In 1972, Dale W. Brady asked his sons what he should do with his 200 acres of farm equipment testing ground. Dale had sold his business, Brady Manufacturing, where he invented, created and sold farming equipment. He was ready for a new adventure.
Dale and his sons, Dan, Tom and Steve debated on whether they should turn the 200 acres of farmland into a golf course or camping grounds. It was decided that they would create a golf course. In the fall of 1972, Dale and Tom, his middle son, built their first green, number 18. The youngest son, Steve, was an MP in the army and unable to help. The oldest son, Dan, lived in Omaha with his wife and 3 daughters.
When Dale and Tom discovered their green came through the winter in the spring of 1973, they set to work creating the rest of the course. Tom used an aerial drawing of the course to design the holes and Harold McCullough put the finishing touching on it by adjusting a couple of holes.
Tom was still a Supervisor at Firestone in Des Moines, so his brother, Steve, returned from the army with his wife, Nancy, to help in construction and to manage the clubhouse during the summer of 1973. After a long summer of building and creating a golf course out of farmland, Toad Valley opened in August of 1973. Its name came from a “Brady Pow-Wow” where everyone submitted names. Sixty-four names were submitted and Toad Valley was the one chosen.
In 1976, Dan joined the family operation and returned to Runnells with his family. When Dan first came to the golf course, he was the Superintendent of Grounds. In 1978, Tom left his job at Firestone and began working on the golf course full time. Steve, the clubhouse manager, and Dan traded jobs because Dan was more of a people person and Steve wanted to be outside. Tom continued to work outside and became a tree guru in later years. Nearly every tree that is on the course was planted by Tom and his tree spade.
Nancy, Steve’s wife, was the bookkeeper because she had young children and it was a job that she could do easily at home. Fred, Tom’s wife, worked inside for several years, but began working outside when she saw the need – she is currently in charge of food and beverage. Peg, Dan’s wife, helped Dan to manage the clubhouse.
In October 1983, Dale passed away and the family moved on without their leader. They still had Dale’s wife, Audrey, helping to lead them and suggest ideas. Audrey made sandwiches for many years, but retired long ago she continued to attend the Brady Girl 8:00 a.m. Coffee Break which takes place every morning in the clubhouse until 2015 when she passed away at the age of 99.
There have been many changes over the years. In the late 80’s, the golf course suffered a horrible drought, so in the early 90’s, irrigation was added to the fairways. The clubhouse has gone through its many transformations over the years, too. The Brady family does its best to make improvements each year.
In recent years, Toad Valley has gone through many major changes. The oldest brother, Dan, passed away in November 2002 and his wife, Peg, retired.
In 2004, the youngest brother, Steve, and his wife, Nancy, expressed interest in wanting to retire. Jason, Tom’s son, and his wife, Theresa, and Allison, Tom’s youngest daughter, and her husband, Kelly, bought out Steve and Nancy allowing them to retire. Tom and Fred continue to work harder than ever at a job they love.
The grand opening for the completion of the clubhouse remodel was held in Spring of 2007. The next generation added a newly designed Golf Shop and Links Cafe. The former maintenance was also transformed into a conference center capable of seating 200 people. The clubhouse can now accommodate any size group. The outside has seen its changes, too. In 2004, The Field of Greens, Toad Valley’s miniature golf course, was opened to the public. During the fall of 2006, we began renovated tee boxes. Tee boxes 5 and 7 had a big makeover while others have been reshaped and re-seeded.
Each winter additional updates and amenities are added to fine tune the details that become the overall experience of Toad Valley.
There is one thing that no one ever plans on changing and that is the friendly family atmosphere that each golfer feels when they golf “The Toad.”