Review and Rating of the Mountain Nine at Osage National Golf Club
Osage National Golf Club is home to three excellent nine-hole courses and is currently managed by GreatLIFE, which owns several other golf courses in the US. The original 18 holes, the River and Mountain Courses, opened in 1992 and were designed by Arnold Palmer and they are Missouri's only Arnold Palmer Signature designed golf courses. A third nine, the Links, was added a few years later. The courses, like their names imply, play along the towering bluffs of the Osage River, in the valley with a layout that has a links feel to it, and up into the forest and mountains with dramatic elevation changes.
Each nine is very different from the other nine and each one has its own unique characteristics and personality:
- The Mountain nine has tighter tree-lined fairways, jaw-dropping elevation changes, and is the most scenic of the three nines
- The Links course is flatter, more open, and the easiest of the three courses and has some very unique and interesting holes – here is a link to a review of the Links Nine
- We didn’t have time to play the River Nine but we understand that it’s long (2126 to 3561 yards), has water on 9 holes, 18 bunkers to contend with, and some challenging green complexes
Common to all three courses are superb conditions from tee to cup, some fun and very interesting holes, reasonable rates, very good service, a driving range and putting green, a well-stocked pro shop, and other amenities like a swimming pool, a 20,0000-square foot clubhouse with a full-service restaurant and bar, and upscale 2 and 3 bedroom condos for stay and play.
Each nine also has lots of mounding, water on several holes, plenty of bunkers, and some challenging green complexes. All three nines have 6 sets of tee boxes with yardages ranging from 1923 to 3606 yards, which means the course is suitable for all levels of play – easy from the forward tees and very challenging from the tips. Osage National was the site of the Skins Game between golf legends Arnold Palmer, Payne Stewart, Lee Trevino, and Tom Watson and Osage National is rated "Four Stars" by GolfDigest Magazine and typically referred to as "the "Must Play Course at the Lake."
After the second hole on the Mountain Nine, as you ride up a long winding steep cart path, you’ll quickly understand why this nine is called the Mountain Nine. Hole 3 sits on the top of the mountain and from every tee box you’ll have a great view of the 420-yard #1 handicap hole – a big downhill shot from the elevated tee box to a sloping fairway with two left side pot bunkers that turns right and heads up a steep hill to a 22’ by 35’ green with little from for error.
The Mountain Nine is a blast to play as evidenced by the third hole. During your round, you’ll find tight to wide open sloping and rolling fairways, water on five holes, nineteen bunkers to avoid, dramatic uphill and downhill shots, challenging approaches to the greens, and beautiful scenery as the course layout takes you to the top of the mountain and back down to the valley.
Each of the holes on the Osage National Golf Club Mountain Nine are unique and different from the previous holes. Some of the holes we loved in addition to #3 included:
#2 is a beautiful 175 yard par 3 with a significant downhill shot past colorful yellow wildflowers, a bunker, and a lake with a reflection of the towering trees
#5 is one of the most fun holes we’ve played in some time – a 3 shot 588-yard par 5 with a blind shot off the tee box followed by a jaw-dropping downhill shot along a tiered roller coaster tight fairway that heads left and then right to an undulating 20’ by 37’ green with a pond on the left side – I wanted to turn around and go play this hole a couple more times
#8 is another excellent hole – a 484-yard par 4 with a big downhill shot back toward the valley with a dogleg left leading to a huge 45’ by 50’ green with a nasty big bunker on the right front and another one on the back right side
The conditions when we played the Mountain Nine at Osage National were near perfect from the tee box to the greens. The zoysia fairways range from a little tight to ample but if you miss the fairway, the wide rough is a tad challenging. All of the fairways are tree-lined with a couple of holes that have some huge beautiful homes set well back off the fairway. This nine favors accuracy over distance and make sure you pick one of the set of tee boxes that fits your game.
The bent grass greens on the Mountain Nine were also in excellent condition. They ran true and smooth and at a good speed of close to a nine. All of the greens have some combination of slope, tiers, and undulation. The greens are a variety of shapes and sizes ranging from 18’ wide to 50’ deep.
The bunkers range from small challenging pot bunkers to some huge multi-fingered monsters. The sand was thick and heavy and gritty and a little wet from an overnight rain, but very playable. Some of the bunkers are steep and deep and challenging.
Osage National Golf Club is home to an excellent stay and play package with 2 and 3 bedroom condos, several of which overlook the golf course. The facilities are upscale and well done. The bar and grill serves some good food and drinks and has a patio overlooking the Links and River nines
The slope and rating are based on playing the Links and Mountain Nine.
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Service is very good, the pro shop has all of the gear needed to look good and play well. The bar and restaurant and great and the practice facilities are more than adequate.