JOHNSTON CITY -- One of the jewels of Southern Illinois sits quietly next to the Ken Gray Expressway section of Interstate 57, just off Exit 59.
Accessible only by a narrow gravel road that winds among native trees and grasses, Jansco's Stardust Golf Course was designed by George Jansco, debuting in 1968.
The 9-hole, par 36-course features 2,972 yards of golf. It has a course rating of 35 and slope rating of 129.
Although its designer passed away shortly after it opened, the course has remained in family hands for over half a century, passing to George's children, JoAnn (Jansco) McNeal and Jan Jansco.
Today, it is run by JoAnn, her husband, Dave McNeal, and Jan's widow, Sue.
"It's a family venture," said JoAnn.
It's also a place steeped in history.
The walls are filled with memorabilia and the counter is a treasure trove of still more magazines and news clippings from the family archives.
"Let me show you something," said Dave, who pulled out copies of Billiards Digest and a Chicago Tribune special section featuring stories of the legendary pool tournaments held at the "Showbar," also owned by the Jansco family, which was home to pool tournaments featuring the likes of Rudolf Wanderone, also known as Minnesota Fats, and Willie Mosconi.
That tournament, run by George and his brother, Paulie, even made appearances in Sports Illustrated and with Jim McKay on ABC's Wide World of Sports.
Dave also showed off his "Wall of Fame," featuring pool players and athletes from a variety of collegiate and professional sports, as well as local celebrities.
"See right here," said Dave, pointing to a photo on the top of four rows covering a wall in the clubhouse. "That's me and Jeanette Lee."
Lee is a top pool player known as the "Black Widow."
"And here," said Dave, "that's me and Ashley Hatfield, Miss Illinois."
The wall also features autographed sports photos of the likes of NFL great Johnny Unitas interspersed with local athletes like Dhana Wheeler and TJ Wheeler.
George Jansco was an athlete, achieving success in minor league baseball, with good major league scouting prospects, when he made the decision to return home to become an entrepreneur.
Along with the Showbar and the Stardust Golf Course, the family also owned the J & J Ranch, just north of Johnston City.
It was there that one of the most popular items now at the golf course was born, the Sadie Burger, named after George's wife (JoAnn's mom).
Sue cooks up the popular burgers, averaging 20 or so a day, using the same techniques as her mother-in-law, Sadie (Lokotich) Jansco did at "the Ranch" decades ago.
"My mother started them," said JoAnn. "She bought beef trimmings herself and took them over to grandma's store and ground the meat herself."
Dave said when they began serving them at the golf course, he named them "Sadie Burgers."
"She was part of this place," he said. "We were making them here and it was better than just saying a hamburger."
According to Sue, it's all in the preparation.
"We patty them out by hand with fresh meat," she said.
While Dave jokingly alluded to "special secrets," both Sue and JoAnn said it's just fresh meat, cooked on the stove, but grilled up to order with a choice of fresh fixings, including grilled onions and even garden-fresh tomatoes in season.
The Sadie Burgers are a favorite with locals, who will gather for lunch in the clubhouse, as well as golfers coming in from the links.
Even the greenskeeper has a soft spot for the Sadie Burger.
James Gray of Marion has been helping with the course for about five years.
"I wouldn't do it if I didn't love these fine people," he said. "They are like my family. In fact, they treat me so well I keep their grass alive for them."
Gray, who also consults at the Franklin County Country Club and is the director of grounds at Rend Lake College, said he enjoys bringing his family to play at Stardust.
"It's a nice, low-key environment," he said. "You can get out there, have a good time and get a Sadie Burger when you're done."
Sue, JoAnn, and Dave say they have no plans to retire "just yet," but when they do, the Stardust will remain in family hands, passing to their own children.
They expect the Sadie Burger to continue to be just as popular.