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September 2021

Old Kinderhook Resort, Golf Club & Spa

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Building Community Partnerships

By Sally J. Sportsman

Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks has evolved into a golf and vacation destination of significant allure and popularity, attracting golfers and families from all over the U.S. While it is not unusual for golf resorts to open their doors to local play and events, Old Kinderhook Resort, Golf Club & Spa has distinguished itself with the variety and ingenuity of its community outreach efforts. The layout of the resort enhances these initiatives.

“Our resort is a little unique for the area in that once you are here you never have to leave,” said Dexter Whitney, general manager of the property, which is located in Camdenton, Missouri, at Lake of the Ozarks, on the 12-mile marker of the Niangua River arm. “Everything is within walking distance of the golf course.”

Old Kinderhook Golf Course, a Tom Weiskopf design, is a Signature Championship course set in the rolling hills of the Ozarks. It opened in 1999 and remains open for play year-round, weather permitting. The golf cottage rentals were ready before the course opened. In April 2015 the 84-room Lodge opened, which has been great for business, Whitney said. The hotel allows Old Kinderhook to host small conferences and business meetings as well as golf groups. The Trophy Room restaurant was added in 2001.

“In the winter, once the golf slows down, we open our outdoor ice rink,” said Whitney. “The ice plays host to several Pee Wee Hockey tournaments in the winter and is the centerpiece for our Christmas Village, which draws guests from regional locations and has become a tradition for many families.”

The resort remained fully open during the Covid-19 pandemic. Extensive precautions and guidelines were put in place to ensure safety. The Lake of the Ozarks became known as a sanctuary from the pandemic, with golf and boating growing more popular than ever. Old Kinderhook is connected to the lake, with access to boat rentals and numerous outdoor games. The resort makes a significant investment in maintaining its golf course and grounds. The course is open to the public and is played by locals, visitors and members of the Old Kinderhook community.

The hotel, less than 50 yards from the pro shop, Trophy Room and Hook Café, has two salt water pools, one indoor and one outdoor. Old Kinderhook is a family resort offering numerous activities, including volleyball. The volleyball court transitions into the ice rink in the winter months, from Thanksgiving through the end of February.

Golf courses in the U.S. often engage in fundraising activities for local, regional and national organizations. Old Kinderhook goes about this in an organized fashion. A marketing committee meets weekly, one of its tasks being to review the many requests for donations.

“We donate as much as we can to local and regional charitable organizations in the form of providing auction items or stay-and-play packages at the resort, which help them raise money,” Whitney said. “We also host numerous tournaments throughout the year.”

Examples include the local Camdenton High School Invitational, the Future Juniors Tour and Ladies Guest Day, which supports CADV (Citizens Against Domestic Violence). The resort also supports the local hospital and has an event for the Lake Regional physicians. Old Kinderhook works with the local Chamber of Conference on its annual dinner event and contributes to Kids Harbor, and during the pandemic hosted vaccine clinics for the local community. And the resort supports the annual boat race on the lake called “Shoot Out”, which raises hundreds of thousands of dollars each year, supporting hundreds of charities.

When hosting fundraisers, Old Kinderhook balances those initiatives with its resort business.

“The Old Kinderhook Resort not only returned to normal business levels after the pandemic, but we have been exceeding the previous year’s revenues since last June,” said Whitney. “When we host these tournaments, we do so knowing that we are sacrificing revenue and profit for the resort.

“We are fortunate to have great owners who not only understand, but embrace the concept of giving back to the community and encourage us to participate in these activities.

“We try to plan these fund-raising events far enough out that they are not disruptive to the operation or our guests.” 

Old Kinderhook is a visible partner in the community. People see the resort on the school discount card, for example, as well as in advertisements each year promoting the Shoot Out boating event.

“Other than that, we do not go around patting ourselves on the back for being good citizens,” Whitney said. “The organizations we support know we are here for them.

“We are not planning to make any changes in how we operate. We have always done as much as we can to support and help the community around us.”

 

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