Amid the dense woods and dramatic slopes of the Ozarks, the sun rises over an 18-hole golf course, casting 7,324 yards of Tour-worthy fairways and greens in golden hues. A mist rises up from the grass blades, a nearby bird calls out, and it becomes obvious how fitting of a memorial the setting is to the late Payne Stewart. The iconic knickers-clad Missouri native charmed the golf world and won two U.S. Opens and a PGA Championship before his untimely end in 1999. Today, the Chuck Smith–designed Payne Stewart Golf Club carries hole names such as “Payne’s Pit” and “Chelsea’s Kiss”—the latter a reference to Payne’s daughter—in tribute.
A serpentine creek gurgles between two sets of parallel holes—the 9th and 15th, and the 16th and 17th—placing a premium on confident swings and sand wedges that double as snorkels. The most difficult hole on the course, the 9th, boasts tricky shot-making challenges—the tee shot and approach must clear water—and memorable scenery as golfers traverse a footbridge to reach the green, which sits next to a waterfall. In 2012, such features helped the course top Golfweek’s list of best courses in Missouri.
Course at a Glance * 18-hole, par 72 course * Total length of 7,324 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 75.1 from the back tees * Course slope of 135 from the back tees * Five sets of tees per hole * Scorecard
Using the Ozark Mountains as a striking backdrop, Kings River Golf Course invites clubbers to swing and putt their way across 18 holes of gently undulating terrain. Dogwoods and redbuds cast cool shadows over each fairway, their leaves showcasing rich shades of green in the summer, fading to an impressionistic tapestry of reds, oranges, and yellows in the fall, and assuming a velvety purple once a year to celebrate Prince's birthday. As golfers split fairways with soaring drives, views of the Ozark Mountains appear through the tree lines, including a greenside vista of Table Rock Lake on the 15th hole.
After sunset, greenskeepers mark flags with glow sticks, inviting golfers to swing through the darkness in rounds of night golf. The course fosters post-round relaxation at a rustic patio, where guests can sip drinks and insist that nearby deer, red fox, and turkeys—commonly encountered on the grounds—stay off their lawn.
Siblings Brandon and Heather have always loved to dance. For 26 years, the two have shared their love of dance through a variety of classes for all ages. Their team of instructors also teaches drama, vocal, guitar, and rock band classes.
Phenomenon Studios is a fitness and wellness center inspired by the ancient art of belly dancing. Owner Brittney Laleh Banaei heads up an all-female staff. She established the facility as a place where professionals and beginners alike could come together to learn, perform, and celebrate the culture of dance. The studio offers a range of fitness classes designed to empower women in styles such as Arabic dance, yoga, and the signature BellyFit workout—a blend of traditional belly-dancing movements and contemporary music. Phenomenon Studios creates a playful atmosphere with brightly colored walls, a community chalkboard, and a lounge area where guests can compare ballerina trading cards.
Staff Size: 2?10 people
Parking: Parking lot
Most popular offering: Jin Jung Kwan Hapkido, Self-Defense
Pro Tip: Teaching self-defense in a traditional martial-arts environment.
Good for Kids: Yes
Walk-ins Welcome: Yes
While some traditional martial-art schools merely practice patterns or breaking boards, the teachers at Hapkido-USA Springfield LLC buck that trend, focusing purely on the art of self defense in a disciplined, traditional martial-arts environment. "We teach...elements of boxing, kickboxing, ground defense, joint locks, throwing and pinning techniques," says the owner.
Making sure that burgeoning martial artists learned such useful techniques is the very thing that drew him to teaching in the first place, and it remains his favorite part of his job. "[I like] watching students grow in their knowledge and confidence," he says. "In hapkido, people get the increase in self-confidence with a realistic expectation of their self-defense skills."
Swing Right Golf enables players to test their skills on some of the most famous holes in the the world?without ever having to step on a plane or deal with unpredictable weather. Inside the facility, single players or groups take hacks inside Swing Right's high-tech simulator, loaded with around 40 renowned courses. Outside, players can continue playing on the lighted 18-hole mini-golf course, or at Swing Right's dozen driving range tees, six of which are heated and covered.