Outdoor Adventures: The Sporting Club at the Farm

For Bobby Brooks, it was just a matter of time before his long-time family farm became a full-time venture. The Sporting Club at the Farm opened in New Albany in June of this year and hosts a variety of outdoor entertainment for the family, such as hiking, clay target shooting, archery and more.

“What we offer is outdoor entertainment, recreational sports like clay target shooting, fishing, archery, hiking…we do competition shooting, we do recreational shooting for archery and clay targets too,” Brooks said.

“What we offer is outdoor entertainment, recreational sports like clay target shooting, fishing, archery, hiking…we do competition shooting, we do recreational shooting for archery and clay targets too,” Brooks said.

Brooks’ dad was actually born on the homestead on the property in 1944, while Brooks’ aunt and uncle were living there and owned the farm. His dad lived there about 11 years and then moved to New Albany.

 “I just loved that property and it’s always been in the back of my mind,” Brooks said. “When I was a kid, my dad used to take us there to camp and fish and swim.”

He moved to Tennessee 18 years ago and during that time, his work has been devoted to land management, wildlife habitat management, pond and lake management and entertaining groups and parties in the outdoors.

“Really the last 25 years have just hardwired me to be doing what we’re doing today,” Brooks said.

To get the Sporting Club off the ground, Brooks and his team had to restore the farm and its original 1870s homestead. He wanted to not only create an outdoor, family experience, but also preserve a true Floyd County homestead.

“The same architect that did the house out here on the farm did the Culbertson Mansion,” he said. “I’m really proud that we had the opportunity to bring it back.”

Now that they’re open, Brooks said he wants to really focus on getting kids into safe, fun and confidence-boosting outdoor activities.

“They get to experience what teamwork is like and positive motivation – that’s critical,” Brooks said. “Kids are monitored, watched, and coached to be so responsible in our sport.”

He also said the number one available college scholarship in America right now is clay target shooting, with over 92 colleges participating in the sport.

As a coach in Tennessee for the scholastic shooting program, he helped grow the program from 1,000 kids to about 6,000 kids across the state. He’s been an NRA certified shotgun coach for 12 years and hopes to grow the same program here in Indiana.

“They (students) all walk away from their first lesson thinking ‘ wow I’m a natural at that’ because they’re confident and excited about it,” Brooks said. “We set them up to succeed and be comfortable with the right equipment.”

There are 50,000 kids in America shooting scholastic targets competitively and so far, there’s never been an accident.

“Knock on wood, no one’s ever been hurt in our sport,” Brooks said. “Funny statistic is there’ve been more injuries in badminton than there have been in clay target shooting.”

Right now, he’s working with a handful of high schools in the area and encouraging them to have their own scholastic clay shooting team. All they need is a chaperone and Brooks will handle the rest as their coach.

 “I want to give these kids an opportunity to learn correctly and responsibly,” he said.

For Brooks, getting everything off the ground has been his favorite part and he’s looking forward to coaching and being involved in activities. The hardest part was really laying out the business plan before opening, since the outdoor entertainment piece is his area of expertise.

“I always surround myself with people that are bigger, better, stronger, faster and smarter,” he said. “That’s been very helpful.”

Part of the business side will be offering the Club as a venue for corporate events, banquets and weddings. For now, Brooks is focused on the activities and partners with groups like A Soldier’s Child that work to mentor kids in the outdoors.

The Sporting Club will be open year-round, but will have some season-specific activities. 

“We’re going to do Thanksgiving and pumpkins and Christmas trees,” Brooks said. “It’s a very family-friendly atmosphere.”

They’ll also do seasonal sporting events such as bird dog training and live pheasant tower shoots.

“I just want families to leave with an experience and a comfort of not only our business, but aesthetically the farm is so beautiful and to enjoy that and to get in the outdoors,” Brooks said.

“I just want families to leave with an experience and a comfort of not only our business, but aesthetically the farm is so beautiful and to enjoy that and to get in the outdoors,” Brooks said.

The most exciting part for him is sharing his love of the land with the community. 

“The beauty of this whole farm is the joy I get out of it from sharing it with other people,” he said.

The Club is closed on Mondays, but anyone is welcome to stop by on open days for tours. For any sort of private lesson, you can call 812-944-0400 to schedule some time with a coach. 

There’s still some great weather left to enjoy hiking and fishing before winter hits, but no matter the season, they’ll have an enjoyable activity for family bonding. 

“This is for everyone and everyone can do it,” Brooks said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re big or you’re small…Nobody sits the bench.” 

Story by Darian Eswine

Photo provided by The Sporting Club at the Farm.

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