Each year from mid-September to November, the Ozark Mountains surrounding Branson change from luscious shades of green to the rich fall colors of red, orange, and yellow. It’s the perfect season to catch a glimpse of the Ozarks from afar at a scenic overlook or get up-close-and-personal by taking a stroll on one of many area nature trails. Set your own pace by taking a self-guided fall foliage tour through the hills.
Other favorites include boat, plane, helicopter and train tours, as well as lake cruises on one of the spectacular lakes that recently earned Branson a spot in Country Living’s 25 Best Small Lake Towns in America. While leaves burst into full color and the landscape undergoes its annual transformation, the city celebrates the new season and American heritage with numerous craft and music festivals, patriotic events and outdoor sporting activities.
Branson Golf remains a must for those visiting the area this fall. The fastest-growing golf destination in America, likely the world, welcomed the new Gary Player Mountain Top Course this past August. The unique 13-hole course – a collaboration between Big Cedar Lodge founder Johnny Morris and World Golf Hall of Fame member Gary Player – brings to three the number of Big Cedar golf courses available to the public. The other two – Buffalo Ridge and Top of the Rock – are played annually as part of the PGA TOUR Champions Legends of Golf each spring. Breathtaking Ozark views and premier golf extend to other courses like Branson Hills, a top-ranked Missouri course for the last five years by GolfWeek, and Thousand Hills, a Bob Cupp design the belies the first impression its par-64 routing invokes.
From the family-friendly Mountain Top Course at Big Cedar, to shoulder-season discounts at any of Branson’s best in state 18-hole courses, golfers of any age or experience can enjoy world-class golf at this Ozark Mountain oasis.
The rolling hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, dotted red by Virginia’s state tree, the Dogwood, are breathtaking in the crisp fall air. Along Virginia’s scenic roadways you’ll find apple picking, harvest festivals, breweries and striking natural beauty that provides the perfect background for golf.
Nestled in historic hunt and wine country, Keswick Hall & Golf Club is a 600-acre boutique resort that proves to be an exceptional place to view the brilliant fall foliage. Like the area surrounding Keswick, the golf course is rich in history. A members-only club, Keswick Club was introduced in 1948 when renowned architect Fred Findlay added its first nine holes of golf. The course expanded to 18 holes in the mid- ‘50s and was renovated in 1992 by Arnold Palmer.
World Golf Hall of Fame architect Pete Dye was commissioned to create its dramatic new Full Cry layout. Since its opening in 2014, the course has received numerous accolades including being ranked No. 4 in Golfweek’s 2017 roster of “Best Courses You Can Play” in Virginia as well as ranked No. 45 in Golfweek’s “Best Resort Courses.” Players of all abilities will savor the experience of this scenic Dye masterpiece. Special stay-and-play packages offer guests a chance to enjoy accommodations in the 48-room luxury Keswick Hall hotel, nationally-acclaimed golf and fantastic amenities including a full-service spa ideal for enjoying a getaway in the autumn splendor of Virginia.
Another location worthy of a fall outing, located 30 minutes southwest of state capitol Richmond, is Magnolia Green Golf Club. The 18-hole course includes Bermuda grass fairways and tees, bentgrass greens and natural, flowing streams. Draped over undulating terrain and measuring 7,150 yards from the back tees, lead architect Chris Cochran from Nicklaus Design expertly incorporated five sets of tees for players of all abilities. Wildlife is abundant and streams have been fully-restored and lined with native shrubs and grasses to create this natural and environmentally-friendly course. A new clubhouse with a 1,300 square foot covered outdoor dining porch perfect for enjoying a local brew and taking in the fall foliage is set to open in October.
Central Park dresses itself in red and orange as the golden sun sparkles off the Manhattan skyline, but a fall trip to New York shouldn’t just be to the Big Apple. Travel an hour north to the only course in New York designed by the legendary Pete Dye.
Located in Westchester County, Pound Ridge Golf Club is the premier high-end, public course in the metropolitan New York area. Crafted by Dye, his son Perry and long-time Dye construction manager/lead shaper Michael Langkau, Pound Ridge Golf Club is a full bentgrass facility, hewn from 172 acres of magnificent cliffs, streams and wooded hills. Dramatic rock formations and boulders were left onsite, creating one of the most visually stunning settings for golf in the United States. More than 14,000-linear-feet of rock wall surrounds trees, wetlands and water hazards on the course. These frame contoured fairways wind through hardwood forests and fescue mounds leading to open meadows with picturesque green complexes.
Fans of Dye will find all the legendary designer’s renowned touches on display: dramatic mounding, rhythmic routing and subtle deception meld to create an imminently challenging and fair golf experience.