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Forbes Ranks Branson (Missouri) No. 4 in its 'Top 10 Best Places to Travel Now During the Pandemic'

Destination's 10 Golf Courses and Other Activities Enable Safe Recreation and Social Distancing

By Brian Weis

Both the golf industry and Explore Branson - the Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) for the town and surrounding area in the southwest Missouri Ozarks - reported better than expected numbers in 2020, a trend that has continued into 2021. Now Forbes is doing the same.

It recently published its "Top Ten Best Places In America To Travel Right Now And Avoid The Pandemic," and Branson is ranked No. 4 in the country. To compile this list, Forbes overlaid more than half a dozen maps and criteria like the CDC COVID Data Tracker, the Harvard-Brown COVID Risk Level Map, and TripAdvisor reviews, including current case counts, population density, average weather, public health guidance, proximity to outdoor activities, and drive times from at least two major American metropolises. It also looked at new cases per 100,000 people, 7-day rolling averages, total cases, and total deaths to assess the current coronavirus infection risk relative to historical trends dating back to the beginning of the pandemic.

That Branson fared so well in the Forbes' compilation was an inspiring reinforcement, given that the study results mirrored state and regional trends and case numbers. The destination is known for its lakes, live entertainment theaters, family friendly atmosphere, and increasingly its rising-star golf destination. Golf plays a key role in Branson's safe Forbes' rating, given there are 10 courses, all of which provide inherently safe havens simultaneously enjoying recreation with friends whilst practicing social distancing.

"This list of best places to safely travel couldn't come at a better time for Branson," said Lynn Berry, Director of Communications, Branson Convention & Visitors Bureau. "With the weather becoming more pleasant by the week, our world-class golf destination, incredible hotels, resorts, restaurants and many other attractions are well-suited to provide guests with fun, safe, and memorable experiences."

Branson has a variety of exceptional golf courses that are close to one another, hold critical acclaim, and offer great restaurants, lodging, and after-golf diversions. The newest - Payne's Valley by Tiger Woods - is brand new and just recently opened for its first full season. Four other Branson courses are rated among the top 10 in Missouri - Ozarks National (No. 1), Buffalo Ridge (No. 2), Branson Hills (No. 3), and LedgeStone (No. 7). Additionally, Ozarks National and Buffalo Ridge were honored as "Top 100 Courses You Can Play in America," ranking nos. 64 and 83, respectively (out of roughly 13,500 U.S. playing venues).

Thousand Hills (Bob Cupp design), The Pointe, and Holiday Hills complete Branson Golf's roster of 10 courses, and each has earned appreciation for their playability and value.

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Revised: 03/24/2021 - Article Viewed 8,689 Times

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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