Pat Pinkston was my boss at the time of my retirement. Although we have known each other professionally for over 30-years, it was his appointment as the General Manager of the JD Waterloo Tractor operations in 2005 that brought us into a close working relationship for the first time. I was on Pat’s Staff in Waterloo for 2-1/2 years before he moved moved into a new assignment at our corporate offices in Moline. Ten months passed by before he offered me an opportunity to follow him to Moline and assume the role that would complete my career.
Julie met Nancy Pinkston for the first time in 2005. Their relationship grew much closer in 2008 after we moved back to Bettendorf where Nancy convinced Julie to join a quilting group. Julie’s initial reluctance to accompany me on my golf journey dissipated after the ladies in the quilting group gave her the idea to make a quilt with fabric purchased in each of the 50-states we would visit. Thank you ladies!
When I began to search for a Missouri course I noticed that one of the top courses was located in the Lake of the Ozarks region. Since Pat & Nancy own a summer home on the lake I decided to ask Pat of he would like to play the course with me. After checking calendars, a target date was selected following the Memorial Day holiday. Julie & I arrived at their home late Monday afternoon. It was quite amazing that the house did not show any signs of their son’s (Steve) 3rd annual gathering; a small gathering of 26 young adults for the 3-day week-end. Such a large guest list would over-run a typical home, but the Pinkston’s 4-bedroom home on the lake is augmented by a fully furnished 4-bedroom apartment built into their “toy barn” - - - located directly across the road from their lake home. Steve’s event is well organized with pre-assigned sleeping quarters and cooking duties for all of the guests. The “Lake House Rules” make it clear that guests are expected to leave the place as they found it, a clean-up crew of 26 worker bees makes it much easier to host such a large gathering. What else would one expect from a bunch of Iowa State University graduates?
Pat & Nancy's home on Lake of the Ozarks
Back side of the home that faces the water
Dock for all of the "water toys"
"Toy barn" and guest apartment
The Lake of the Ozarks region has a very interesting ambiance, as you will detect from reading this blog. A short boat ride Monday evening took us to an establishment with good food and great atmosphere. A yellow Cadillac sitting on the shoreline helps passing boaters spot Plain Jane’s; upon closer inspection the license plates describe the type of food you might expect. The only item missing from the hillbilly Christmas tree sitting next to the porch was an empty bottle of Southern Comfort (they did have an empty Jack Daniels bottle!). Plain Jane’s mailing address was Climax Springs, Missouri (you just can’t make this stuff up!).
Hillbilly Christmas tree
Welcome sign next to the hillbilly Christmas tree
In case you may not know, no other name in golf exudes the dignity, class and greatness than that of Jack Nicklaus. He has been named "Golfer of the Century" by almost every major golf publication in the world, Individual Male Athlete of the Century by Sports Illustrated, and one of the "10 Greatest Athletes of the Century" by ESPN. Early in 2001, Nicklaus was honored with the first-ever ESPY Lifetime Achievement Award. He became the first golfer – and only the third athlete – to receive the Vince Lombardi Award of Excellence. In 2003, he was honored with the Muhammad Ali Sports Legend Award. In November 2005, the Golden Bear was honored by President George W. Bush at the White House with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor given to an American civilian. A few weeks later, he was unanimously named by Golf World Magazine as its "Newsmaker of the Year" for 2005.
Nicklaus' competitive career spans five decades, his legend built on 113 professional tournament victories worldwide and a record 20 major championship titles. He is the only player in history to have won each of the game's majors at least twice (six Masters, five PGA Championships, four U.S. Opens, three British Opens, and two U.S. Amateurs); he is the only player to have completed the career "Grand Slam" on both the regular and Senior tours. Nicklaus is a five-time winner of the PGA Player of the Year Award, has been the PGA Tour's leading money-winner eight times and its runner-up six times. He has played on six Ryder Cup teams, captained two other Ryder Cup teams, and served as U.S. captain for the 1998, 2003, and 2005 President Cup teams.
His indelible mark on Missouri is The Club at Porto Cima, a Jack Nicklaus "Signature" golf course. To be deemed "Signature" status, the architect of a course has to be involved on both the drafting-table and the terra firma end — and every point in between. Mr. Nicklaus was "boots on the ground" as the course took shape and has enjoyed playing on his creation after it was completed. Given the background of the course and the willingness of my golf partner, this was an easy selection for my Missouri course.
