It's Tee Time

This is the last in our series this year.

And you could certainly make the case that this is saving the best for last.

Old Kinderhook at the Lake of the Ozarks ... 18 great, challenging, but playable holes, with generous fairways on a course that features greens smoother than a pool table.ã??Smoother and faster.ã??All of it in a picturesque setting.

Simply fabulous.

"I think the golf course, in and of itself, is different than any other you can play in the area," Head Golf Professional Martin Krulatz said. "The use of the land was done in such a way that every single hole is unique in its own way.

"You don't have a hole out here that I would classify as gimmicky, where the architect ran out of space and didn't have the room to work with. That aspect just makes it a splendid golfing experience when you play the right set of tees (ranging from 4,962 yards to 6,855) for your ability level."

These notes are ripped right from the course's website:ã??"Old Kinderhook, a Tom Weiskopf signature course, is a 6,855-yard (from the back tees) par 71 featuring zoysia tees and fairways with large bentgrass greens.

"It will challenge the most serious golfer, yet plays on the friendly side. The course is renowned for its unsurpassed drama: valleys, waterfalls, hills, trees and water hazards, plus its beautiful lake setting."

All true.ã??It's ranked No. 2 in Missouri as the "Best Course Near You" by Golf Magazine ... whatever Best Course Near You actually means.

Locatedã??three miles west of Camdenton,ã??Old Kinderhook really isn't old, as it opened just 15 years ago.

But it's still vintage.

"If you want a very challenging golf course," Krulatz said, "go on back to the tips and it's all you can handle. But for the novice golfer who just wants to come out and have fun and enjoy the scenery, they can comfortably play the golf course from the members tees and have a good time."

There's not a bad hole on the course, but here are a few of the best of the best:

* No. 4, par 4, 432 yards (yardages are from the back tees)

"It's a bomber's hole and the green is pretty receptive," Krulatz said.

* No. 8, par 4, 416 yards, which features an elevation drop of about 100 feet from the tee to the fairway.

"It's such a pretty hole," Krulatz said. "You're perched up on a hill on the northwest end of the property ... it's just a picturesque hole. The big challenge is getting the ball off the tee and keep it in play, because you have the hazard to the right and trees to the left.

"But that's just half the battle, because then you have a tough second shot."

* No. 11, par 3, 202 yards

"The fact I've had two career hole-in-ones in my life," Krulatz said, "and both have come on that hole, it holds a little extra sentimental value for me."

Do you blame him that it's one of his favorite holes?

*ã??No. 18, par 5, 516 yards

"You can step up on that hole and make an eagle-3 or you can make a 7, just as easily."

Those are just four holes, but the other 14 are basically just as good.

"We've had a lot of people who have played all the courses at the Lake --- and we have a lot of great ones --- but it just seems we have people who tell us all the time how much fun this course is to play, it's more enjoyable for them," Krulatz said. "The conditions are second to none and it's so playable.

"We feel like we have it all. When you come through the front gates at Old Kinderhook, we'd like you to feel that you're going into an enchanted, fairy tale wonderland."

Basically, you are.