Buffalo Ridge. Don’t go too far left off the tee – unless you planned on a hiking expedition as part of your round – and be mindful of the bunkers guarding the green.

No. 18 – Par 4, 350 yards. The first hole at Pointe Royale offers a terrific risk-reward scenario, Pelz says. “If you cut the corner just right, you can score,” he adds. “If you miss, you will be in the flower beds at the homes nearby.”

So there’s a look at one way to put together a Dream 18 in Branson, one of the Midwest’s best destinations for golf. Make golf part of your next Branson vacation, which you can start planning today at ExploreBranson.com.

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