Big Cedar Lodge demonstrates its commitment to growing the game of golf and becoming one of America’s premier golf destinations with announcement that Gary Player will design a new family-friendly golf course in the Ozarks.
RIDGEDALE, Mo. – Gary Player and Johnny Morris are pleased to announce a partnership to create a world-class, family-friendly golf course at Big Cedar Lodge in Ridgedale, Missouri.
Johnny Morris, Bass Pro Shops founder and noted conservationist, and golf icon Gary Player share a similar passion for nature and golf. Through a joined pioneering spirit to create a new family-friendly golf course, Morris and Player seek to deliver a special offering for the guests of Big Cedar Lodge, which is ranked as one of the top resorts for families in America.
“We are incredibly excited to partner with Johnny Morris and Big Cedar Lodge to create something truly spectacular and innovative with our family golf center,” said Player. “Growing the game continues to be of the utmost importance and we are thrilled to be able to work alongside Johnny to implement a number of new ideas to help grow golf in a location of such natural beauty.”
The resort’s family appeal inspired Morris to create a golf center that caters to beginners and juniors, and helps introduce them to the sport in a welcoming environment. The new Gary Player-designed family-friendly golf course will add to the already impressive variety of golf offerings at Big Cedar Lodge. This year, Big Cedar Lodge opened Buffalo Ridge, an 18-hole championship golf course, and Top of the Rock, a striking homage to pure golf that includes the remarkable Jack Nicklaus Signature Design par-3 golf course, recently ranked among the Top 10 most searched golf destinations on Yahoo Search, Arnold Palmer Practice Facility and “Himalayas” Putting Complex designed by Tom Watson.
At the heart of the Morris and Player project, which is set to open in 2015, is creating enjoyment in the game of golf for all ages and skill levels. The 12-hole course will be designed in a very welcoming, fun and creative way, so as not to intimidate novice players.
“Gary Player Design will use creative, unique, and untraditional concepts to help all members of the family enjoy the game,” said Scott Ferrell, Gary Player Design President. “Our aim is to create an enjoyable course that will pique the interest of those just beginning to play the game, while also creating a unique design that allows the whole family to enjoy.”
Known as the Black Knight, Player is one of the original inductees into the World Golf Hall of Fame and is the International Ambassador of Golf. He has been a longtime promoter of growing golf around the world, and, as such, his Gary Player Design projects have consistently emphasized playability for all levels to enjoy the game.
“All of us at Big Cedar Lodge are honored to have Gary Player help us create a special family golf experience in the Ozarks. My son and I had the opportunity to visit Gary at his ranch in South Africa, where his brother Ian is a renowned conservationist. Gary and I share many things in common and it did not take long for me to realize that we are both nuts about rocks and nature. It quickly became quickly apparent to me that I had just met one of the nicest and most enthusiastic men on earth. That is what is going to make this project so fun—our shared passion to get young people outside spending more time in outdoor sports,” Morris said.
In addition to the family golf center, the innovative nature of Big Cedar Lodge was evidenced earlier this year at the Champions Tour’s Big Cedar Lodge Legends of Golf presented by Bass Pro Shops. In a groundbreaking move, the longest running event on the Champions Tour schedule was moved to Big Cedar Lodge where the first par-3 course, Top of the Rock, was used in an official PGA TOUR-sanctioned event. Grand Slam Champion Gary Player partnered with longtime friend and legend Jack Nicklaus to play in the event, which took place June 4-8.
About Gary Player Design
Widely recognized as the world’s most successful golf course architectural firm, Gary Player Design established by Marc Player in 1983 has completed over 325 championship courses spanning the globe. With an ever-increasing number of courses stretching across five continents and encompassing more than 35 countries, the firm is renowned for its select and ecological approach to design.
Magazines such as Golf Asia, Travel & Leisure, Golf Digest, Golf Week, Golf World Worldwide Golf, and The Complete Golfer have consistently listed Gary Player courses among the top places to play. Travel & Leisure Golf named Leopard Creek in South Africa one of the top ten Best International Courses; Geneva National was referred to by Golfweek as the best course you can play in America; and Golf, Inc. named BlackSeaRama in Bulgaria the 2010 International Development of the Year. Awards and accolades such as these are numerous, and for good reason. Gary Player Design doesn’t simply design the course and walk away; they also provide the consulting services that will guide a newly established project through the implementation steps necessary to ensure success. The results are premier golf courses & resorts that provide golfers with a unique style of luxury, the challenge of risk versus reward, and a truly memorable experience.
Although Gary Player’s golfing expertise influences every project, Gary Player Design offers three tiers of golf course design service; Black Knight Design™, Player Design™, and Gary Player Signature Design™. On Signature Design projects, Mr. Player is involved in every phase of design and development. With over 50 years of professional golf experience, Player, The World’s Most Traveled Athlete™ has visited and studied most of the great golf courses of the world so he understands that the design of a course takes both vision and respect for existing conditions. His design philosophy, and also that of The Player Group, is to create challenging yet playable courses that enhance the existing resources and retain the natural beauty of the land. Environmental sensitivity is a cornerstone of Gary Player’s passion for golf course design.
Gary Player, often referred to as the Black Knight, is one of the century’s greatest golfers and one of the original inductees into the World Golf Hall of Fame. He is one of only five golfers to ever win the Grand Slam on the PGA Tour and the only golfer to win the Grand Slam on both the regular and Champions Tour. Over the course of his career, Player participated in 438 Tour events, placed in the top 25 in 281 of them, and won 165 worldwide tournaments. Player, whose career earnings exceed $15 million, is a legend in his own time. Currently serving as The Global Ambassador to the World Golf Hall of Fame, he has been a three-time President’s Cup Captain and is ranked by Golf Digest as one of the top ten all-time golf greats. Player’s iconic status in sport adds immeasurable marketing value to all golf course design assignments he accepts. His legacy will most certainly ensure Gary Player’s Design success for many years to come.