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Craguns 2017

Travel Club
June 22, 2017

Briggs Woods Golf Course - Webster City Briggs It On!
By Eric N. Hart


As active General Managers go, Russ Appel is among the hardest to keep up with, and he's always very much in demand. Webster City is a small town, and Russ seems to know everyone, and if he doesn't, well he's trying his best to. Twenty-four years at one course, in this case Briggs Woods, will do that to you. "I never thought I'd be here more than 5 years, but once I bought in I couldn't leave. And every year has gotten better. We're close to having the course right where we want it, our packages are growing and improving, our regulars are multiplying. This course has become home or home away from home for many golfers. At a time when so many other courses are cutting back, we're moving forward." And that doesn't go unnoticed in town, where the overflow business is booming as well. The General Manager at the Executive Inn (one of the Stay & Play partners) and the owner of the neighboring Seneca Street Saloon (a popular sports bar) both noticed the dramatic surge in activity. Larry Ross (the owner of the Seneca Street Saloon) was quick to praise Russ and his ambitious plans, all of which he has watched come to fruition. To modestly paraphrase... "He does what he says he'll do, which is significant... (Considering) he always has a lot to say. (Laughs) Everyone loves Russ! We all wish more people were that reliable."

There were no major changes made to the course this year, as Russ stated, "No major improvements were really needed." They've increased mowing and maintenance with a steadier cash flow from a larger pool of golfers. They've cleared some brush and taken down the tree on 16 affectionately described as "the course menace." It now stands sentry as a tall stump soon to be carved into a wilderness themed totem pole of sorts. "So many people have a history with that tree, we just couldn't get rid of it altogether. So now it will be a memorial, a tribute, something to smile at as you pass it." (Instead of cursing it or throwing clubs at it.) I know that tree well, and won't miss it. In its case, change is a good thing.

Perhaps the biggest change to Briggs Woods this year was not even an on course change. Definitely not a personnel change (awesome personable staff). Sure, they've added a large hospitality tent and increased their clubhouse serving capacity, even making some noticeable complementary enhancements in decorations. All of those things are significant and great. And they're still partnered/packaged up with the three hotels in town, the aforementioned Executive Inn, the Super 8 and the AmericInn... providing the same high value Stay & Play steals. That remains the same.

No, THE change this year, is one that traveling golfers have been asking for and waiting for years. This year, Briggs Woods opens its Legacy Cabin, a brand new cabin located on the lakeside camping park adjacent to the course. The LegacyCabin is fully furnished and equipped for any guys (or girls) golf trip, with comfortable sleeping for up to 15 people. Two bedrooms and a spacious loft surround a wide-open living area, which will begin, or carry-over, the social atmosphere sure to be found on the course. Appel beamed, "We're in a beautiful area, right on the lake. People love camping around here, and many of those people golf here. We're just upgrading the options we can provide. It's been in high demand. We're thrilled to finally meet that demand!"

Briggs Woods, at the northernmost site on the Iowa Golf Trail, is a tough test, a tight and testy par 72 just over 6,500 yards. You have to know your game and play contained to score well here. Russ explains, "There is a smart, logical approach to every hole out here, and many of them do not involve the driver. This is a course that doesn't care how long you are. It's more about how smart you are." (A number of people at Harvard just started Googling "Briggs Woods.") But there's more to it than smarts. The first hole is as mental an obstacle as you'll face on the entire course. Par is awesome! The popular stretch of holes from 13-16 typically separates the veterans from the rookies, as there is definitely a right and a wrong way to play those holes. Make sure you take time to enjoy the beautiful 13th, many a golfer's favorite hole on the course.

Briggs Woods is the "Gateway to Iowa Golf" from Minnesota (just off I35). "We proudly open the door to the rest of the great courses on this trail," Appel says warmly. "Come stay with us, play with us, and begin your Iowa Golf Trail adventure right here. We'd love to have you!"





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