College of the Ozarks Adds Golf Program, Home Course is Acclaimed Buffalo Ridge Springs


BRANSON/LAKES AREA, MO. – College of the Ozarks is expanding its athletics program with the debut of men’s and women’s golf teams in fall 2017, the latest addition to North America’s fastest-growing golf destination.

Men’s and women’s teams will likely include eight members each and will be coached by Dr. Chris Larsen, dean of sports, recreation, and events.  Larsen secured the impressive Buffalo Ridge Springs Golf Course in Hollister – ranked one of “America’s Greatest Courses” by national golf magazines – as the teams’ home course and is developing practice areas on campus.

Assisting Larsen will be Walter “Smiley” Jones and Kim Vinton. Jones will be director of golf instruction and is a well-known, highly regarded teacher.  He played 11 years on the PGA Tour Champions circuit and has 30 years of experience as a golf instructor. Vinton currently gives private lessons in the area and holds an impressive resume as a professional player, instructor and coach.

“These two professionals will be invaluable as we strive to develop our golf program,” says Dr. Larsen.

Practice is currently taking place on the Buffalo Ridge driving range, and a practice green, sand bunker, and tee boxes are currently under construction on the college campus.

“The game of golf operates and is based on many of the values that our institution desires to develop in our students. It is a game where respect, honesty, integrity and responsibility are expected,” said Larsen.

Adding golf at College of the Ozarks mirrors the area’s golf destination growth.  Two courses debuted in the past two years and two more are scheduled to open relatively soon (one in 2017, the other in 2018).

“It’s exciting news for College of the Ozarks, the young people who will join the teams, and the golf destination overall,” says Lynn Berry, Branson/Lakes Area Director of Communications. “College of the Ozarks is home to the Keeter Center, an upscale lodge, restaurant and conference facility that was ranked the ‘No. 1 Top Small Hotel in the U.S.’ by TripAdvisor for 2016. People choosing the Branson area for their next golf getaway should consider staying at this amazing place.” 

About Branson/Lakes Area Golf

The golf destination is home to several esteemed courses designed by marquee architcects with two more currently under construction (one a 12-hole, family friendly layout by Gary Player, the other an 18-hole championship track by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw.

Existing courses include:

  • Pointe Royale Golf Village,, 417.334.4477
  • Thousand Hills Golf Resort,, 800.487.0769, 417.334.4553
  • LedgeStone Country Club at StoneBridge Village,, 417.335.8187
  • Top of the Rock Golf Course,, 417.339.5343
  • Branson Hills Golf Club,, 417.337.2963
  • Holiday Hills Resort and Golf Club,, 417.334.4838
  • Don Gardner Golf Course,, 417.337.8510
  • Buffalo Ridge Springs Golf Course,,  417.339.5430

For more information about Branson/Lakes Area Golf, visit or


About Author

Glen Turk is a Wisconsin native who has been the Senior Writer/Editor of Midwest Golfing Magazine since 2006. Besides being an avid golfer, Glen enjoys traveling, music, and cheering on the finest professional sports team of all-time, the Green Bay Packers. Glen’s ultimate golf goal is to play in all fifty states and currently he is more than half way there. His other dream, albeit far-fetched, it to record an ace in all seven states of our distribution area. Thanks to an ace in Illinois in 2015, and one in Michigan in 2016, he has three down, four to go!

Comments are closed.