Sunday, November 7, 2010

Branson Missouri is full of surprises including golf

Katharine Dayson wrote the following story about Branson and golf and shows and's just a part of the story. It's a good read.

Having seen the Wizard of Oz, I’d expected Branson, Missouri to have Kansas-like terrain. Flat. The two states do after all share a border. That was my first surprise. We flew in over the steep forested hills of the Ozarks, with plunging ravines, rivers and lakes, a perfect canvas for golf courses and we were after all, coming to play golf.

And the golf was as good as the scenery with tracks like Branson Creek Golf Club, Ledgestone Country Club, Pointe Royale, Payne Stewart’s Golf Club and John Daly’s Murder Rock Golf & Country Club unrolling nonstop views of the mountains, especially from the higher plateaus. When Tom Fazio came here to design Branson Creek and saw the terrain a decade ago, he must have been ecstatic.

With a moniker like “Nature & Neon” I expected a few casinos, but, surprise number two. Branson has no casinos. What it does have are more than 50 theaters and 100 plus musical shows which play during almost all waking hours. Called the “Live Music Capital of the Country” headliners like Andy Williams, Michael Bolton, the Osmonds, the Platters, Yakov, Liverpool Legends and Shoji Tabuchi and his violin help entertain more than 8 million visitors who come here each year.

Many of the acts are family affairs like “Six” (brothers who perform all the music and “band sounds” with their voices) and Buck Trent still at 72 ripping into his banjo. There are new shows like The Legend of Kung Fu, the entertainers at the Beijing opening ceremonies and contemporary stars like Nelly.

First came the beauty of the Ozarks, then the music when entertainers discovered Branson. With its rich natural environment – a place where folks could hike, bike, swim and fish – combined with its central location made it an ideal place to settle in.

So they came to Branson and built theaters and created their shows. As Buck Trent said on the 18th hole of the Payne Stewart course, “You gotta have a show here. You just can’t come out and pick and sing.

For those who lived here and loved golf like Williams and Trent, it was only natural that Branson would be just about perfect if they had some good courses to play.

So now along with Zipline Tours, boating and fishing on Lake Taneycomo and wolfing down hub-sized pancakes at funky Billy Gails Cafe or indulging in perfectly-cooked steaks at Level 2 steakhouse in the Hilton Hotel, there are now nine courses within 25 minutes or less from the town center. That makes all those golfing stars happy. “In Branson we just show up, play golf and go do our show,” explained Buck.

Read the rest of the story here:

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