Big Lake Country Club
Big Lake Country Club in Manila has a 50+ year history of serving golfers of all ages and skills. The nine hole golf course was established in 1962 and has continued to thrive as a great source of recreation for golfers in all towns across Buffalo Island and the surrounding area.
It started with an idea and a vision by a small group of people. The land was donated by the late Blue Hoyt with BC Land Co. Later, the land was purchased by Adams Land Company, and Boe Adams donated the golf course to the City of Manila.
Bob White, former Manila High School golf coach, holds the status of being the oldest winner of the club championship and Trey DePriest, Buffalo Island Central senior, holds the title of being among the youngest to take the top club title.
White won the club championship two weeks before his 71st birthday in 2009. DePriest won the title in 2015.
"He won it with a better score than I did," White said. "He can beat me anytime."
White went on to praise Big Lake for its excellent course and sharing the facilities with local high school teams giving them the opportunity to learn and excel in the game.
"Many young golfers who started right here at Big Lake Country Club have been able to receive college scholarships to play after high school," White said. "Big Lake also has started giving scholarships to area graduates."
White said to his knowledge, there have been seven high school state championships come out of Manila Buffalo Island Central High School teams.
During White's 15 years as coach of the Manila High School team they won eight conference championships, two state championships and two state runners-up championships.
White admits he learned from the young players. White signed a contract to coach basketball at Manila High School and then was told golf would be one of his duties.
"I had never picked up a golf club," White said.
More than learning the game, he learned to love the game and he still plays on a regular basis.
Buffalo Island Central high school team has won three state championships and one state runner-up title over the last four years.
"These kids may not have had the opportunity to learn the game or the practice needed if it had not been for Big Lake Country Club," White said. "It also draws people into the area from all around. Big Lake offers memberships or visitors can play by paying green fees. The course is always very well kept."
White said it is an asset to the community.
"It is the nicest nine hole course of any town our size I know of, and I have been to a lot of them," he said. "It is a beautiful place. We take a lot of things for granted, but we are fortunate and our school teams are fortunate to have Big Lake. Also, they have the best cooks in the country. Once a month there is a meal and it is always good. Charity tournaments are held at Big Lake Country Club along with other tournaments."
DePriest, who has been an outstanding golfer throughout his high school career, was very young when he started golfing with his dad at Big Lake Country Club.
"Big Lake has played a key role for me," DePriest said. "This is where I started. I like the course, it is always kept in good shape year round. We can focus on what we need to improve our game. I have made many friends here and they have encouraged me."
DePriest said he plans to continue his golf at the college level at Henderson State.