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View From Top of the Rock

Golf Course Overview: Top of the Rock

Insights From An Insider With Eric Smith, PGA Head Golf Professional

By Brian Weis

Local and traveling golfers love to research courses before playing them, whether it is to gain some local knowledge or to set an expectation before their upcoming round. Below is an interview with Eric Smith who shares some valuable insight about the property, its most talked about holes and the signature dish/drink to consume at the 19th hole.

How Does Your Course Differ From The Others In The Area? Top of the Rock is the only Jack Nicklaus Signature Design 9-Hole, Par 3 course and the first Jack Nicklaus Signature course in the state of Missouri. Johnny Morris, along with Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, and Arnold Palmer has spent the past seven and a half years creating Top of the Rock, one of the most amazing golf experience ever developed. Perched high above Table Rock Lake, the peaceful waterfalls, wandering creeks, bass filled ponds and pristine lakes of Top of the Rock complete a true celebration of nature, the Ozarks and the game of golf. The golf course ranges from 1,420 yards from the back tees to 945 yards from the forward tees. Tees and greens are lush Bentgrass surrounded by Bluegrass roughs.

Top of the Rock covers approximately 47 acres with 38 percent being kept in its natural state or planted in native species. Every effort has been made to allow this course to live in harmony with its environment of lush landscapes, meandering streams, waterfalls, lakes, stone bridges, and unparalleled vistas.
I believe it is the best Par 3 golf course in the world!

For someone who has not played the course in awhile, has there been any new changes/renovations to the course or property?
The course reopened in June of 2014, and underwent an extensive renovation by Jack Nicklaus and Johnny Morris over an 8 year period.

What is your course's answer to Amen Corner? (Describe your best/hardest 3 back/back/back holes)
It is tough to beat the stretch of 5, 6 & 7.
5 is just a little 114 yard hole with a green that is not very deep so you must have great distance control on the shot coming in, similar to 12 at Augusta.
#6 is an island green, 123 yards, everyone loves an island green hole!
#7 is my favorite hole that doesn't have a view of Table Rock Lake. It is 152 yards with water on the right and in front and it feels like a reverse of 16 at Augusta.

What is your course's claim to fame, or is there a little known fact that golfers should know about the property?
We are the first Par 3 golf course to host a PGA Tour event, the Bass Pro Shops Legends a t Big Cedar event. This will be year 3 for us hosting.

What tournaments/events have you (recently) hosted or will be hosting? We host the Bass Pro Shops Legends at Big Cedar Tournament. A PGA Tour Champions event.
We have 2 divisions, one for the Champions guys ages 50- 65 and then a Legends division where the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Lee Trevino all come play, its very special!

For tickets or information please visit:

Besides golf, what other amenities do you offer if a golfer wants to spend most of the day at your facility?
The Arnold Palmer Driving Range features 16 fully lit target greens, recessed lighting for night practice and three decks of tees - one grass tee and two synthetic tees for an all-weather experience. Designed by Tom Watson to replicate the iconic Himalayas putting course at St. Andrews in Scotland, the one-acre Himalayas Putting Green features a bottom-to-top elevation change of 20 feet and offers demanding putts of up to 200 feet in length.

Arnie's Barn, a magnificent 150 year old barn re-located from Arnold Palmer's backyard in Latrobe, Penn., complete with historic photos and memorabilia from Palmer's career achievements - and houses the Top of the Rock pro shop.

Lost Canyon Cave & Nature Trail: This is a one-of-a-kind nature park experience, you take an electric cart where you will pass through covered Amish bridges, marvel at dramatic natural rock formations, waterfalls and caves.

Ancient Ozarks Natural History Museum: Created to celebrate the fascinating history and stunning natural beauty of the Ozarks, it features artifacts, images and interactive exhibits that chronologically walk you through the development of the Ozarks. As you explore the museum, you will learn about the people and animals that have inhabited the region for over 12,000 years.

For our restaurants whether you're in the mood for an elegant meal, a family lunch or cocktails and cigars after your round of golf, Top of the Rock offers your ideal dining venue. Restaurants include Osage Restaurant, Buffalo Bar, the "End of the Trail" All-American Wine Cellar, and Arnie's Barn. Each dining experience is complemented by spectacular views of Table Rock Lake and the Top of the Rock Golf Course.

Signature sandwich or drink?
I love the fire grilled pizzas in Buffalo Bar.
Great view, listen to the bagpiper play and the canon go off at sunset and just relax!

Social Media Links - Follow Top of the Rock

Contact Course
Top of the Rock
150 Top of the Rock Rd
Ridgedale, MO, 65739

Revised: 02/17/2016 - Article Viewed 30,780 Times - View Course Profile

About: Brian Weis

Brian Weis Brian Weis is the Publisher of, a network of golf travel and directory sites including,,,, etc. Professionally, Brian is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA), International Network of Golf (ING), Golf Travel Writers of America (GTWA), International Golf Travel Writers Association (IGTWA) and The Society of Hickory Golfers (SoHG). In 2016, Brian won The Shaheen Cup, an award given to a golf travel writer by his peers.

All of his life, Brian has been around the game of golf. As a youngster, Brian competed at all levels in junior and high school golf. Brian had a zero chance for a college golf scholarship, so he worked on the grounds crew at West Bend Country Club to pay for his University of Wisconsin education. In his adult years, his passion for the game collided with his entrepreneurial spirit and in 2004 launched In 2007, the idea for a network of local golf directory sites formed and was born. Today, the network consists of a site in all 50 states supported by national sites like, and It is an understatement to say, Brian is passionate about promoting golf and golf travel on a local, regional, national and international level.

On the golf course, Brian is known as a fierce weekend warrior that fluctuates between a 5-9 handicap. With a soft fade, known as "The Weis Slice", and booming 300+ drives, he can blast it out of bounds with the best of them.

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