Big Lake Country Club, located in Manila, is a great source of recreation for golfers in all towns across Buffalo Island. It is the only nine-hole golf course located between Jonesboro and Blytheville.
It was established in 1962 by a group of interested people. A meeting was held in the school cafeteria and the 30 to 35 people present donated $50 each to get it started.
The land for the golf course was donated by the late Blue Hoyt and later purchased by Adams Land Company. Adams donated the golf course to the City of Manila.
Big Lake has served the community for almost 50 years.
It is open all year, closing only two days, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Big Lake has a driving range and a clubhouse.
Several benefit tournaments are held each year, including the Wayne Taylor Memorial Scholarship Tournament, the Buffalo Island Veterans Memorial Golf Tournament and others. Big Lake also hosts a member-guest tournament, a parent-child tournament and a Bill Clark Memorial tournament.
Big Lake also works with area high schools by allowing the course to be used by high school golf teams for practice and tournaments. Area young people learning the game of golf through the First Tee Program also use the course.
Through Big Lake Country Club residents from across Buffalo Island have become friends.
The club manager is Dwayne Gauf. Employees in the clubhouse include Linda Cherry and Donnie Moore.
Ronald Jones is the Greenskeeper. Also working on the outside are Kenneth Holt and Robert Trammel.
Jones said the greens are good this year, but it has taken a lot of water.
Big Lake has a full schedule with stag night with scramble, couples night, Par 3 scramble, night ball, Scotch, mixed pairs, Labor Day Scramble, Club Championship, Ladies' Round Robin, and more.
The club hosts parties on several occasions, including Halloween, New Year's Eve, and Christmas.
The clubhouse is also available to rent for private parties or receptions for $250.