Jason Scott Deegan

Senior Staff Writer

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 700 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. He is a regular contributor with Athlon Sports and PGA Magazine. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. His favorite golf destinations are Ireland and New Zealand, along with Michigan and California, where he lives with his wife and two children. Jason rarely touched a golf club until his college days at Eastern Michigan University, but now his passion for the game knows no out of bounds. He got his start writing with the TravelGolf Network in 1999. Follow him on Twitter at @WorldGolfer.

  • 5.0 stars from 5

    Mountain Top Course

    "The most fun you'll have at Big Cedar Lodge"

    Mountain Top gets the par-3 formula just right. It's fun, fast, interesting, playable, walkable, challenging, scenic and flat-out cool. It's as good for beginners as it is for buddies looking for more golf before or after a regulation round. There's no water or cross hazards, other than the occasional bunker guarding a front portion of the green but not the entire thing. The stretch from the downhill 7th to the rocky 8th and 9th is simply fantastic. The 13th green is made to funnel shots toward the pin, so take aim for that hole-in-one! If I had a minor complaint, it would be to ask for a little more variety of yardages. From the tips, there's only two holes playing between 125 to 170 yards. Those are the scoring clubs I need work on (along with many other golfers). Thankfully, your group can likely mix tees up to find the perfect match for your game. Mountain Top shares a clubhouse with Payne's Valley, so playing both would make for one of the best 1-2 punches in resort golf. more »

    5.0 stars from 5

    Ozarks National

    "A tougher-than-expected C&C design"

    Phil Mickelson's BOMBs made Ozarks National look easy during the win in his PGA TOUR Champions debut. It isn't so simple for amateurs to go low. It's probably the toughest Coore & Crenshaw resort course I've played. With no rough, if you miss the fairway, the ball will bound into impossibly long grasses. The front nine delivers what you'd expect from this dynamic architectural duo. It's filled with scoring opportunities with three par 3s, three par 5s and a pair of short par 4s. The back nine, however, felt like a penal parade of long par 4s (462, 440, 428, and 425 yards) with less variety. Maybe this issue can be solved with some combo tees. Most golfers will play from the golds (6,510 yards) since the whites (5,903 yards) look too short on the card. I love the inclusion of a comfort station with free ice cream, chips, snacks and hotdogs. Groups pass it several times, so nobody leaves Ozarks National hungry. more »

    4.0 stars from 5

    Buffalo Ridge Springs Golf Course

    "Tight compared to its sister courses"

    Tom Fazio's redesign of the old Branson Creek course set the golf boom ablaze at Big Cedar Lodge. Visitors are greeted at the clubhouse with sweeping views of the Ozarks. Real buffalo roam along the left side of the first fairway. It's quite the scene. Buffalo Ridge Springs probably ranks as the hardest and most narrow course at the resort. It's loaded with twisting fairways guarded by scenic water features. It's a glorious cart ride from start to finish. If you can finish with one ball, you've played some stellar golf. more »

    5.0 stars from 5

    Top of the Rock Golf Course

    "One tough par 3"

    Top of the Rock will wow and intimidate you at the same time. It's a demanding test of golf. No matter how short the hole, there's always an obstacle in the way of par, a bunker, water hazard or slope of the green. I'd recommend you play it twice before worrying about how poorly you scored the first time around. So much elevation change creates a lot of guess work with club selection. Plus, much of the first time you play is spent looking around at the scenery. Maybe the second time you can focus on executing the proper shot. more »

    5.0 stars from 5

    Payne’s Valley

    "Tiger sets a high bar at Payne's Valley"

    Tiger might not get a better piece of land or a better owner to work for than his first public effort in the United States. Johnny Morris, the founder of Bass Pro Shops who owns Big Cedar Lodge, gave Woods the budget to create an epic 19-hole experience in the Ozarks. You read that right. This is an experience, not just a round of golf. The fairways are as wide as humanly possible, allowing golfers to swing away. It's his green complexes and elevation changes that defend par. The water features at the par-5 4th, par-3 10th, par-5 18th and par-3 19th are stunning. They don't feel like gimmicky, Trump-made waterfalls. They at least fit into the natural terrain, falling off of rocks that characterize the region. The 19th hole, a 137-yard par 3 to an island green, will be the highlight of the round, followed by the wild cart ride along the cliffs back to the hilltop clubhouse. Famous Dave's does a nice job serving quality food in the clubhouse. All in all, a day you won't forget. more »