Location: Sunrise Beach, MO
Golf Digest Best-In-State Rank: #4
Date: 29 May, tee off at 8:50 AM
Conditions: sunny skies, 1 MPH wind, 80 degrees
Lost balls: 2
Lost balls: 2
Score: 87 on a par 72
This was the first round of golf Pat has played this year. We took our time warming up before driving up to the first tee, 30-minutes before our scheduled tee time. In the absence of a starter and with no players in sight, we teed off early. Pat was needlessly worried that he might slow up other players during the round; we played at a comfortable pace with a one-hole separation from the groups both in front and behind us during the round.
159-yard par 3 hole #3 (view from the green back toward the tee box)
372-yard par 4 hole #5
138-yard par 3 hole #6 (view from the green back toward the tee box)
Lake homes sitting across the water on hole #7 fairway
374-yard par 4 hole #9 (view from the fairway toward the green)
The course challenged us with narrow fairways on the front nine, elevation changes, deep ravines, and assorted water hazards. The weather could not have been better with warm, sunny skies and a very light breeze. I played well but did hit a couple of balls into the water. The first ball dropped into the water just after Pat mentioned an old JD work issue involving a computer system and a particular German factory. He promised not to mention it again - which helped, but did not totally prevent me from hitting more balls into the water hazards. We did enjoy our conversation about everything but John Deere for the rest of the round. Pat hit some surprisingly great shots, especially when you consider his clubs are not the latest technology and he was playing his first round of the year.
394-yard par 4 hole #11
490-yard par 5 hole #13 (view of approach shot from the fairway to the green)
Pat standing on the 510-yard par 5 hole #15 tee box
Lake homes sitting next to the hole #15 fairway
View of hole #15 green sitting next to the lake
View across the lake from the hole #15 green
149-yard par 3 hole #16 (view from the green back toward the tee box)
357-yard par 4 hole #17
Pat standing on the 374-yard par 4 hole #18 tee box
View from the hole #18 green back up the fairway
After a great morning on the golf course, we met Julie and Nancy for lunch. Unfortunately, we were one week too early with our visit to enjoy the cuisine served up at the Testicle Festival (turkey balls!). We did meet up at the Wobbly Boots Roadhouse where we enjoyed a lunch of barbecued pork sandwiches. I imagine the wobbly boots name is more representative of their bar patrons as they offered a wide array of beers. There is no shortage of area restaurants with eye-catching names as shown below.
The Jerk Shack
Big Dick's Halfway Inn (Note: this picture has not been altered in any way whatsoever!!!)
Eye-catching advertisements were not just restricted to local restaurants. The large number of boat docks in the area provides a business opportunity that did not go un-noticed. Advertisements for dock repair were some of the most creative advertisements to be found.
The region’s local color extended beyond the roadside billboards. One resident took a different approach to re-cycling when it came to building a fence on their property.
The bed post fence
There are always a few people who really get enthused when it comes to making their yard stand out.
Better Homes & Gardens gold medal winner in the "Best Landscaping" category
The region even provides for those people interested in a “nakation”. Keeping in mind that Missouri is known as the “show-me state”, apparently some folks take their state’s motto quite literally!
We hit the road again on Wednesday morning. The drive back to Iowa would not be complete without stopping at a few quilt shops. One of our stops stop was a shop in Mexico, MO - - - located in an old feed store & chicken hatchery. The building’s current occupant was doing well enough that they had expanded into a space formerly occupied by the “One Eyed Willy’s” bar. The store front for old Willy’s bar was still hanging on building’s exterior. Julie shopped for fabric while I entertained a 2-year old English bulldog named Oliver.
The Homestead Hearth quilt shop
Former entrance to the One Eyed Willy's tavern
The directions to One Eyed Willy's were located underneath the Jeep
Oliver stretched out on the floor to cool off after playtime
Our last stop in Missouri was just south of Hannibal at a store selling fireworks. They utilized a larger-than-life gorilla to pull in motorists to their Walmart sized store. (Note - the gorilla is even dressed modestly in swim wear.)
End-of May progress report: I have played golf in 24-states through the first 5-months of the year. That leaves 26 states to go in the remaining 7-months. This doesn’t seem like such a tough goal. Julie has accumulated a corresponding volume of fabric for her quilting project.