Industry News

New air service to Branson Airport enables more Minneapolis-St. Paul area golfers to reach the burgeoning destination

Big Cedar promotes two; LedgeStone superintendent featured; Upgrades at Branson Hills

(Branson, Missouri; March 28, 2023) – One of America’s most accessible and in-demand golf destinations just got more accessible as Branson Airport (BKG) announced a new passenger air service from Sun Country Airlines.

Starting in August, the Minneapolis-based carrier will offer nonstop flights to/from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Flights are available for purchase now at


“We are delighted to see Sun Country bring this route to the market,” said Jonas Arjes, Interim President/CEO of Explore Branson. “Thanks to our new courses and 10 total, the golf destination has been drawing players from around the globe, and we look forward to welcoming those from the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul area, already one of our best visitor sources.”

Sun Country will use a Boeing 737, holding 186 passengers, for the flights. The service begins August 31.

Big Cedar Promotions

Big Cedar Lodge has appointed Jeff Steen as Vice President of Golf. 

Previously, he was the Director of Agronomy, a role from which he helped guide all five of the resort’s golf courses to achieve Signature Sanctuary Certification from Audubon International, the non-profit organization that helps places implement environmental and sustainability best practices.

Prior to joining Big Cedar in 2019, Steen had more than 24 years of experience managing premier golf resorts, including 16 years with the famed Pebble Beach Company.

Big Cedar promoted Greg Thomas as its Director of Golf Operations. An Iowa native, he started at Big Cedar in 2014, has worked as an Assistant Professional, Head Professional and Assistant Director of Golf Operations during his 9-year tenure (as Big Cedar has exploded into the best North American golf destinations category).

Thomas previously worked at Branson Creek Golf Club for 14 years before Big Cedar Founder Johnny Morris purchased the course in the fall of 2013 and transformed it into what is now Buffalo Ridge.

LedgeStone Superintendent Featured

LedgeStone Country Club at StoneBridge Village Superintendent Kolby Armbruster, GCSAA, was the subject of a feature article in the spring issue of GCM, the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America’s member publication (“Missouri Marvel: Ledgestone Country Club’s Kolby Armbruster has brought more efficient irrigation strategies to this golf course”).

The article reports how Armbruster launched a 5-year plan when he started at LedgeStone in 2019 that is working out brilliantly.

“He’s ahead of schedule, actually,” said Dale Russell, LedgeStone member, when quoted in the article. “He has taken the course to another level.”

Known for its fun factor and compelling playability, those LedgeStone attributes appealed to Armbruster, the player, as he considered taking the Superintendent position there.  “I told myself I have to work at a golf course I enjoy playing.”

Hear, hear!

Branson Hills Set for Season

Branson Hills Golf Club is geared up for the 2023 season. The clubhouse has been updated with new wood flooring and the golf course has several new Zoysia turf areas designed to be more conducive to movement across the award-winning layout. 

The club’s Magnolia Grille has new food choices and new beers on tap this season. Likewise, the pro shop is filled with new golf equipment, apparel, and accessories.

For more about Branson Golf:


About Explore Branson Golf

Ozarks National, 800.225.6343 
Mountain Top, 800.225.6343
The Pointe, 417.334.4477
Thousand Hills, 800.487.0769, 417.334.4553
Buffalo Ridge, 800.225.6343
LedgeStone, 417.335.8187
Top of the Rock, 800.225.6343
Branson Hills, 417.337.2963
Payne’s Valley, 800.225.6343
Holiday Hills, 417.334.4838

About Explore Branson

Branson is a one-of-a-kind family vacation destination nestled in the lakeside beauty of the Ozark Mountains — and an incredible value — with dozens of live performance theaters, three pristine lakes, an international award-winning theme park, dozens of attractions and museums, a Historic Downtown district, a Town Center-style shopping complex, a full range of dining options, and a host of hotels, motels, resorts, RV parks, campgrounds and meeting and conference facilities. Branson is less than one day's drive for one-third of America’s residents. With low-cost flights to the Branson Airport (BKG and nearby Springfield-Branson National Airport (SGF), it has never been easier to access Branson. Call 1-800-296-0463 for help planning your next vacation, convention or reunion. See more at: 

Dan Shepherd,, 703.403.5317
Gary Trask,, 978.228.0314