Month: October 2018

2018 IGA Annual Awards announced

On Friday, October 26, the IGA Board of Directors named recipients of the 2018 Annual Awards in six categories. We are pleased to announce this year’s honorees.

9-Hole Superintendent – Chris Steffen, Tipton Golf & Country Club
Chris Steffen, of Tipton Golf & Country Club, has been named the 2018 IGA 9-Hole Superintendent of the Year.

Steffen, who became Superintendent at Tipton G&CC in 2006, grew up on the course. Without question it, along with the community, has always held a special place in his heart. Steffen has always put much attention to detail and thought into subtle ways he could improve the course.

Faced with a challenging year weather-wise in 2018, Steffen is credited by membership of keeping the course and its playing surface in great shape. In addition to his daily duties as superintendent, Steffen, for the past five years, has helped organize and run a junior golf program at the club. This program has been a huge success, growing every year. In 2018, a total of 66 junior golfers took part in the program.

“Chris wants golf to grow at Tipton Golf & Country Club,” one nomination read. “He wanted to do his part in getting kids interested in the game. In addition to that, he is single-handedly responsible for raising $150,000 (over the past three years) for the new clubhouse fund. None of this would be happening without Chris’ passion for his community and his club.”


18-Hole Superintendent – Dean Sparks, Davenport Country Club
Dean Sparks, of Davenport Country Club, is the 2018 IGA 18-Hole Superintendent of the Year.

Sparks, who began his duties at Davenport CC in March of 2014, recently oversaw and executed a renovation of the golf course, which included the removal of over 500 trees. His ability to communicate and educate members throughout the process was noted many times in his letters of recommendation. It was noted that his communication to the membership has been and will continue to be of significance as they move forward.

From the beginning of the renovations at DCC, Sparks indicated it would be a process of focusing first on issues with larger playability and visual impact, then addressing the smaller but often labor-intensive details the membership expected. Once the larger challenges were met, the detail work would become part of the ongoing routine.

Sparks’ ability to manage the transition from the course renovation to on-going operations has been applauded. One member commented that it was during that process that Sparks has shown his management and professional skills beyond those of a project manager. Another DCC member commented that “Sparks was able to achieve the massive course renovation in an unheard of time frame. It was completed on budget due to his ability to organize and delegate the duties efficiently”.

“Many skeptics have been converted to believers since the (2015) full course renovation due to Dean’s ability to educate the membership, me included,” Tim Smith, DCC Greens and Ground Chairman said.


9-Hole Course of the Year – Tara Hills Country Club (Van Horne)
The IGA 9-Hole Course of the Year in 2018 is Tara Hills Country Club in Van Horne.

Tara Hills Country Club, located in eastern Iowa, is nestled into 60 acres of what used to be farmland. The course annually draws praise and rave reviews for its quality and consistency, especially its green surfaces. In addition to its condition, Tara Hills CC conducts a strong and successful ‘Golf Academy’ for junior golfers in the area. In 2018, over 60 juniors took part in the program. Tara Hills CC was also supported and was involved in the Youth on Course efforts with the IGA, offering a discounted rate to junior golfers during specified times.

Tara Hills CC also has a dedicated tree planting program, whereby they nurture seedlings or transplant to replace and increase the tree population each year. The club, which is highly reliant on volunteer effort from its membership, took on projects recently to replace windows and a major kitchen remodel at the clubhouse. ‘Bat Boxes’ were also installed recently at the club to help assist with bug control on the course and to ensure a pleasant experience for those visiting and playing the course.


18-Hole Course of the Year – Beaver Hills Country Club (Cedar Falls)
Beaver Hills Country Club, in Cedar Falls, has been selected as the IGA 18-Hole Course of the Year.

Beaver Hills Country Club, which recently has hosted the 2017 Iowa Mid-Amateur Championship and the 2018 U.S. Amateur Sectional Qualifier, continues to draw words of praise by golfers from around the state for its condition as well as its overall atmosphere.

The club, which was founded in 1965, is set in a secluded spot where seemingly untouched wilderness is home to a fair, yet challenging, golf course. The Beaver Creek meanders throughout the picturesque course providing a home for many types of wildlife. Bentgrass fairways, tee boxes and greens are meticulously manicured, providing a beautiful setting for prairie flowers, butterflies and area wildlife.

