Tee Times Magazine Travel Club – Iowa
Tee Times Magazine Travel Club Iowa section brings you interesting articles from many of the areas Minnesota and Wisconsin golfers frequent. Here you will find hot topics and reviews from Iowa.
There’s a course in southern Minnesota, less than 100 miles from the Twin Cities, that resonates with me in a way few other courses in the state do. Having taken architecture classes from the course’s primary designer, Garrett Gill (and John Schmenk) I’ve always felt personally invested in its success.
As we head into 2023 and the 20th Anniversary of the Tournament Club of Iowa, many improvements are underway both on the golf course and the clubhouse that we feel will enhance your golf and dining experience.
Just over 3 hours from the Twin Cities, the City of Ankeny’s Otter Creek Golf Course amazes visitors with destination course qualities. The combination of links style course design, excellent conditions, friendly service, and great practice facility make Otter Creek a perfect choice for players looking for a memorable round of golf.
Nestled in the heart of North Central Iowa, Briggs Woods Public Golf Course is “perfectly positioned overlooking the pristine Boone River Valley of Hamilton County.”
Carved from a 500-acre white oak forest, this 18-hole championship golf course design conforms beautifully to the natural setting. Diverse wildlife and panoramic views from breathtaking elevation changes make the experience magical.
You’ve played the course. We all have. The course begging for a tweak here or flip there. We’re all experts as golfers, especially when our ball ends up in a particularly unplayable spot. It’s not our fault… it’s the architect’s, the manager’s, the superintendent’s. “This hole could be so much better if…” and “Who in their right mind puts a tree there?”
Every summer for a decade I’ve driven back and forth, from the Twin Cities to Des Moines for business, and every year I almost drive off the road when I pass through Ankeny.
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.
Everyone is setting records. “2020 was the best (golf) year ever,” they say. “And 2021 was even better.” “Not necessarily,” Stephen Kahler of Kahler Golf Management tells me, noting the game itself was responsible for THIS boom (not just one individual – Tiger).
Some golf course names don’t seem to fit their property. Others, like the Tournament Club of Iowa, are boldly (but aptly) named.
The opportunity is too good to pass up, and yet hundreds to thousands of people literally do it each day. It has to just gnaw at them – the golf-loving commuters anything like me.
“We had the biggest influx of Minnesota golfers last year, of any year. You could call it overflow, given how close we are to the state line, and how packed the courses up north were, but there’s also something to be said for the ‘escape factor’ we provide.
There’s a certain excitement to playing a golf course you loved long ago but haven’t been back to since. Such an anticipatory surge had taken over the drive to Amana Colonies.
Iowa deserves some love on America’s “Top 100 PUBLIC Golf Course” lists – a fact that would likely go unchallenged among the state’s 250,000 golfers. But… which course? For my money, and I’ve said this for years, the club that most deserves inclusion is the Tournament Club of Iowa.
The less good things change, the more good things stay the same. “We really haven’t made many changes lately,” Head Golf Professional Curt Ingham acknowledges, (not since the massive, multi-million dollar 2009 Paul Miller renovation) and I know that, but that fact is saying something on its own.
There are 22 public recreation areas in Hamilton County, Iowa, managed by the Hamilton County Conservation Board, with tons of open, green acreage for you to explore. One of those is Briggs Woods Park and golf course with 18 greens for you to explore.
“Hidden Gem.” What else would you call it? Year after year I give it the same moniker, in local and national stories. Why? Why not? It’s true. Amana Colonies is hidden. Amana Colonies is a gem.
I miss Arnold Palmer, and how could I not. Meeting him, listening to him, watching him… each opportunity left me wanting more opportunities. I have similar feelings when I play golf courses I love.