After selling his farm-equipment business in 1972, Dale W. Brady sought the counsel of his three sons to determine what should be done with the 200-acre plot of land originally used for testing out his new products. The three resolved to turn their land into a golf course. After a test green survived the winter and they earned the blessing of the region?s lawn-mower king, son Tom devised a layout from an aerial drawing and the team set to work, sculpting the rugged earth and opening the course in August 1973. A family-run enterprise ever since, the course bobs and weaves over 6,224 yards of rolling terrain that feature sparse tree lines, water hazards in play on five holes, and scenic views of the verdant landscape.
Since its relatively humble beginnings, Toad Valley Golf Course has grown to include a full-length driving range and the Field of Greens Mini Links, an 18-hole miniature-golf course that challenges players with realistic putting surfaces, including bunkers, water hazards, and contoured greens. The range?s grass tees offer practice on an organic surface similar to course conditions, and the putting surfaces emulate the tricky slopes of real greens and even include rough, sand traps, and water features that add to the scenery and allow putters to bob for wayward golf balls.
Course at a Glance:
18-hole, par 71 course
Length of 6,224 yards from the farthest tees
Course rating of 69.1 from the farthest tees
Slope rating of 114 from the farthest tees
Four tee options
Link to scorecard
Since 1964, Terrace Hills Golf Course has invited golfers of all abilities to send balls soaring between the trees lining each of its 18 fairways. Though relatively short at 6,421 yards from the back tees, plenty of hazards lurk throughout the terrain, ready to spoil any oncomer's overconfidence. Water confronts play on eight of the holes, including holes 3, 4, 12, and 13, where a stream snakes its way through the course and enervates golfers by forcing them to play "Marco Polo" with lost balls. Terrace Hills promises golfers a free round on their next visit if their rounds take longer than 4.5 hours when they have tee times on weekdays before 2 p.m. and weekends or holidays.
Course at a Glance:
18-hole, par 71 course
Total length of 6,421 yards from the back tees
Course rating of 68.8 from the back tees
Course slope of 116 from the back tees
Three sets of tees per hole
Des Moines Driving Range stretches out 5,000 square feet of grass tee area for golfers to tinker with drivers, irons, and wedges. Marked flags protrude from the elevated greens and shake with each passing wind gust to offer a realistic target for aiming golfers. In addition to an expansive driving range, the training spot accommodates short games with three chipping greens and three putting greens. The range opens its doors all week from 8:30 a.m. until dark.
Sleepy Hollow Sports Park sprawls over 80 acres of fields and slopes buzzing with a variety of year-round activities, from go-karts and bumper boats to downhill sledding. The team puts together two 5K races throughout the year: the Mud Run and Beer Run. During these meticulously constructed events, Sleepy Hollow will pit runners against manmade obstacles and natural obstacles.
Being an Iowa-based company, Sleepy Hollow supports more than 300 groups annually, providing funding for causes ranging from local schools to cancer research. The park also serves as the permanent residence of the annual Des Moines Renaissance Faire and Haunted Scream Park.
Countryside Golf Course's 18-hole layout rolls across 6,366 yards of the Iowa countryside, but it's the first 574 yards that immediately catch golfers' attention. The course challenges players from the moment they stake their tree slivers into the soil of the first tee box, where they look out onto the course's hardest-rated hole: a 574-yard par 5 that doglegs to the right towards a green guarded by sand and water on either side. The difficult opener sets the tone for the rest of the course, where water comes into play on seven holes—six on the front nine—and all but one hole features at least one greenside bunker.
After their round, players who have not spoiled their appetite by grazing on the course's lush bent grass can head toward the clubhouse for a post-round meal or drink. At the wooden u-shaped bar, guests can crack open a beer and refuel with hot dogs and sandwiches.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole course * Bent grass fairways and greens * Length of 6,366 yards from the farthest tees * Three tee options * Link to scorecard
West Grand Golf houses a golf-practice center, an accolade-garnering mini-golf course, and a traditional driving range where Groupon-holders can use their buckets of balls during multiple visits. The well-designed practice center helps golfers tweak their short games on large putting and chipping greens surrounded by sand bunkers that devour misfired dimpled balls and rogue cacti. Thanks to the laser-measured target greens, clubheads can test how far and accurately they can tee off on a variety of even and uneven tees nestled in fairway- and sand-based conditions. West Grand Golf also illuminates the expansive range with stadium lighting, perfect for those who enjoy practicing before bedtime or members of the PGA tour's vampire league.