Beaver Hills CC’s staff, including Club Manager Chad Hoffman, PGA Professional Brad Clark and Superintendent Josh Peterson, are all highly regarded professionals at their respective craft. Beaver Hills CC and its members (which totals nearly 400 individual IGA members) are always welcoming with open arms when the IGA brings events to town, and the course is a big draw to all players from around the state.


PGA Pro of the Year – John Shawver, Grinnell College Golf Course
John Shawver, of Grinnell College Golf Course, is the 2018 IGA’s PGA Professional of the Year.

With nearly 30 years of experience in the industry, Shawver has gained insight into grounds maintenance, pro shop sales and general operations of a golf course. And even more important, Shawver understands how all these areas connect and work together to form a successful facility.

Patrons who interact with Shawver will receive his undivided attention, good conversation and appreciation of your time. The staff and patrons of GCGC expressed in the nomination that his kindness is overlooked in the equation that makes up a great team member. His work and attention has led to wonderful growth at Grinnell College Golf Course. In 2018 alone, youth golf participation has more than doubled from 2017, the number of rounds are up almost 50% and officials at the club believe membership will increase next year from pupils that Shawver has introduced to the game.

Officials at GCGC credit Shawver with recruiting both traditional golfers and those who have never played the game to their course. Shawver cares greatly about playing and working on your game, but making sure you are having lots of fun at the same time. Shawver believes that it doesn’t matter what your swing plane looks like or what your spin rate is, if you aren’t having fun playing the game.

“That is how John goes about growing interest and participation in this game we call golf,” Shane Hart, GCGC Club Manager said. “This it why it makes him one of the greatest ambassadors (for golf in Iowa).


Club Manager of the Year – Russ Appel, Briggs Woods Golf Course (Webster City)
Russ Appel, of Briggs Woods Golf Course in Webster City, is the 2018 IGA Club Manager of the Year.

Since the spring of 1990 Russ Appel has been a familiar face at Webster City’s Briggs Woods Golf Course. More recently, Appel has been heavily involved with a multi-million dollar construction project at the club for a new conference center which is slated to be completed in early 2019. With Appel’s guidance the club has seen little disruption to its day-to-day activities at the golf course.

Appel, who also serves as superintendent at the 18-hole municipal facility, helped spearhead fundraising efforts for the project – with 100% of the work being paid from either donations or grants, including support from local government. The project, which began on a smaller scale, grew into a ‘community’ endeavor and will now include an 11,200 sq. ft. building with a full service kitchen, movable walls, high tech A/V system, large bathrooms and many other amenities that will serve 300-400 people.

With the construction of the new conference center, plus his duties as both superintendent and club manager, it’s hard to imagine just how busy Russ was during the 2018 season. But that hard work shows through to the golfers at Briggs Woods and the citizens of Webster City, as they will both be treated with a wonderful new facility next year.

But adding extra work, such as the conference center, does not come as a surprise to those who have been around Briggs Woods as long as Russ has. During his tenure at the course, Appel has oversaw the addition of the back nine holes, addition of several new tee boxes, construction of a new clubhouse and the addition of stay and play packages. It’s almost as if the man has no idea how to rest!

Iowa Golf Hall of Fame member Lou King passes away

Iowa Golf Hall of Fame member Louis (Lou) King Jr., (right) who elevated the Amana Refrigeration brand worldwide, helped create one of the most significant events in Iowa sports history and founded a model golf rehabilitative programs for veterans, died Saturday evening at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City following a brief illness. He was 93.

In 1946-47, King enrolled at the University of Iowa, where he became starting quarterback for the Hawkeyes. After graduation, King declined a $500 offer to sign with the NFL Buffalo Bills for a $7,500 salary.

“I decided to make more money as a door-to-door salesman. I loved it,” he once said. After spending 10 years working for Pillsbury, he arrived at Amana Refrigeration in 1958.

King, who was inducted into the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame in 1993, advanced through sales, marketing and advertising at Amana, and was a member of its board and executive committee.

As Senior Vice President of Marketing at Amana Refrigeration, King helped create the Amana VIP Pro-Am Golf Tournament. In its time the event was one of the most popular Pro-Am tournaments in the country and was played at Finkbine Golf Course in Iowa City from 1968 to 1990.

King served as Executive Director of the PGA of America from 1982 through 1987.

