For 55 years, the Lodge of Four Seasons has been serving guests on the 54,000-acre Lake of the Ozarks with a variety of rooms, restaurants, pools, golf, a spa and marina. The setting is comfortable and tranquil beginning with a circular statue in the lobby. Downstairs is a lush atrium with waterfalls inside and outside a Japanese Garden with koi ponds leads to the Fire and Ice pool and bar with plenty of lounge chair options overlooking the lake. One might stay and relax here for days, watching the clouds and boats go by. The Shiki Spa is nationally renowned with indoor/outdoor pool and jacuzzi. A sign defines “Yugen – Japanese (n.) a profound awareness of the universe that triggers feelings too deep and mysterious for words”. There you have it.
The fitness room overlooks the lake as well, but golf is our favorite form of exercise and likely yours too. The Cove Course recently hosted the HK Hospital Charity Tournament. The Robert Trent Jones Signature Course with natural routing through forests, brings the actual cove into play on number 4 where drives must cross over from tee to green. Most of the par threes on course require a carry over water. Ponds guard many greens on longer holes that descend blindly to flat landing areas if planned properly. Number 12 green is flanked by two heart shaped bunkers. The Cove Course is one to love.
The Ridge Course is a local favorite designed by Ken Cavanaugh. It was a peaceful start for us with birds singing in the dense woods, happy after the heavy rainfall. Number one is a steep downhill drive from the tips, setting the stage for the whole course. Given cart path only, it is a full workout – the best kind. And it is a fun ride through nature traversing the namesake ridge. A gallery of a doe and three fawns gazed from the safety of the forest on number 5, while assorted varmints darted across cart paths. A varied mix of staircases lead to several tees. The sign of the day – Caution, Steep Hill. Seasons are denoted on both courses by tee markers with snowflake for the tips, then, flower, sun, and maple leaf.
It’s fun coasting around Lake of the Ozarks – both roller riding the golf courses and cruising the lake coast on a Bombay Boat Rental. Conveniently located at the Marina below the Lodge of Four Seasons, bikini clad attendants send you quickly sailing. Choose your boat size and time on the water. It’s a multi-million-dollar home and yacht tour. Anchor and swim or dock at Dog’s Day for fast food fare and music. More Bombay Boat attendees assist with the docking. We passed number 15 of the Porto Cima Course which looked beautiful. We had no idea until the next morning playing, that more holes skirt the lake, starting with number 7. This is a routing through wilderness again, but finely manicured with artistically striped mowing. 13’s green is perched in a cove where a yacht was anchored with below deck style glamping or would that be called gloating? Porto Cima is a fully private Troon Prive Course, accessible by members and guests staying at the Lodge of Four Seasons based on availability. It hosted the 114th annual Missouri Amateur event with notable past winners like Tom Watson and Payne Stewart. Numbers 16 and 17 continue along the cove and 18 tees off over water with a stream snaking among Ozark rocks leading to the stately clubhouse. What a bonus round!
If you don’t want to be captain of your boat, Bagnel dam is where it all began, 90 years ago when the Lake of the Ozarks was built and cruises run daily, weather permitting. The famous Strip is close by, a row of beach shops and restaurants. We took the sage advice of Lodge of Four Seasons Chief Operating Officer, Robin Graf and dined at the affiliated Baxter’s Lakeside Grille. It was great food with a spectacular water view. The service here and at The Lodge of Four Seasons were remarkable considering the current hiring challenge. We find ourselves thanking everyone for working.
The Lodge of Four Seasons was founded in 1964 by Harold Koplar, father of current owner, Susan (Koplar) Brown and is managed by Troon. Set on 350 peaceful waterfront acres, The Lodge offers more than 60,000 square feet of meeting space. Conference attendees while we were there were thrilled. So were we! Great golf and lake life makes a perfect marriage. www.4seasonsresort.com