If you’re anything like me (sorry if you are), then you get a kick out of learning about history. When I first learned this little tidbit I’m about to share, I was really fascinated by it. I love learning how things came to be, don’t you?
Just in case you weren’t aware, Toad Valley was designed by my dad, Tom Brady. He was in his 20’s with a business degree from Drake. Go figure, right? Sadly, he didn’t go on to have a great NFL career, but he did marry my mom who dad says is his super model wife.
His dad, Dale, provided an aerial drawing of the farmland and dad mapped out the holes. When he was done, Harold McCollough changed a few of his original designs to create the full 18 holes that you now know and love.
I thought it would be fun to share the “What if…” scenario with you on how the original course was mapped out.
Let’s take a look at how the course is currently mapped out.
Now, let’s take a look at how it was originally designed and then I’ll tell you the reasoning behind why those changes were made.
As you can see from this drawing, most of the changes occurred on the back nine. Harold kept my dad’s hole designs the same, but changed the numbering. When he changed the numbering, that meant that 6 out of the 9 holes had to have their tees and greens swapped.
His reasoning of changing the numbering was that by moving hole number 12 to what was originally number 17 was that it prevented golfers from having to play three holes in a row where a slice resulted in a ball going out of bounds into a farm field. Since many golfers have a slice, they decided this would be a way to prevent them from getting upset with their slice.
Since I’ve played with many golfers on number 11 who have sliced it out to the field, I think this was a pretty smart move. The only real change was switching out greens for tees, so it was a pretty simple fix.
Harold didn’t make any changes to the front nine, so in 1973 (when the course opened) the front nine had hole number 7 in the position marked in this map. If you’ve been paying attention, you may have always wondered why there is a random cart path that looks like it is in the middle of the trees when you’re near number 8 tee-box. It was the original cart path created from the original number 7 green to 8’s tee.
That little change on the front nine design was created because of yours truly. The original number 7 was a hole that is very similar to our current hole number 12, so the back of the green had a pretty steep slope. When I was seven years old, I was driving our cool baby blue three wheeled EZ-Go golf cart along that steep incline (horizontally). I was alone on the cart and young (read dumb) and the cart flipped over on top of me – pinning me beneath it. I can distinctly remember my dad and my uncle lifting the cart off of me. Such a dumb move which sadly has resulted in many years of back pain for me. See what I sacrifice for our golfers?
Due to my smooth move as a seven year old, my dad figured that another family might bring their young child (who shouldn’t be driving a cart) and a similar injury could happen. Current number 7 was born. It opened for play in 1984. When we decided to name the hole, we called it Tom’s Folly. Why? Dad had a different style of green creation (or had forgotten how he made the other 18 greens), so the green on number 7 has a few more tricky breaks in it and is one of the hardest holes on the course.
There you go. What could have been? Can you imagine what it would be like to play the holes in the original format?