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Andy Burton

While 2016 was a tumultuous

year in many ways, it was an

exciting one of growth and

change for the Iowa Golf

Association. In addition to

breaking in a new President,

Chad Pitts succeeded long time

Executive Director Bill Dickens,

and our other staff members moved into more

challenging roles. We expanded the size of the IGA

office in Ankeny, successfully administered many

competitive events and welcomed Zach Johnson

into the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame. We continued

our string of successful fundraising years for the

Herman Sani and Ann Griffel Scholarships and we

are teed up for a great 2017.

In assuming the role of Executive Director Chad

Pitts had huge shoes to fill. Much of the success

we enjoy at the IGA is due to the many years of

service by Bill Dickens. Bill continues to serve as

Senior Director of Administration of the IGA and

he and Chad have led us through the smoothest of

transitions. The rest of our great staff and interns

played a huge role in making it seem as if we never

missed a step.

If you haven’t visited the IGA office in Ankeny

recently you should stop by to tour our expanded

offices. A vacancy next door created the

opportunity to add to our space and create a

better reception and entry area where we have

begun to build a display area for the Iowa Golf Hall

of Fame.

The induction into the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame of

Zach Johnson last June was a smashing success

and possibly one of the greatest golf related

events ever in Iowa. Zach was truly humbled to

be honored by his home state, and honored us

with not only his presence but also by bringing the

Claret Jug to Iowa to share with everyone present.

Kudos to Gene Elliott, the IGA staff and the Iowa

Golf Hall of Fame Committee for pulling this off. I

will never forget that night.

Congratulations also to Gene Elliott for his play

in 2016 and winning both the IGA and IGA Senior

Player of the Year awards. Congratulations go to our

other Player of the Year honorees Jenny Heinz, Rose

Kubesheski, Ben Epperly and Maddie Hawkins. You

can read more about their exploits on the course in

this yearbook.

No summary of the year in golf 2016 can go without

recognizing the passing of the legend Arnold Palmer.

As a member of the only Palmer designed course

in the state, Tournament Club of Iowa, and having

met Mr. Palmer many times from age 16 though last

year, it’s hard to imagine the game of golf without

him. I remember every encounter with him like it

was yesterday. From the first time I met him at the

Amana VIP in Iowa City where he drew a crowd of

over 20,000 people in the late 1970’s to the glass

of wine we shared in a chance encounter at the

bar at Bay Hill Club in Orlando six months before

he passed, he was always gracious, kind, warm and

engaging. There has been and will never be anyone

like him. A great man who will be missed by many.

On the tee for 2017 are a number of exciting

opportunities. Planning is under way for an

Iowa Golf Day that you will hear more about as

it develops. We have many fine venues for our

major championships this year, including a stop

at the newly restored Cedar Rapids Country Club

for the Iowa Amateur in July. The restoration of

this great course is superb and will provide a stern

test of golf for our many great players. And the

USGA is working with the IGA and other state golf

associations on handicap system improvements,

rules changes and other initiatives that you’ll hear

more about this year.

Thanks for your support of the Iowa Golf

Association. I’ll see you on the course somewhere

across this great state when the new season begins!