Briggs Woods Golf Course – North Central Is ALL Right
By E. Nolan
HAMILTON COUNTY, IOWA: If you’re unfamiliar with the beauty of North Central Iowa, but interested in exploring it, I can think of few better origin points for your expedition than the Boone River Valley of Hamilton County, specifically the beautiful parks and recreation areas just outside Webster City, around Briggs Woods Golf Course.
This is a stay and play destination for all outdoor adventure seekers (especially golfers) and you can bring all your friends and family along to rough it (camp) or relax in comfort (luxury cabins), among 6,000 acres offering way more in amenities than “just golf.” What’s “way more?” Try: swim, hike, fish, bike, canoe, picnic plus eat, drink and games (for kids). How’s that for a hook? (Or a draw?) That’s Hamilton County life in a nutshell – 22 areas of public recreation.
But let’s say you are a golfer, golf group (or a family reunion), and you are looking to stay and play a little. Briggs Woods has seven cabins for your stay-cations, able to accommodate anywhere from four to fifteen people. Book ahead and you’re looking at comfortable accommodations near the golf course for only $20-$25 per person each night! How unbeatable is that?
THE COURSE: The best golf courses give you a little bit of everything in them. Briggs Woods gives you a LOT of everything – hills, trees, valleys, wide fairways, narrow fairways, long and short holes, ponds, creeks. The round starts out innocuously enough with a free-swinging wide-open Par 5, and most of the front holes are similarly generous. The second hole stands out as an anomaly, though, in that accuracy is important off the tee. It’s the kind of course that you want to play if you’re rusty, or really want to build your confidence. You can get very comfortable here, before you’re required to start dialing your game in.
The first time I played Briggs Woods I was one over par through nine and feeling like I’d found something in my game. “That’s great,” the former manager said at the turn – a slightly amused tone suggesting he knew something I didn’t. “The back is a little different,” he added, really emphasizing the word “little.” I wasn’t concerned… not in the least… chewing on a cookie. Well, the back nine chewed me up and spit me out like the clown did to the balls in Happy Gilmore. I could almost hear the course laughing at me.
With that description you may be thinking I didn’t like the back. Au contraire. I liked it even more. The back nine is loaded with intrigue, beautiful golf holes and some very hard to hit landing areas. I did appreciate the let-it-rip allowance of the first nine holes, but the better-think-it-through education of the back was (for me) even more rewarding. The 10th is a great little Par 3 heading out from the clubhouse. Easy enough.
And then you cross the road.
The rest of the way in every hole adds an architectural element absent from the previous hole. The website description of Hole 14 says, “Don’t be short, long, left or right and you’ll be okay” and I still feel like they left something out. “How’d the back nine go?” the manager asked. “Still one over par?”
“Kind of,” I replied, trying to marginalize my +9 back score. “On average.”
AND THERE’S MORE: Let’s say the cabins are fully booked (as is often the case) but you really want to visit. Briggs Woods offers Stay & Play packages with local hotels (The AmericInn and Super 8), with steals starting at $160 for a night and two unlimited days of golf (with cart). That’s part of their claim as “Iowa’s Greatest Golf Value.” That and their $21 (weekday) and $25 (weekend) rates. Briggs Woods also has a brand new state-of-the-art Conference Center – a full-service venue able to comfortably fit some 400 people in golf, corporate, wedding or other large groups – immediately off the golf course.
For its size, Webster City has a lot of different food options, including personal favorites like The Lunchbox Market, Taqueria La Bomba and my late night hangout – The Grid Iron Grill & Sports Bar. There’s a lot going on around you on and off the golf course, and many more reasons (beyond those listed) to visit for food, drinks and shopping.
True: Briggs Woods has been here for over 40 years and it’s quite possible you haven’t heard of it. Don’t read into that. Read into this: The best way to find out if you’ll like someplace “new” is to go there. And, if you’re lucky, one of those cabins might still be open on your date(s)!