Hole by hole tour of the new Payne's Valley by Tiger Woods

The scenery is spectacular on Woods' first U.S. public design at Big Cedar Lodge in the Ozark Mountains.
Rory McIlroy almost chips in on the par-3 16th hole during the Payne's Valley Cup.

RIDGEDALE, Mo. - Payne's Valley, the first public U.S. design by Tiger Woods, is bound to be a favorite of golfers visiting Big Cedar Lodge in the Ozark Mountains.

Seeing the course being played on TV by Woods, Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas - plus cameos by Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player - during the Payne's Valley Cup has already added to its lore.

Woods' design philosophy is to keep players from losing too many balls. Although there are some treacherous - and stunning - water features sprinkled throughout the 7,370-yard course, Payne's Valley's zoysia grass fairways are endlessly wide and forgiving. The first two holes play generously downhill, as do three of the four par 3s.

The only real treacherous threat comes on a three-hole stretch during the middle of the back nine. Holes 13 through 15 rise uphill, often into the wind.

The finish, of course, is the climax. Both the par-5 18th and par-3 19th holes sit below waterfalls tumbling off of 250-foot rock cliffs. To return to the clifftop clubhouse, golfers drive their carts up a winding trail carved from the rocks, while offering up dramatic views of the entire valley. Payne's Valley, named for local hero Payne Stewart, costs $225 to play.

Jason Deegan
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Hole by hole tour of the new Payne's Valley by Tiger Woods