Come for the meeting. Stay for Everything else.
By Stephen Lindsley
If you’re a golfer in Missouri, then there is a good chance you have already heard about the Old Kinderhook golf and lake community at the Lake of the Ozarks. This par 71, 6,855-yard course is thought by many to be among the finest ever designed by golf legend Tom Weiskopf. A dramatic semi-private course with a varied landscape that includes sweeping, tree-lined fairways, creeks, ponds, waterfalls and numerous elevation changes, it has amenities that include an 11-acre practice facility, short game and bunker practice areas and two practice greens. Visitors have found it challenging but not intimidating, and Golf Digest has awarded the course 4 ½ stars – ranking it at the pinnacle of the 15 courses in the Lake of the Ozarks region.
Established in 1999 in a secluded valley near Camdenton, Missouri, Old Kinderhook is located on the “quieter” southwestern reaches of the lake, though it is accessible from Highway 54, which is the central highway that serves the lake area. Ha Ha Tonka State Park, with its natural springs, limestone features and castle ruins, is also nearby. Although it is relatively new, the Old Kinderhook community has a historical connection, both in Missouri and American history.
More than Just OK
Now that you’ve arrived and have taken a few practice swings on the driving range, you might begin to wonder about the strange name of the golfing oasis before you. Briefly, (there’s another group waiting to tee off behind us) the name is derived from the Dutch settlement of Kinderhook in upstate New York that was the birthplace of America’s eighth president, Martin Van Buren. During the presidential election of 1836, Van Buren supporters dubbed him “Old Kinderhook,” which was shortened to “OK.” Many believe that this was the origin of perhaps the most recognizable of all American colloquialisms.
After Van Buren was elected president, city and county names all across the western states reflected his popularity. Missouri governor Thomas Reynolds established the counties of Kinderhook and Van Buren in 1841, though Kinderhook was subsequently re-named Camden County. Because of their location in what was once Kinderhook County, the golf course and residential community were named Old Kinderhook to reflect this historical significance. It is generally agreed, though, that the golf course at Old Kinderhook is much more than just OK.
Stay and Play
While it may have been the course itself that first attracted visitors to the area, the growing list of accommodations and amenities brings them back time and time again.
Whether you seek an ideal golf outing, a unique meeting setting, or simply a relaxing weekend at the lake, Old Kinderhook has lodgings to suit your needs. The one- to two-bedroom cottages are ideal for groups of six or fewer, and include a fully furnished kitchen, a fireplace and a spacious deck. Most offer views of the fairway. The two- to five-bedroom homes feature similar appointments, with the additional advantage of a patio versus a deck. These homes can accommodate up to 10 guests.
Another option is the two- and three-bedroom marina condominiums. Each has a lake view and easy access to the water, golf and dining. They are suitable for up to eight guests.
Eat, Drink and Get a Facial
The Plaza III Steakhouse at Old Kinderhook brings the award-winning Kansas City culinary icon to the Lake of the Ozarks. Guests may choose from custom-selected and aged steaks, chops and prime rib, plus fresh seafood and an extensive wine list. The Plaza III also features banquet facilities and outdoor patio seating.
Newly renovated in 2006, the Hook Café provides a more casual dining experience – perfect for before or after a round of golf, or for a spot of cool refreshment after a day on the lake. Open for breakfast and lunch, the Hook Café is adjacent to the Golf Shop and the Old Kinderhook Clubhouse.
The pampering continues at the Elements Spa, newly added to the property in 2006. Open by appointment for massages, facials, manicures and pedicures, Elements is conveniently located on the 15th fairway.
A swimming pool, tennis courts, fitness center and boat slips with lake access complete the picture, though the facility continues to grow and improve. Additional boat slips and a larger marina are planned for the near future.
Secluded Meeting Venue
Because Old Kinderhook is off the beaten path at Lake of the Ozarks, meeting and event attendees and exhibitors alike can enjoy an environment of peaceful seclusion while still being a short drive away from the action. The hearts of Osage Beach and Lake Ozark are just a 15- to 20-minute drive up Highway 54.
The banquet hall at Old Kinderhook is another fairly recent addition. With a picturesque view overlooking the 15th fairway, the hall offers 3,800 square feet of event space with custom catering provided by The Plaza III Steakhouse. Taken in total, the indoor space plus outdoor areas and courtyards can accommodate groups of up to 125. And if security is an issue, rest assured that the entire Old Kinderhook community is gated and protected with year-round, 24-hour guards.
A Destination for Habitation
Not only is Old Kinderhook a great place to visit for a weekend of golf and lake activities, but a permanent master-planned residential community is growing here as well. Taking advantage of more than 700 acres of prime real estate situated along the lake and with the breathtaking golf course as a backdrop, more than 150 homes are already occupied at Old Kinderhook.
“Old Kinderhook is a place where people can come to relax, get away from their hectic lifestyles, or build their dream home. It has all the elements of a getaway location,” says project manager Bob Renken.
In addition to available condominiums for sale and lease, new home sites are being continually developed. These include golf course direct, second tier, lake, and wooded views with sizes ranging from .32 acre to more than an acre. From a cozy vacation getaway cottage to a custom-designed primary residence, the most difficult decision may be choosing between a luscious golf course view and a sparkling lake overlook. Not a bad problem to have!
Come for the Golf, Stay for the Lifestyle
Old Kinderhook has brought an elegant, upscale atmosphere to a relatively undeveloped area at Lake of the Ozarks. Though the shoreline has long been dotted with weekend homes, Old Kinderhook has transformed an entire valley into a secluded residential haven with the award-winning golf course as its primary focus. Because it is still relatively new, the community continues to grow and reinvent itself to suit its residents and guests. Whether just dropping in for 18 holes, organizing or attending a meeting, spending a leisurely weekend at the lake with friends or contemplating a permanent home in the heart of the Ozarks, there is something for everyone at Old Kinderhook.
(Stephen Lindsley is a contributor from St. Louis, MO)