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Travel Club
July 22, 2017

Brooks Golf Club - One Sweet Round
By E. Nolan

There's a bright yellow hangar building southwest of the Twin Cities (just off Highway 169, in Jordan) that hosts Minnesota's Largest Candy Store. It opens Memorial Day Weekend and is packed with customers every single day through Halloween. (An incredibly sweet place!) I know this because my wife, kids and I stop there each and every year on our way to and from the Iowa Great Lakes (the vacation hub around Spirit Lake and Okoboji, Iowa) - home to another really sweet place: Brooks Golf Club.

Brooks Golf Club is at the heart of "Iowa's Brainerd" (only 150 miles past that massive candy store) and with 27 great holes of golf on-site, is essentially The Pines at Grand View Lodge without the actual Grand View Lodge. Oh, there are plenty of incredible places to stay on Spirit Lake and Lake Okoboji, but you can pick and choose your combo there - from budget to beach - get as close to the water as you want. In case you're interested (for comparative purposes) it's 130 miles to Brainerd from Minneapolis... so maybe it's time to consider taking a family vacation the "other way" this year. Go check out the beauty and best of lakeside golf just across the Iowa state line. Go check out Brooks Golf Club.

Our family stays near Brooks Golf Club and we play there every year, always bringing new people to experience the impressiveness, and shaking up the order of nines each time. I mentioned there are three nines (The Blue, The Yellow, and The White) and after a dozen or so different arrangements, I still couldn't tell you which 18 or 27-hole order I prefer. The true greatness is in the diversity of each set, essentially only short-changing you if you don't play them all. There are other fun tracks to pair with Brooks around the lakes, but it's the manager, John, (specifically) and his staff that keeps bringing me back to Brooks, because I know the conditions of the course will always be stellar and the personable service will leave me wanting nothing more. Drive up to drive off, Brooks takes care of their guests, and the golf in between is extremely gratifying. But, don't just take my word for it - Golfweek ranks Brooks Golf Club as a Top 5 Course in Iowa, and (for years) Brooks has been the only 4.5 Star Golf Digest Course in the entire Lakes area. The club's prestige is only further highlighted by its history, with the likes of Sam Snead and Walter Hagen having formerly made their way over to play.

Those truths provide the intrigue. I'll provide the tour (of the "The Nines").

The Blue: Left as Val Brooks designed it, (part of the "Original 18" holes) Blue makes remarkable use of a beautiful parcel of forest land, weaving the player back and forth around and over some small ponds. Holes 2 and 6 are particularly fun, and accuracy definitely takes precedence over length on this nine.

The Yellow: Providing an extremely challenging set of tee shots, with daunting swings at 1, 3, 4, 5 and 8, the Yellow will test both your accuracy and your length, with as many as six "Signature" holes, and water seemingly everywhere. Better bring your "A" game to this super, fun set!

The White: This nine has the most modern feel in its design. It begins with a romp along the "original" Brooks holes, then breaks out into a set of Links-style holes with some dramatic mounding, water carries and elevation changes. Because of the panoramic expanses provided off many tees, and at least five "Signature" holes, this tends to be considered the most photo-worthy of the nines.

The diversity of the three nines makes a day of play here plenty value-rich on its own, but Brooks offers many other deals throughout the year to further entice (like FREE GOLF for Moms on Mother's Day)! They also host a good number of large groups and events, with customizable options that 18-hole tracks can't provide and great food and drinks served at Rabab's, overlooking the first tee. There are some great "Fish & Golf" events held here throughout the year, and with such abundant water access and score-friendly golf holes, that complementary action makes perfect sense.

If you are coming down for a weekend, Brooks offers Stay & Play packages with Arrowwood Resort (adjacent the course) and the nearby options of Bridges Bay Resort (next to Arnold's Park and with their own water park), The Inn at Okoboji, and the AmericInn of Okoboji.

You don't have to have a sweet tooth to love golf. But you can get the best of both worlds at Brooks Golf Club in Okoboji, Iowa - "One Sweet Round."

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