Home to the 2018 PGA Championship, Missouri is not often thought of as a golf-rich state. However, the “Show-Me State” is a sleeper when in the golf course conversation. The St. Louis suburbs alone possess a number of fine places to play, including Bellerive, where Justin Thomas will defend his PGA Championship title in August. The Ozark mountains also offer dramatic elevation changes and stunning views, like those at Big Cedar Lodge and the courses surrounding the resort town of Branson. From mountain courses that stretch over 8,000 yards to a C.B. MacDonald classic, Missouri has no shortage of fantastic courses for any golfer to play.
Bellerive, St. Louis
The site of this year’s PGA Championship is a brawny Robert Trent Jones design built around a winding creek that comes into play on half the holes. A Rees Jones renovationhas stretched its zoysia fairways to more than 7,500 yards.
St. Louis CC, Ladue
A century-old classic from C.B. Macdonald and Seth Raynor featuring their signature collection of template holes from the British links. Six USGA events have been played on its rolling, tree-lined fairways including the 1947 U.S. Open.
Dalhousie, Cape Giradeau
This Nicklaus course—by son Gary, not Jack—sits on the banks of the Mississippi. Multiple water hazards combine with dense native grasses to offer an unrelenting test.
Boone Valley, Augusta
Tucked away 50 miles west of St. Louis is this rustic enclave where you’re as likely to encounter deer and turkeys as fellow golfers. For six years it hosted a Champions Tour event, won twice by Missouri native Hale Irwin, who was later tapped to remodel several greens.
Old Warson, Ladue
Host of the 1971 Ryder Cup won by an American team that included Nicklaus, Palmer, and Trevino, this Trent Jones design is famed for its 14th hole, a lake-leaping par four included among GOLF Magazine’s 500 Best Holes in the World.
Buffalo Ridge Springs, Hollister
Part of the Big Cedar Lodge resort, it underwent a Tom Fazio revamp three years ago. The new layout, etched into dramatic Ozark terrain, brings water in play on half the holes—along with a herd of free-ranging buffalo from a nearby nature park.
Country Club of St. Albans (Lewis & Clark), St. Albans
St. Albans is a private residential community on the outskirts of St. Louis that boasts the best 36-hole golf facility in the state. This Weiskopf/Morrish design winds through 100-year-old woods and several natural creeks.
Fox Run, Eureka
The toughest course in the state is this one from the back tees because they measure a whopping 8,154 yards (rating 78.8/slope 149). Happily, eight other sets of markers are available on this 1993 design by local architect Gary Kern.
Branson Hills, Branson
Just a short drive from the “live music capital of the world,” Branson Hills nestles peacefully into the Ozark countryside. The first tee shot, dropping 150 feet, sets the tone for a course where elevation change is constant and level lies are rare.
Country Club of St. Albans (Tavern Creek), St. Albans
Twelve of the 18 holes play across or beside streams, creeks, and ponds on this picturesque Hurdzan/Fry course set dramatically in the Missouri River Valley.