Golf came to Iowa in the late 1800s, planting the seeds for a rich harvest of golf history.
Much of that history, long forgotten, comes to life in “Golden Harvest. Iowa’s Rich Golf History.”
Written by 11-time Iowa Sportswriter of the Year Rick Brown and commissioned by the Iowa Golf Association, this book is a must-read for those who love the game.
“It’s amazing how much work Rick did in researching and writing this chronicle of Iowa’s golf history,” said Chad Pitts, IGA executive director. “This book gives the reader a much deeper dive into stories they already knew as well as introducing them to some amazing things that we didn’t know anything about until now.”
Iowa is the home to major champions Jack Fleck, Judy Kimball and Zach Johnson. It’s also the home to 254 nine-hole golf courses, the most of any state in the nation.
It has produced many champions who had success in and out of Iowa, like Jack Rule, Steve Spray, Barb Thomas Whitehead, Ann Casey Johnstone, Lucile Robinson, Art Bartlett, John Jacobs, Mike McCoy, Gene Elliott, Sean McCarty, Ken Schall, Joe Brown, Edith Estabrooks, Rudy Knepper and so many more. Their stories are chronicled in these pages.
This is a book that looks back at the growth of a sport that really took off after the IGA was founded in 1900.
It also touches on stories you might not be familiar with, like Harry Vardon and Ted Ray playing an exhibition in Sioux City in 1920. Or Byron Nelson, in the middle of his record 11 straight victories on the PGA Tour in 1945, losing an exhibition match in Dubuque.
There’s the story of Sioux City’s Knepper, who reached the semifinals of the 1922 U.S. Amateur at the Country Club in Brookline, Mass. His victories over British stars W.B. Torrance and Cyril Tolley earned him the nickname “Lion Tamer” by Atlanta newspaperman O.B. Keeler, best known for covering Bobby Jones’s Grand Slam legacy.
And did you know that Sioux City once hosted a PGA Tour event and Waterloo was home to an annual LPGA stop?
There’s the story of Sam Snead, who came to Round Grove Golf and Country Club in August of 1959, shot 62 and then was on an airplane that tried to take off on a 1,500-foot-long grass runway and ran through a fence instead. It was a story that Snead embellished over the years.
This book tells the remarkable tale of the four generations of Smiths who have made golf their livelihood, and visits the rich tradition of the sport in the state’s unofficial golf capital, Waterloo.
Most of the game’s greatest players, including Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Walter Hagen, Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Patty Berg and Babe Didrikson Zaharias, have teed it up in Iowa. And the state has also hosted an impressive collection of events, from the U.S. Amateur to the U.S. Senior Open and the Solheim Cup.
You’ll read about George Roddy, the first African-American golfer in University of Iowa history, who captained the team but wasn’t allowed to play in a Big Ten Championship because of the color of his skin.
And there’s the story of Iowa’s greatest con man and golf champion, Floren DiPaglia.
Iowa has long had a reputation for a strong summer golf schedule, helping create and crowning many champions you’ll read about in these pages.
“Golden Harvest” will be available to the public on or about November 15. Proceeds from book sales will benefit IGA Foundation programs and services.
To purchase copies visit this link or call the IGA office at 515-207-1062.