With the economy still in the bunker and gas prices beginning to rise like my score, you might have to forget about that golf trip to Hilton Head or Pebble Beach. But you can find terrific golf destinations right here in Missouri: Branson and Lake of the Ozarks.

    Most think of Branson as a place for shows, shopping and Silver Dollar City. But while the rest of the family is out enjoying all that, you can choose to tee it up at one of the area’s seven courses: Branson Creek, Holiday Hills, John Daly’s Murder Rock, Ledgestone C.C., Pointe Royale Golf Course, Thousand Hills Golf Resort and Top of the Rock Golf Course.

Branson Creek is the premiere course in the area. Designed by architect Tom Fazio, it calls attention to the natural beauty of the Ozark Mountains. It has held the No. 1 Public Course rating in Missouri since 2001 in both Golf Digest and Golf Magazine, and nationally, Branson Creek holds the No. 60 ranking in Golf Digest’s ‘Top 100 in America’ for 2007-2008. Check out golfbranson.com.

    A little closer to home is Lake of the Ozarks, with more than 13 golf courses carved out of Missouri Ozark Hills. All have tree-lined fairways and many overlook the Lake of the Ozarks itself. The courses, designed by Arnold Palmer, Tom Weiskopf, Bruce Develin and Robert Von Hagge, will challenge anyone’s golf game. The list includes: Bay View Golf Club, Bear Creek Valley, Deer Chase, Dogwood Hills Golf Club, Eldon Country Club, Hidden Lakes, Indian Rock, Lake Valley Country Club, Old Kinderhook, Osage National, Rolling Hills Country Club, Seasons Ridge, Sycamore Creek and The Oaks. For more information, go to golfinginmissouri.com.

Publinx Open

    The 50th annual Publinx Open at Forest Park again drew a capacity field of more than 250 golfers. The amateur division sported a three-way tie with Skip Berkmeyer, Tom Barry and Ted Maloney each shooting a 3-under 67. Berkmeyer now has either won or shared the amateur title four times. Mike Suhre of Edwardsville won the professional division with a 68, netting $1,200. In the senior division, Mark Davis and Doug Thomas each hit 70 to tie for first place.

2009 Coleman Invitational

     Two St. Louisans competed in the Coleman Invitational at Juno Beach, Fla. Jim Holgrieve finished in a tie for seventh while Skip Berkmeyer tied for 33rd.

2009 P.J. Boatwright Internships

    The Metropolitan Amateur Golf Association (MAGA) has announced the two recipients of the 2009 P.J. Boatwright Internships: Andrew Krapfl, returning for a second term with MAGA, and  Marcus Scheer of Washington. Krapfl is a graduate of Kirkwood and the University of Missouri; Scheer is a graduate of Washington High School and is completing his junior year at Lindenwood University.  In 1991, the USGA established the P.J. Boatwright Jr. Internship Program for individuals who are interested in pursuing a career in golf administration.

Four-ball championship

    The second annual Metropolitan Net Four-Ball Championship was held recently at Algonquin. The team of Steve Strauss and Dan Cox shot a 67 to beat the teams of Ryan Eckelkamp/David Strickland and Bruce Robert/Edward Ewing, who both turned in scores of 68.

Gateway PGA junior golf

    If you want to play junior golf this summer with the Gateway PGA, you must register by May 27. Carol Fromuth, the girls coach at St. Joseph’s Academy, will direct the program again.

    There are two learning divisions for boys and girls ages 5 through 8 and another one for ages 9 through 12. The Tour Division is for boys who can shoot 85 or less and girls who can shoot 100 or less. The age group is 14 to 19. There is an 18-Hole division for boys ages 12-19 who can shoot 54 or less for nine holes or 109 or less for 18 holes and girls who can shoot 60 or less for nine holes or 120 or less for 18 holes and complete play in five hours. The nine-hole division is for boys and girls ages 10 to 19 who can shoot less than 65 for nine holes. The program offers weeklong camps. For more information, call 636-532-9191 or visit


If you have any golf news or a tournament to promote, contact me at wlmayes@charter.net.

More Sports articles.