RIDGEDALE, Missouri (September 6, 2022) – Big Cedar Lodge and the Missouri Golf Association (MGA)  announced today that Payne’s Valley Golf Course will host the 116th Missouri Amateur Championship, bringing some of today’s most talented amateur golfers to the Ozarks next year. 144 Missouri golfers will hit the links June 19-25, 2023, marking the first-ever MGA event to be played on Payne’s Valley. The Missouri Amateur Championship was last played at Big Cedar Lodge in 2015 on Buffalo Ridge Springs and again in 2020 on Ozarks National.

Those competing will look to join historic company as past winners include Payne Stewart, who won the event in 1979 at Wolf Creek in Kansas City when he was 22 years old, and Tom Watson, who won the event four times (1967, 1968, 1970, 1971). Stewart went on to win 24 times in his career (2 majors) and was inducted into the MGA Hall of Fame in 2006. Watson has notched 70 professional wins (8 majors) and is coincidentally the designer of Big Cedar’s Mountain Top putting course. Watson was inducted into the MGA Hall of Fame in 2005. 

“We are very honored to have Payne’s Valley serve as the backdrop for such a prestigious event,” said noted conservationist and Founder of Bass Pro Shops and Big Cedar Lodge, Johnny Morris. “Knowing that Payne and his father were both past champions of the Amateur Championship and that this group of players will be playing on this course dedicated to him, his family and their name’s sake is incredibly meaningful.”

Paying tribute to Ozarks-native and World Golf Hall of Fame member, Payne Stewart, Payne’s Valley is the first public-access golf course designed by 82-time PGA TOUR winner Tiger Woods and Woods-led golf course design firm, TGR Design. Payne’s Valley stands out with its inviting layout, pristine water features, large fairways and greens, and spectacular 19th hole, the “Big Rock at Payne’s Valley.”

“We are so excited to see the top amateur golfers in Missouri compete at such a special course,” MGA Executive Director Scott Hovis said. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Missouri golfers to play in the beautiful Ozark Mountains and to honor both Tiger Woods and Payne Stewart as they compete for the Missouri Amateur title.”

Entries are open to male amateur golfers who are current members of the MGA with a certified handicap index on the USGA men’s handicap system. Those players not on the USGA GHIN handicap system must produce a copy of their current handicap card showing both index and date of revision to the MGA office. All players (unless exempt) must qualify at one of the local qualifiers in their area.

In 2021, Golf Digest named Payne’s Valley as the Best New Public Course in North America. The course also played host to the Payne’s Valley Cup in 2020, a televised match that featured Woods, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas & Justin Rose. The event benefited the Payne Stewart Family Foundation, which supports several organizations, including Kids Across America, the American Junior Golf Association and The First Tee.

To learn more about the MGA’s Missouri Amateur Championship, please visit mogolf.org. For more information or to book a tee time at Payne’s Valley or any of Big Cedar Lodge’s award-winning courses, visit bigcedar.com/golf.


About Big Cedar Golf 
Founded by Bass Pro Shops’ Johnny Morris in 1987, Big Cedar Lodge is not only a family-friendly wilderness resort, but also a coveted world-class golf destination. In the fall of 2020, Payne’s Valley, Tiger Woods first public designed course with his firm TGR Design, opened for play. Payne’s Valley joins the four existing and top-rated courses at the resort – Buffalo Ridge (Tom Fazio), Ozarks National (Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw), Mountain Top (Gary Player) and Top of the Rock (Jack Nicklaus). These “Missouri’s Best” courses bring to life Morris’ vision to create an unparalleled golf experience in the Ozarks, attracting visitors from across the world, and solidifying it as “America’s Next Great Golf Destination.” To book tee times or rooms for your next visit, go to www.bigcedar.com/golf.

About MGA

The Missouri Golf Association is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to promote the best interests and true spirit of the game of golf throughout the State of Missouri. The Missouri Golf Association was started in St. Louis in 1905 to run the Amateur Championship. Four founding clubs would be the ones in existence in St. Louis in those early years – St. Louis Country Club, Algonquin Golf Club, Glen Echo Golf Club and Normandie Golf Club. Four years later, the invite-only Missouri Amateur was held in Kansas City at Evanston Club. 1911 marked the real organization of the MGA with Bonner Miller as Secretary and Executive Director. Ever since then, the MGA has striven to provide tournaments and spaces for Missouri golfers to sharpen their skills and enjoy the game.