SPRINGFIELD — Ozarks Public Television (OPT) will premiere a locally-produced documentary on the history, impact and legacy that Ozarks individuals and golf courses have made to the sport of golf. These highlights have contributed to the popularity and profile of golf on a national level.
“Links to the Past, Fairways to the Future” will be broadcast on OPT at 8 p.m. Aug. 21 and will repeat at 6 p.m. Aug. 24. The program is presented as part of OPT’s commitment to local productions that document, present and preserve significant aspects of regional Ozarks history and is made possible through the participation of many individuals and area archives and the generous financial support of project funders.
The evolution of golf in the Ozarks is remarkable and so are the individuals, courses and shared histories that reflect the sport’s ongoing popularity and growing legacy. This celebrated story begins at the Springfield County Club in 1907 with courses in Joplin, Aurora, Monett and other communities in the Ozarks soon developing.
The growth and popularity of the sport would quickly contribute to the development of many tremendous players, including one of the all-time successful competitors, Horton Smith, who in the late 20s and early 30s became one of the greatest players of the era, capturing the first Masters title in 1934 and his second in 1936.
Well-known names such as Herman Keiser, Hale Irwin and Payne Stewart would also enjoy professional success and acclaim. Women players including JoAnne Thomas, Connie Morris, Joyce Mahoney, Cathy Reynolds and others would dominate golf not only locally, but across the state and nationally.
The documentary, presented in high definition, features extensive first-person perspectives and memories, as well as context from respected historians. Abundant archival documents, photos and video bring the story to life, preserving not only the history of golf in the Ozarks but demonstrating its strong future and home to one of the top junior golf programs in the nation.
“OPT’s commitment to document the history of the Ozarks region continues with this very special project,” said OPT General Manager Tammy Wiley. “With the help of several notable personalities, we’re able help tell the story of golf in the Ozarks, celebrating the past while also looking at opportunities for the next generation of golfers in this region. This documentary would not be possible without the support of our sponsors and donors; we are deeply grateful for their help.”