Ground broke on the Brownwood Claybird Club more than a year ago, and Wednesday, Aug. 26 the facility will open to the public for the first time.
Plans for the Brownwood Claybird Club have been in the works for years, according to course manager Blake Holleman.
“(Brownwood Country Club owner) Steve Baker has been talking about this for three or four years before he ever even talked to me about it,” Holleman said. “He was talking to Rex Tackett and Rex said the guy you need to go see was me and that I go around and shoot at these tournaments all the time. Then I gave Steve some ideas of some places I’ve been.”
Located at 5875 County Road 225, behind the Brownwood Country Club, the Brownwood Claybird Club is a sporting clays and five-stand shotgun only shooting sports facility. Memberships are available, but not mandatory.
“The public can walk in,” Holleman said. “You can be a member of just the range or if you’re a member of the country club already you can add a small fee to become a member. And what the membership does is allows you to get different pricing. It does cost more to walk up.”
The Brownwood Claybird Club also features a large, air-conditioned pavilion that contains a clubhouse and event center that can be rented by the public.
“This was going to be an open pavilion, then Vicky (Baker) came up with the idea of closing it and putting the windows in,” Holleman said. “If it’s cold or windy you can close the doors, if it’s a nice day you can open the doors. There’ll be two big screen smart TVs, it’s got all electrical plugs for a band, and they’ll be a band stage available so people will be able to rent this for birthday parties, business events, corporate events, and fundraisers.”
The clubhouse within the pavilion will feature shotgun sales and rentals, along with accessories available for purchase. A coffee bar, tables and chairs will be included inside the clubhouse, as well as on the patio of the pavilion.
Alcohol is allowed on the premises, but only for those not shooting or those who have finished shooting for the day.
“This is not part of the country club as far as TABC is concerned, this is a separate LLC,” Holleman said. “You can bring beer here but you can’t drink it before you go down the lanes to shoot or while you’re shooting.”
The standout feature of the facility is the unique, double-decker five-stand, built by Mennonites out of Hillsboro, as well as all the shooting stations.
“This is their first double-decker, no one ever asked for one before,” Holleman said. “It all came on one piece on one trailer. The only thing they did when they got here was put the stairs on it.”
Describing the five-stand, Holleman said, “there’s 25 rounds from five spots, so you shoot five rounds from one spot then move to the next spot for a total of 25. With it a being a double-decker, you can shoot from the bottom or the top.”
Holleman further elaborated, stating, “Five-stand is kind of a memory game. You’ll have six or seven traps and you’ll get to see all of them one time before everyone shoots, then you’ll have a menu. A single’s a single. A report pair means on the report of the shotgun, so on the report of the shotgun, the bang, the trapper throws the second target. A true pair is two of them thrown at the same time, that’s where the memory comes in. You have to remember where they come from because if you pick the wrong one, one may be lying on the ground before you get back to it.
“If I’m the first shooter up the menu might say single 3, then you pull and everybody shoots their single and it comes back to me. Then maybe the next one is a record pair, say 3 and 7, then pull and the guy shoots his and it comes back to me. I shoot my last two whether it’s a true pair or a record pair and everybody finishes their first five shots, then everybody rotates until you rotate all the way around.”
For those unfamiliar with a five-stand, trappers will be on hand opening weekend to help explain.
“We’ll have trappers here the first weekend and they’ll be somebody at every station, so if you’ve never shot the game before there will be somebody here at each station to help you along,” Holleman said. “Once you do it you can come back with three people that have never done it before and show them how it’s done. It’s not hard but if you’ve never done it you don’t know.”
There are also 12 individual stations on the property – five on flatland and seven in an increasingly deepening canyon. Over those dozen stations, 100 clays are available to shoot. Cards are provided to use at each station that will keep a tally of clays shot.
“I don’t know how to build the course but I know people who do,” Holleman said. “We had a guy from Kansas City who was on his way to San Antonio that came here and helped us lay it out. We got it laid out, then I’m the project manager so I went to making it happen.”
Further elaborating on the individual stations, Holleman said, “When you check in we give you a card, you buy your clays and they load them for you up front. You put the card in, if you’re a group you can put them all on one card or individual cards. If you’re by yourself, you can put it on a delay.”
Holleman also discussed the types of clays at the stations.
“You have three types of presentations – outgoers, incomers and crossers,” Holleman said. Among the favorite targets is the rabbit, which rolls across the ground, and is among the favorite targets. “The rabbit target runs on the ground and everybody loves the rabbit,” Holleman added.
The course and pavilion were originally a hillside area, so the majority of the land had to be cleared.
“There were no set plans,” Holleman said. “We started this last July and where the pavilion is was the side of a hall, so we had to dig all that out, move the dirt, then flatten it. Then we got some concrete, ordered the pavilion and once we got that up we started deciding what to do.”
Others involved in building of the Brownwood Claybird Club include Kenneth Adams Construction, Bush Construction, Ribble Construction, Jeff Meadows, Double Diamond Iron and Woodwork, Denard Electric, Johnson Mechanical, Tommy Morrison Construction, Black Plumbing, and Texas Custom Interiors.
The five-stand and the pavilion also include ADA ramps.
“There are a lot of wheelchair competitions and you see a lot of Wounded Warriors at the bigger tournaments,” Holleman said. “And if a kid can hold a shotgun in a wheelchair, he can shoot clays if he wants to.”
The Brownwood Claybird Club will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. For more information, visit their Facebook page or call (325) 998-1080.