Brooks Golf Club – Truly Great Lakes Golf
By E. Nolan
The Iowa Great Lakes are a fisher’s heaven, a boater’s dream come true and many a vacationer’s home away from home. Located only 100 miles from Sioux Falls, 110 miles from Sioux City, and less than 200 miles from both Des Moines AND the Twin Cities, the twin Okoboji lakes and Spirit Lake draw a crowd of thrill seekers daily, and two crowds every summer day.
The common denominator among most fishing people, many boaters and a majority of vacationers in general is a love for golf. With millions of people pouring into north central Iowa over a summer, good golf is going to be in extremely high demand and GREAT golf even higher. That is where Brooks Golf Club comes in. Not only is it the top-rated public course in the Iowa Great Lakes Region, but it has 27 holes – an extra nine holes of space for the busiest of days and the most passionate of golfers.
Brooks Golf Club recently added aerial photography to their website, and that picture of the lake proximity and stunning landscape tells at least a thousand words. In fact, if you put that picture on this page without any words at all I’d want to go play it. Brooks Golf Club doesn’t need a golf writer to sell it. It just needs experience – YOUR experience. It needs you and more people to find out about it. It needs you to check it out on your next trip to the Okoboji/Spirit Lake area. This is the only course in the Iowa Great Lakes that I play every year. Yes, the golf is fantastic, but Brooks is more than that. The staff and service here are superb. The course conditioning is typically flawless. The amount of water around the course can make some areas wetter than others with heavy rains, but this place has 27 holes, and therefore has the ability to adapt to the conditions and still give you a sensational 18-hole championship golf experience every day. In fact, the golfers who come here regularly like to mix it up – play different nines in different orders – give themselves a handful of different playing experiences.
Brooks Golf Club is one of Iowa’s most historic courses – opened in 1932 as an 18-hole course designed by Val Brooks. Over the decades it has hosted more than its fair share of luminaries… from Sam Snead to Walter Hagen and Babe Didrikson Zaharias. It’s hosted the Iowa Open, U.S. Senior Amateur qualifying, attained a 4.5 star rating from Golf Digest and (for the past three years) been ranked among the Top 5 Courses in Iowa by Golfweek. The course was expanded to 27 holes in 1995 and has remained at the head of the Iowa Golf Class ever since. The pros and experts, they know about Brooks Golf Club. I’m contending, that with everything else the Iowa Great Lakes have to offer (including the family magnet – Arnold’s Park) this place should be even MORE well known.
Brooks Golf Club is divided into three nines – the Blue, the White and the Yellow nines. While the White is my personal favorite, I wouldn’t think of coming here without playing all three sets. I like to start on the Yellow because it has the most forgiving opener (although I did put one in the pond last time). Yellow plays over and around a lot of water – with water (or wetlands) technically in play on every hole but #6 – but its fairways are mostly wide and forgiving, and other than #4 you can score good on every hole.
I like to play the Blue set next. Nine holes in, I’m as comfortable with my swing as I’m going to get. I can handle the tight tee shots and long iron precision. I can maximize the tunnel vision among the many tunnels of trees and shoot a really good score, long as I don’t put one in the pond protecting the #2 green. The Blue nine is a serene set – a parkland journey made completely of Val Brooks’ original holes.
I save the White for last because it is my favorite. It requires Blue’s precision on some holes and Yellow’s length on others. I think it is the perfect mix of the best of Brooks Golf Club and when people tell me they only have time for nine I always tell them to play White. #5 White is my favorite hole of all 27… a picturesque par 3 over water to a rather sensitive green. Fun and beautiful, that’s 5 White. Then again, that’s all of Brooks Golf Club. A lot of beauty. A lot of fun.
Brooks Golf Club partners with several local resorts to provide great value Stay & Play packages, and completes a good golf day with great food at the on-site Brooks Pub.