Brooks Golf management agreement signed for 2019

Dickinson County Conservation has reached an agreement with Brooks Management LLC to run the former Brooks National Golf Club through 2019.

The management agreement received its final approval at the Dickinson County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday, April 2, and the Okoboji-based management company, owned by Rick Carlton, immediately takes over.

Carlton said the course will now be marketed as Brooks Golf, minus the “club” notation.

“It’s just a golf course for the community now,” he said. “We’re putting fun back into Brooks Golf. It’s going to be very family-oriented, a lot of new activities, a lot of new tournaments.”

Carlton was a former owner of Brooks Golf Club and was a part of originally protecting the land from development when it went up for sale in the early 2000s. He is pleased the conservation board now has possession of the land.

“The county taking possession is a wonderful thing, because now we can work with the county,” Carlton said. “We have extensive golf course management experience.”

He sees the course as a community amenity and plans to continue to work with the conservation board for programs such as Birding on the Green which helps the course keep up its Audubon certification.

Under Brooks Management, Brett Hetland will act as general manager as well as continuing in his duties as golf course superintendent. The course also will honor events already scheduled and is working on adding events throughout the summer.

Crazy Bob’s will continue to run the clubhouse restaurant and will serve lunch and dinner. Additional coffee and refreshments will also be available in the pro shop in the mornings.

Anyone who purchased a membership to Brooks for the 2019 season prior to the course’s sale should direct questions to pro John Bramblett at 712-332-5011.

Carlton wants people to “come home to Brooks” and enjoy this new season of the Okoboji course.

Dickinson County Conservation Board took ownership of Brooks Golf in March when an anonymous donation of $3 million was given to the Conservation Foundation of Dickinson County — the non-profit fundraising arm for the conservation board — to purchase the course. The CFDC then gave possession of the 230 acres, including the pro shop, clubhouse restaurant and maintenance structures to the conservation board. Minerva’s Restaurant and Arrowwood Resort & Conference Center are separate entities and not included in the transaction.

“We are very grateful that we have been entrusted as the owner of Brooks Golf Club; this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to conserve and protect a vital part of Okoboji,” said Lee Sorenson, executive director of the Dickinson County Conservation Board. “We feel it is the perfect fit since it connects directly to Kenue Park and the nature center.”

Part of the donation agreement was to place a conservation easement on the land to protect it from development in perpetuity, and the Dickinson County Conservation Board will work with the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation on this easement in the coming year.

During the first year of ownership, while Brooks Management runs the course, the conservation board will discuss the future of the golf course and the land management in general. Public comments will be sought and surveys will be taken to make sure that the land is being utilized in the best way possible for residents and visitors as well as for the conservation and preservation of wildlife, water quality and the environment in general.

For more information on the Dickinson County Conservation Board and to keep up on project updates, please call 712-336-6352. To find out more about Brooks Golf, visit


  1. Doug Brown on October 10, 2019 at 1:51 pm

    What about 2020 and beyond?

  2. Mike and Susan Uridil on April 8, 2019 at 12:09 am

    Brooks like Arnold’s Park is part of the reason why family’s having been coming to the lakes region for many years. I hope it all works for future generations. The Uridil family in Hastings Nebraska.

    • kiley on April 8, 2019 at 7:58 am

      Thank you for the input!

  3. Cathy Abbott on April 5, 2019 at 12:47 pm

    Thank you for the information regarding the purchase of Brooks. I am so happy that it will be preserved and that you have conservation in mind for the course. It is vital we protect the land and the water of the Okoboji area. I will continue to volunteer and believe that the Conservation Board will move in the direction needed to protect our environment.

Leave a Comment