On Friday, October 25, the IGA Board of Directors named recipients of the 2019 Annual Awards in six categories. We are pleased to announce this year’s honorees.
9-Hole Superintendent – Kory Brown, Ballard Golf and Country Club
Kory Brown, of Ballard Golf and Country Club, has been named the 2019 IGA 9-Hole Superintendent of the Year.
Brown joined Ballard Golf and Country Club’s staff as the Superintendent in the fall of 2018. He hit the ground running, managing to successfully seed the struggling areas on the greens before winter rolled around. Over the winter, Brown took the initiative to learn the ins and outs of their irrigation system, attending classes and consulting with industry experts to prepare for the 2019 season. By the time the season rolled around, several prior irrigation problems were a thing of the past.
Brown was tasked with redoing all of the tees this past year, and through his leadership, a significant amount of the work was able to be done in house. He has a gift of working with his hands, and is able to keep the equipment running smoothly when something needs repaired. He takes pride in the playing conditions and his attention to detail has not gone unnoticed by the club’s Board of Directors.
Since joining the staff, Brown’s leadership has had a positive impact on his crew. He has demonstrated a tremendous work ethic, and maintained a great relationship with everyone he works with. He goes above and beyond his expected duties, and has been a great addition to the club.
18-Hole Superintendent – Ryan Lux, Echo Valley Country Club
Ryan Lux, of Echo Valley Country Club, is the 2019 IGA 18-Hole Superintendent of the Year.
Lux joined the Echo Valley staff as Superintendent in the fall of 2018. To most, the amount of work that Lux took on during the 2019 season would be overwhelming. He was responsible for the renovation of the greens on the Vale Course, in addition to renovating a practice green and short game area, all while providing top notch conditions of 18 holes on the Creek and Ridge nines.
The club membership took notice of Lux’s leadership, and they have taken notice in the pride he takes in his work.
“There seems to be nothing he’s not willing to do to make the course look and play the way it was meant to be enjoyed,” said Leanne Smith, 2019 IGA Women’s Match Play Champion and Echo Valley member.
The way Lux has handled his heavy workload has been admired by the Echo Valley staff, in addition to the membership.
“While his job responsibilities are mammoth, he has handled them like a true pro,” said club General Manager Matt Matthias.
9-Hole Course of the Year – Holstein Country Club
The IGA 9-Hole Course of the Year in 2019 is Holstein Country Club in Holstein.
Holstein Country Club, located in northwest Iowa, opened its doors in 1969, and celebrated its 50th Anniversary this year. The course has long been a staple in the community, and is visited by many golfers from near and far each year. The course has received praise for its smooth bent grass greens, undulating putting surfaces, beautiful and pristine playing conditions.
The golf course is a point of pride for the Holstein community, with several members “adopting” tee boxes where they plant flowers and bushes, to add to the beauty of the property. The course is meticulously cared for by 2015 IGA 9-Hole Superintendent of the Year, Aaron Nedved, who provides quality playing conditions on a daily basis. The course features four sets of tees that allow every golfer to have a fun experience, and is regarded as a course that is playable and welcoming to all levels of players. The club has a very active membership, and has strong participation in its leagues and tournaments.
18-Hole Course of the Year – Cedar Rapids Country Club
Cedar Rapids Country Club, in eastern Iowa, has been selected as the 2019 IGA 18-Hole Course of the Year.
The club placed Iowa golf in the national spotlight, playing host to the 2019 USGA Senior Women’s Amateur Championship in August. This was only the third time a USGA championship was conducted in the state of Iowa, and 132 of the world’s best senior women flocked to Cedar Rapids for the event. The event was a tremendous success, with the course receiving glowing reviews from all involved with the event.
Cedar Rapids Country Club is the state of Iowa’s only Donald Ross designed golf course. The course was first laid out by Scotsman Tom Bendelow in 1904, before world-renowned golf course architect Donald Ross expanded the course to 18 holes in 1914. Over time, the classic and recognizable Ross features of the course began to fade, leaving only the bones of what was once there. In 2011, the club hired Ross expert Ron Prichard, and his associate Tyler Rae, for the job of restoring the golf course. Superintendent Tom Feller and his crew took an active part in the restoration of the golf course which included restoring the bunkers, expanding the greens and removing trees, in an effort to improve turf health and bring back old sightlines across the property.
PGA Pro of the Year – Aaron Krueger, Wakonda Club
Aaron Krueger, of Wakonda Club in Des Moines, is the 2019 IGA PGA Professional of the Year.
Krueger first made his mark on Iowa golf when he joined Sunnyside Country Club in Waterloo as an Assistant Professional. After a short stint in Illinois, he returned to the Hawkeye state in 2011 to be the Head PGA Professional at Wakonda Club in Des Moines, where he now serves as the Director of Golf. He has played an instrumental role in the success of the PGA Tour Champions Principal Charity Classic, which the club has hosted since 2013.
In addition to his numerous duties as Director of Golf and preparing for the Principal Charity Classic, Krueger has given back to the game through volunteering. Krueger is currently the Iowa PGA Section President, and is on the board of the Iowa PGA Section Foundation. One thing that sets him apart is the impact his leadership has had on his staff. He has mentored several young aspiring PGA Professionals during his time at Wakonda, and exemplifies the character and commitment to people that makes golf in the state of Iowa special.
Club Manager of the Year – John Dinnebier, Briarwood Golf Club
John Dinnebier, of Briarwood Golf Club in Ankeny, is the 2019 IGA Club Manager of the Year.
Dinnebier joined Briarwood Golf Club in July of 2018, and has had a substantial impact on the club since the day he arrived. Since becoming the manager of the club, Briarwood has welcomed over 100 new members. His leadership since joining Briarwood has yielded great results for the club membership by providing a great outlook for the future, and improving the quality of service to Briarwood’s members.
The commitment Dinnebier has to the membership does not go unnoticed. On any given day, he can be found working with the junior golf program, bussing tables, tending the bar, setting up outings, and coaching the staff. He is characterized by his friendly smile, positive energy, and his willingness to go above and beyond expectations.
In Dinnebier’s time at Briarwood, he has led and overseen golf course improvements, several clubhouse repairs, the upgrading golf maintenance equipment, and several other improvement projects. One would think that with all of these duties, he doesn’t have time for much else. A testament to his commitment to the game of golf in Iowa, he routinely drives 180 miles round trip to Creston, where they do not have a golf professional nearby, to give junior golf clinics to kids learning the game.
He is recognized by members and coworkers alike for his humility, and has been described by members as a leader who, “wouldn’t ask the staff to do something he wasn’t willing to do himself.”