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Craguns 2017

Travel Club
July 22, 2017

Briggs Woods Golf Course - True Value
Briggs Woods #13
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Briggs Woods #13
Legacy Cabin
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Legacy Cabin
By E. Nolan

We could start a raging debate with just this one article about the best values in golf. I don't want to do that, but I do want to talk about legitimate golf value. To some, Pebble Beach at $10K a round would still be an incredible value. But most of us aren't Bill Gates, what's his Facebook, or Tiger Woods. Most of us have 3.5 kids, a mortgage, a semi-functional car and braces (or root canals) to pay for... so we tend to think of basic golf value as cart, beer, food, service and golf for under $100. (The further under the better.)

We become more impressed when there's a variety of cold beverages, the food is exceptionally good, the carts are relatively new, the beverage cart attendants are attentive and attractive and the golf is above par (since most of us are never under par). When all of those aspects exist in one place we've found "true value" and it gets exponentially more or less valuable based on the degree to which those aspects please us.

Welcome to Briggs Woods in Webster City, Iowa - the "Gateway to Iowa Golf" (just off I35) and highly touted "Best Value in The State." Now... it's easy for me to say I have the best looking kids in the world (which I do), but when everyone says the same thing about their own kids it diminishes every other parents claim. Statistically speaking we can't all be right - and there are some darn ugly kids - but that's not my point. The claim about our kids is only truly validated when other people start making that claim about our kids.

Translate that to golf. It would be logical for people to dismiss the claim of Briggs Woods (being the "best value") if it were just their manager or employees saying it. But when it's an entire community making the claim AND they have cold beer, quality food and lodging options nearby, friendly good-looking service, high-end golf carts and a diverse blend of golf holes... well then there's definitely truth to the claim. (You get to apply the appropriate exponent.)

I already know what General Manager Russ Appel believes about his home turf for the past 26 years, but I also know that he refused to self-promote in ALL of my conversations with him because he wanted the golf experience at Briggs Woods to speak for itself. But courses don't tend to speak very loudly - so someone has to say it for them or people will drive right by. Golf Digest spoke up for Briggs Woods. They pulled in and stamped their 4-Star Seal of Approval on the club - placing it firmly in the upper echelon of Iowa golf courses in their prestigious book or ratings.

I did further research so as to not mislead an audience of hungry golfers seeking something "NEW"... something "VALUABLE." The value of the Briggs Woods golf experience is certainly enhanced by its surroundings - resting in the beautiful Boone River Valley of Hamilton County. Not only does the course have rivers and lakes, hills and plains, trees and fast greens, but it has an out-of-town solitude, a down-home charm, and summer camp vibrancy. It is in an outdoor enthusiast's sanctuary, with 5.7 miles of bike trails, 26 miles of floatable river, hundreds of campsites, rental cabins, playgrounds, a beach, amphitheater, and motorboat accessible lakes. (Even 4,000 acres of hunting grounds for the dual threat golf and gunsmith.) Those particular amenities - in the immediate vicinity of the golf course - tells you about the topography - about the genuine natural beauty. All of those elements enhance the value of a round in my book. (How about yours?)

But what about the course itself? As part of the Hamilton County Park and Recreational system the maintenance is top rate. At just over 6,500 yards (Par 72) it is not beastly long but it definitely has teeth. "You must play a careful intelligent game," Russ says. "Driver is not always wise off the tee and you'll need that iron (you just threw in the lake) later."

I like this guy. I like this course - especially the 13th hole (quite possibly my favorite). Turns out almost everyone says the same. (So much for originality.) I could go home quite satisfied, but I don't because I've heard the value of the Briggs Woods experience goes up when you combine it with a night in town. Their Stay & Play packages, starts with their Legacy Cabin that sleeps up to 15 and extends to local hotels - especially the Unlimited and Signature deals - greatly increase what you get for your money here - especially for golf groups. Throw in a fabulous dinner at the Seneca Street Saloon (popular Sports Bar) and I can dig the claims of the incredible value.

I've mentioned "value" a dozen times in this article. Stay & Play here sometime and you'll likely feel I should have said it more.

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