New Holiday Island golf pro has been playing the game since eighth grade

Wednesday, March 27, 2002

Justin Beck, Holiday Island's new golf professional, said his parents and grandparents started him playing golf when he was 4 years old, but he got serious about the game in the eighth grade.

"I decided I was good at it, and it might be a way to pay for college," he said.

Beck, who grew up in Cassville, Mo., did receive a scholarship to Missouri Southern State College in Joplin, but instead of going there right away after high school, he decided to go to sunny California.

"I spent a year in San Diego at the Golf Academy," he said.

He liked California's fast pace, ("the best climate in the country") but was happy to return home where he is close to friends and family.

Family consists of his parents and one sibling, a brother, a year younger, who lives in Springfield, Mo.

He returned to take up the scholarship at Missouri Southern, and will be continuing to work on a degree in business by taking night classes.

But he's had other fish to fry, having recently come from Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, where he was an assistant golf pro for two and a half years.

Beck is "hooked" on golf, he said, because it's a challenge.

"I love golf," he said. "I have an undying passion to master the game; I just can't do it. It's a game that can never be mastered."

He believes even a star like Tiger Woods would agree.

"There are so many variables -- weather, timing. It changes each day. Some people don't like to play in wind, or if the golf course is wet, it makes it harder."

Beck said Holiday Island's course is a challenge.

"It's one of the hardest courses I've ever played for the short length it is," he said.

Sloping fairways, trees, and the narrowness of the course make it especially difficult.

He's played other courses ---- Tory Pines in San Diego, Rancho Santa Fe, Highland Springs in Springfield, and, of course, Pinnacle.

Beck said the Holiday Island course is good in terms of being well-maintained for the budget allowed.

"Mark (Mowrey, golf superintendent) does a good job. It's hard to grow grass in the shade, and he's done a good job of it."

Beck's plans for Holiday Island include offering golf clinics for ladies and private lessons for anyone who wants them.

"I like teaching the game," he said. "I like to see the improvements in people."

Beck would like to offer an open tournament once a year, also, inviting all levels of players, from those really good to beginners, to take part. He says it's a way to let people know that Holiday Island is here and what it has to offer.

"It would be a definite revenue source for the district," he said. "Maybe it could attract people to buy lots at Holiday Island."

There are two courses at Holiday Island, an 18-hole layout in the main development, and a 9-hole course on The Island. Both have plenty of elevations and turns to challenge even the most determined golfer.

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