16th Hole / 481 Yards / Par-4
Architect: Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw (2019)
Marrying strategic aspects in concert with beauty only Mother Nature can provide is the ultimate intersection when golf holes of stature are discussed.
Ozarks National, located in the southwest corner of Missouri, is the latest golf offering at Big Cedar Lodge founded by owner and visionary Johnny Morris. The multiple dimension facility pays homage to the great outdoors and golf is most certainly high on the pecking order with an array of different courses.
The talented duo of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw accepted the challenge in creating an 18-hole layout featuring a routing using an existing ridgeline that provides mesmerizing views for the broader Ozarks region. One of the strengths Coore and Crenshaw have long been noted for is the deeply held belief that man's involvement with the land should only be as much as is needed to create the golf.
The 16th is a long par-4 of 481 yards. The hole commences from a teeing area immediately adjacent to the 100+ year old Stone House which now serves as a halfway refreshment area. The architecture of the building fits snugly within the setting.
Players face a daunting tee shot. The hole turns left and while native area occupies the far side -- it pays to place one's ball as near as one dares to that side. There's ample room in the fairway but when players are confronted in attempting to get as much distance off the tee for a hole of this length the possibility exists for a serious mistake to happen.
A fairway bunker occupies the right side and it clearly becomes more of an issue for golfers playing from a more forward teeing area. In fact, the fairway itself tapers to a more narrow landing area and clearly ups the pressure in attaining an ideal placement.
The green is elevated above the fairway and will likely add anywhere from 1-2 clubs to get to the target. Keep in mind, when playing along the aforementioned ridgeline you're likely to encounter a stiff wind blowing in a number of instances and if facing a headwind the demands to get to the green increase significantly.
There is a frontal bunker well below the green and it must be avoided at all costs. Golfers who miss the green to the right will find a daunting recovery as the putting surface works away from that side.
One of the most attractive elements of the 16th hole is when one walks from the tee and as you make your way to where the hole turns you see the green in the background with the Stone House providing the perfect frame in the immediate background. Amusingly, when you leave the green be sure to look for the doghouse named for Willy.
Keep in mind, failure to play the proper shots at the 16th could very well mean putting yourself in your own personal doghouse.
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Photos Courtesy Janet Glaser, Big Cedar.