True greens, picturesque tee blocks, plenty of water and sand traps as well as a number of challenging holes that make you think greeted our group on the back 9 at Brown Deer. I've been driving by this course for a few years and finally had a chance to play this week - I'm bummed I waited this long to play!
A great course located just over the hill from downtown Coralville. The front nine is relatively wide open, but has a number of holes that make you think and is upkept as well as any course I've played. The back nine is equally impressive, but with a much more difficult layout. Some great holes have severe doglegs where placement is really important - nothing like the Amana course for those from the area, but a nice change from a completely open course.
The rates are fantastic early in the season with 9 holes for $15 when you walk as well as $26 for 18. They've got early bird and late start rates as well.
Overall, this is a solid course that's got a nice layout, isn't super long (6300 from the tips) and will make you think about many of your shots. It's a small step up from a three star course given the character of the holes, but it's a ways from a 5 star course given the limitations since it's located in a city. Well worth your time if you're looking for a fun round on a sunny afternoon.
Let me first say that if the only golf you are used to is the golf that surrounds Iowa City than this course rates higher than 3 stars. That said, I have played all over the US, and this course is a very nice three-star course, but nothing more. Here are my thoughts:
Clubhouse: First impressions are nice from the parking lot. Clean on the outside, but confusing as to where to go. The sign pointing us to the pro shop, actually led us to conference rooms upstairs instead. Once we found the pro shop, again, nice. Medium in size. Lots of equipment to look at and try out.
Driving Range: Yes, and located right next to the pro shop. +1. Grass boxes to hit off of, and away from any holes that players might be playing on.
Practice Green: Again, good. Roughly 6 holes to putt on. Not much in regards to undulation, but enough slope to practice some benders before you go out.
Course: Basically you have two different 9's. The front 9 is pretty much a links style course right now. In time the trees will grow into it, but they are a non-factor right now. The day we were playing it was windy as can be and made for a big challenge. Really like the look of the 1st hole. Risk v Reward as to whether try to clear the creek or lay up. The back 9 winds you through a subdivision and it is full of trees on both sides of the fairways. It can be tight in some places, so accuracy is a must back there. Fairways were beat up a little bit, but it was late in the season, so I won't hold that against them too much. Leaves were a problem on the back nine as well, but again, late in the season, so it should be expected. Greens were ok. Nothing special. All in all, a nice run that I did enjoy. If pressed, I would say the signature holes are 1, 17 and 18. 17 is a par 3 downhill to a green that is covered from the back tee box. Hit the club the distance you think it is, then watch the ball disappear and hope you are right. Beautiful view from the tee box is an added bonus. 18 is a sweet, hard dogleg right. The longest of hitters can clear the pond, but most are better off laying up to the left and hitting an iron into the green.
Staff: Everyone we came across was friendly. Where I think this course lacks a higher rating from me though is the fact that there is no starter, no bag attendant, and no one around to offer to clean clubs after the round. These are things that do take a club from good to great.
Food: I did stop in the bar between 9's to grab a bite. Brat was not good quality. Preparation was fine, just a poor product to begin with. Girls inside were nice and the prices were decent.
Overall: I only get out to IC roughly once a year and then only play probably 2 round when there. I don't see myself going back to Brown Deer for a couple of years. There are other course that I want to try out, and there are other courses that I know are better. This course has some promise though and I would recommend it to a friend if asked.
This is one of my favorite golf courses (in Iowa).
It is both challenging & fun!
The course is always in good shape (back 9 has leaf issues on some holes, but not major) & the greens are in good condition.
I would like to see more trees on the front 9, but that will come with age (only 5-6 years old).
If you're looking to take someone new to the area or that is visiting, this is the course to go to. Great course for the average golfer at a good rate!
This is a really nice course and is fun to play, nice challenge for the average golfer, they have a nice pro shop there and and great pub and grill there as well.