In 2007 King, who is a WWII veteran, founded the Golf for Injured Veterans Everywhere (GIVE) Foundation. GIVE works with members of the Iowa Section PGA to provide a four-phase golf program for those who use the Iowa City VA Hospital. King served as the first president of the GIVE Foundation.

Click here to read more from the Cedar Rapids Gazette

Click here to read more Bob Denney, PGA Historian, about King


Fort Dodge’s Phil Joselyn passes away

Phil Joselyn (pictured above), 80, of Fort Dodge, passed away on Thursday, October 4. Joselyn was proud supporter of the Iowa Golf Association and active participant for many years in its championships. His positive attitude and ever-present smile will be missed at our events.

Phil Joselyn

Joselyn, who won the 1960 Fort Dodge Amateur, served as President of the IGA from April 1989 through April 1991. Joselyn also served as honorary captain of the IGA’s Iowa Cup team in 2013. Joselyn served the USGA for 20 years on the Sectional Affairs committee from 1990-2004, then Regional Affairs committee from 2004-2010.

Fort Dodge Senior High’s annual boys golf invitational at the Fort Dodge Country Club is named after Joselyn, who won the individual state crown in 1955.

A memorial service will be announced at a later date. Laufersweiler Funeral Home in Fort Dodge is handling the arrangements.

Phil Joselyn – Celebration of Life
Click above for details

USGA Announces U.S. Junior Amateur Field Increase in 2020 to Provide More Player Opportunities

264 Juniors Will Compete for 2020 Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club

Aligning with ongoing initiatives to expand its support of junior golf, the United States Golf Association (USGA) today announced that the field size for the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship will increase from 156 players to 264, beginning with the 2020 championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn. (July 20-25). Chaska Town Course will serve as the stroke play co-host course, as it did for the 2006 U.S. Amateur Championship at Hazeltine National.

“Increasing the U.S. Junior Amateur field to 264 players gives an additional 108 deserving junior golfers an opportunity to compete in the preeminent championship in junior golf,” said John Bodenhamer, USGA senior managing director for Championships. “The larger field will allow for an expansion of exemptions that will ensure deserving players from around the world will have the chance to compete for the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship Trophy and a spot in the U.S. Open.”

In 2017, USGA announced several significant enhancements to the U.S. Junior Amateur. The maximum age for USGA junior championships was raised from 17 to 18, the field size was increased from 156 beginning in 2020, and a U.S. Open exemption was awarded to the champion. Noah Goodwin, the 2017 Junior Amateur champion, played in the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club.

“As we do with all our championships, we annually evaluate and refine the conduct of our competitions. Any strategic changes come from that work, which includes valuable input from players, coaches and Allied Golf Associations,” said Greg Sanfilippo, director of the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship. “We look forward to welcoming more players to the championship venue and providing them with a world-class experience.”

The U.S. Junior Amateur was first played in 1948. The championship is open to amateurs who have not reached their 19th birthday by the conclusion of the championship and who have a Handicap Index® not exceeding 4.4. Tiger Woods (three times), Jordan Spieth (twice), Johnny Miller, David Duval and Hunter Mahan are among the notable U.S. Junior Amateur champions. The USGA accepted 3,693 entries for the 2018 U.S. Junior Amateur at Baltusrol Golf Club, won by Michael Thorbjornsen.

The 72nd U.S. Junior Amateur will be contested July 15-20, 2019, at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio. The 2021 U.S. Junior Amateur will be conducted at the Country Club of North Carolina. The Dogwood Course will serve as the primary course and the club’s Cardinal Course will serve as the stroke play co-host.

Landsmeer GC wins 13th IGA Club Team, two tied for Net Division title

The Ridge Golf Club in Sioux Center hosted the 13th IGA Club Team. With cooler temperatures and misty conditions at times, the team from nearby Landsmeer Golf Club (pictured above) fired an impressive score of 212 (-1) to outdistance second place Fort Dodge Country Club by nine strokes in the Gross Division. TJ Korver (above right), of Landsmeer GC, led the way with his own 69 (-2) which was the low score of the day by one. The Gross Division is score by taking the low three scores of each team’s four players.

In the Net Division, which the low three (net) scores on each hole are counted for a team, two teams tied for the title. The Ridge Golf Club (#1) playing on home turf tied with Willow Run County Club at 205 (-8).

Click here to see a full recap of scoring.

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