Arkansas doesn’t have a shortage of unusual town names. There’s Fifty-Six, Pickles Gap, Greasy Corner and Goobertown, but you will always get people’s attention when you mention Toad Suck.

In 2012, FindMyPast.com surveyed its users in seven English speaking countries and asked them to pick the “most embarrassing or unfortunate town name” from a short list of American towns. Toad Suck came out on top, beating out other heavy contenders such as Monkey’s Eyebrow, Belchertown and Hooker.  (For some perspective on the entries, Hell and Intercourse didn’t even make the top 10.) So we’re seriously famous now.

Those of us who have grown up in these parts and are familiar with Toad Suck probably don’t give the name a second thought. But for someone traveling through Arkansas on I-40, the sign for Toad Suck Park can be entertaining enough to make them pull over and snap a selfie next to it to amuse their friends and post on on social media.

 

With Toad Suck Daze right here in Faulkner county, it’s high time you learned how this little bend in the Arkansas River came to be named Toad Suck so that you can impress your friends with this trivia.

A Google search provided several sources of information. Not all of them are reliable but at least they’re entertaining.

Spoiler #1: The jury is still out as to the definitive history of the origin of Toad Suck.

Spoiler #2: It has nothing to do with consuming amphibians as the name would have you think.

The most popular and most colorful legend says that when barges that traveled up and down the Arkansas River, it was not uncommon for them to run aground at this location when the water level got too low. (It’s true. This spot on the Arkansas River had been described more than once as “six inches deep and half a mile wide.”)

To pass the time, the captains and crew often frequented the saloon that was just up the hill and drank themselves silly. (Kudos to the enterprising entrepreneur who conveniently built a tavern there.)  The locals were aghast at the sight of the drunken sailors who had “sucked on the bottle until they were swollen up like toads.” Hence the name.

But that explanation seems too easy.

Because the early French explorers left their influence across much of Arkansas (Petit Jean and Ozark from “Aux Arc” are prime examples), there is speculation that the name Toad Suck is a corruption of some sort of French phrase. However, just exactly what phrase is still up for debate. Some suggestions are “eau d’sucre” which means sweet water, or “chateau d’sucre” or “taudis sucre” meaning house of sugar, possibly referencing either the rum that was consumed at the tavern, or perhaps the sugar cane and sorghum that were grown on the banks nearby, or the barn or outbuildings used to store the cane and sorghum harvest.

Actually, the theory that probably makes the most sense has to do with river terminology. There’s a somewhat obscure river term for a protected eddy along a riverbank called a “suck.” When the river recedes, frogs and tadpoles can be easily seen in that shallow water at the river’s edge. It wouldn’t be too far-fetched to imagine a riverboat captain hollering at his crew to try to avoid that “toad suck” over yonder when they were in danger of running aground. Old maps also show areas called “bear suck” and a “cow suck” so apparently that was a fairly common descriptor back in the day.

And there you have it. While the mystery of how Toad Suck got its name hasn’t been conclusively solved, we have a memorable town name and some quirky stories to explain it away.

Author

Sandra Carter is passionate about all things Arkansas. Her website, www.thearkansasnative.com, is a labor of love and a work in progress where she shares her pride in The Natural State. Although Sandra wasn’t actually born in Arkansas, she got here as fast as she could. Follow Arkansas Native on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest.

You can find more interesting blogs about Conway at conwayscene.com

If you’re a confident golfer, you might be tempted to challenge your friends to a round of putt putt golf. Golfers are great at putt putt, right? You might even begin to wonder – can playing mini golf make you an even better putter?

Mini golf is a popular pastime for many people who have never even picked up a golf club. That doesn’t mean they can sink their ball in one stroke the first time they play on a course. The skills are not exactly parallel. In fact, some golfers might worry that playing can harm their golf game.

How it Hurts

While it seems like good practice, the conditions on a putt putt course are very different from real greens. The speed of fake grass is nothing like actual grass. Don’t be surprised if real putting makes your mini game worse, and vice versa.

In addition, your putter at home will be significantly better quality than the mass-made cheap neon putters used in putt putt. Your putter and the mini golf club are weighted very differently. You’ll have to make some adjustments when you switch between them.

Also note the putt putt balls are not Titleists, or anything close.

To combat these issues, do some practice putts on the practice greens at the course before you play 9 or 18 holes. You should reset your swing to be for your club and for the real grass.

How it Helps

While you might need to make some adjustments to your swing when you switch between golfs, mini golf can teach you some valuable skills that you can apply to your course game.

Playing mini golf requires a lot of strategy, mainly in analyzing the slope of the putt putt course and the obstacles. This can assist you in analyzing the slope of the greens and strategizing for your long game. You will become a better analyst of golf course positioning if you’re used to playing the “mini version.”

If anything, you may find that by practicing regular putting you will get better at mini golf. Ensure that your skills are first and foremost suited for the real golf greens. After that, note how your practice on the course translates. Once you’ve practiced real course putting extensively, invite your friends out to mini golf. You’ll blow them all out of the water.

Playing mini golf is also a great way to get your children to participate in your sport. If you want to raise the next Tiger Woods, read How to Get Your Kids Into Golf.

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