Big Cedar’s five courses certified by Audubon International

Big Cedar Lodge in Ridgedale, Mo., has become the only resort in the world to have all five of its premier golf courses designated as Audubon International Signature Sanctuary locations. The independent certification from Audubon International, a global not-for-profit conservation leader, ensures that all Big Cedar courses meet the highest standard of conservation-minded course design and sustainable operation. 

Founded by Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris, Big Cedar Lodge first received Signature Sanctuary status for its Jack Nicklaus-designed Top of the Rock course 15 years ago. Buffalo Ridge (designed by Tom Fazio), Ozarks National (designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw), Mountain Top (designed by Gary Player) and Payne’s Valley (designed by Tiger Woods and TGR Design) now hold the same status.   

Payne’s Valley is the latest course to join the resort and was Tiger Woods and TGR Design’s first public golf course in the U.S. It won third place in Golf Inc.’s 2021 Development of the Year competition. 

“We hold conservation close to our hearts and feel an obligation to protect the land and surrounding wildlife for future generations to enjoy,” Morris said, who created the resort to connect more people to nature. 

The rigorous certification process takes years. 

To achieve certification, the Big Cedar team implemented and follows a site-specific Natural Resource Management Plan (NRMP) that addresses wildlife conservation and habitat enhancement, water quality monitoring and management, integrated pest management, water conservation, energy efficiency, waste reduction and management, and green building products and procedures. Once those conditions are met and an environmental audit is passed, Audubon International conduct multiple site visits and provide supplemental training and education to operational personnel. 

“Audubon International Signature Sanctuary certification represents the highest standard of conservation-minded design in the world of golf,” said Christine Kane, CEO of Audubon International. “Attaining certification for every course is an unprecedented achievement that speaks to the strong commitment to conservation from Johnny Morris and the entire Big Cedar team.” 

Between 75-80% of fertilization at Big Cedar Lodge is done using organic fertilizer, a nature-friendly method that grows exceptional turf grass while utilizing natural carbons. Big Cedar also uses a special water recirculation system to help reduce unwanted chemical run-off during cleaning. The courses also use moisture meters on the industrial spray and irrigation rigs to control how much water is used.

Add new comment

If you enjoyed this article and would like to sign up for a FREE digital subscription, click here!