Sycamore Creek will leave behind many fond memories and a legacy of family, friendships and community service.

In 1995, the Kahrs family created an 18-hole golf course called Sycamore Creek Golf Club alongside their 51-year-old aquaculture facility, Osage Catfisheries Inc. Now after 21 years, Sycamore Creek Golf Club has closed for business. The golf course closed Oct. 31, although the Kahrs family will still operate the hatchery on the property.

Sycamore Creek will leave behind many fond memories and a legacy of family, friendships and community service.

When asked why the golf course closed, general manager Danna Kahrs said there were a few factors that weighed in to the decision.

“The demographics of golf have changed in the last 20 years. Not as many people are playing golf in general,” she said. “We also have no upcoming generation of family members to take over the family business. The last deciding factor was when the Department of Labor finalized the ruling to increase the salary levels and overtime pay. That decision alone is very hard for business to afford.”

Since 1953 the Kahrs family has owned and operated Osage Catfisheries and L’Osage Caviar. It was the passion and love of golf by Jim Kahrs that Sycamore Creek Golf Club became a reality with nine holes opening in 1995. Jim had always dreamed of building his own course and with an abundance of land surrounding the fisheries he decided to make his dream come true.

John Allen, a course architect from St. Louis, was hired to design and construct the original 9. The Back 9 opened in 1999 and was designed by Jim and his three sons John, Pete and Steve. Pete ran the bulldozer and carved out the course, and with the help of the grounds crew they laid all the irrigation, planted the grass and finished in time to open in May of 1999. Jim’s wife, Liz, was in charge of designing and decorating the clubhouse and her artistic style and paintings were always a hit with the golfers.

Danna said she has many fond memories of her time at the course, but she will never forget opening weekend in 1995. The course opened on Memorial Day weekend, and many family and friends were on hand to celebrate the occasion. During the weekend’s festivities an unexpected guest decided to drop in, and I mean literally drop in. A small plane was attempting to land at the nearby Grand Glaize Airport and experienced engine trouble. Seeing lots of green space amongst all of the fishery ponds the pilot successfully came in for a landing on the first fairway.

The pilot and all golfers were unharmed and it sure made for a great story for the first weekend of operation. Certainly the most memorable item to be on the course but by no means the only weird visitors. On separate occasions a cement truck and a pizza delivery truck have both ended up in the pond adjacent to Nichols Road. It was never a dull moment around the course, Kahrs said, and what she will miss most is the friends she has made over her 21 years. It was more than just another course it felt and is a family affair.

The Kahrs family has been heavily involved in community service and enrichment projects for over 60 years. These include hosting many charity golf tournaments, volunteering for numerous boards and committees, hosting wounded warrior projects from Fort Leonard Wood and many, many more endeavors that have benefited the Lake of the Ozarks Community. Danna has been on the boards of both the Lake Area Chamber of Commerce and the Lake Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. Steve has been an Osage Beach Alderman for many years. The family is made up of true community leaders in every sense of the word.

The Sunday evening Couples League has been a staple since the course opened, and upwards of 30 couples would gather each week. The idea of Denny and Jody (Kahrs) Hanner, the weekly league brings friends together for golf, laughs and a sense of family each Sunday.

Sycamore will be most remembered by the community and the family for the annual Catfish Classic. For 39 years the Kahrs family has hosted this annual golf tournament on July 4. It started with just family and friends gathering for a day of golf, fireworks and a catfish fry and quickly turned into a 144-player tournament. As the tournament evolved each participant was asked to bring canned goods, paper goods or cash, which in turn would go to the Children’s Home in Miller County.

July 5 was John Kahrs’ birthday, so every year he would gather the paper goods and deliver them to the Children’s Home. In later years, two scholarships were created to honor John Kahrs and Liz Kahrs. Scholarships are awarded to graduating seniors from both Camdenton High School and School of the Osage. John’s scholarship is for seniors entering the medical or educational field and Liz’s scholarship is for seniors striving for a career in art education. Since 2006, 36 scholarships have been awarded totaling $35,000 over the past 11 years. The family hopes the tournament and scholarships will continue for years to come.

Sycamore Creek has meant a lot to the community and will be missed by those who played and worked at the course.

“All of the associates now and over the past 21 years have developed a bond that is hard to break,” Larry Salsman, former head Golf Professional, said. “We became a family as we literally dug ditches, poured concrete, laid sod and worked seamlessly together to provide excellent customer service.”

The community is losing a golf course, but not the family who will still be heavily involved in making the Lake of the Ozarks a great place to work, live and raise a family.

Danna says she will miss the members and associates the most as they have all become a family throughout the years together. In her own words “it has been an honor to be involved in our members’ lives over the past 21 years.”

“Golf Done Right” was the tagline for many years and Danna and her staff consistently exemplified golf in the Lake area for 21 years.