Month: January 2020

IGA Men’s Point Systems will see significant changes in 2020

The point system the IGA uses to determine the Men’s, Senior Men’s and Super-Senior Men’s Player of the Year will have significant changes beginning with the 2020 season.

The IGA Rules and Competitions Committee presented recommendations that were approved by the IGA Board of Directors in late 2019.  Those changes include:

  • Count All Events – in 2020, all events where points are earned will count toward the year-end total.  In the past, the IGA would count points earned at all IGA conducted championships and USGA qualifiers, but would only count the best four point totals from Additional Sanctioned Point Events.

  • Points Earned Only within the Division you Play – the ability to earn points if you “play up” a division has been removed.  This means that a person over age 50 who chooses to play in the Open Division of a tournament and not the Senior Division, will now only earn points toward the Open Player of the Year race.  Those points will not transfer equally to the Senior Player of the Year race. This same philosophy will apply to Super-Seniors who choose to play in the Open or Senior Divisions.

  • Removal of some events – non-USGA national events will no longer count and three Iowa events will be removed from the point system.  This also means the removal of all collegiate events from consideration. The three Iowa events that will no longer be awarded points are the Tri-State Masters, the Joe August Four-Ball and the North Iowa Amateur.

  • Field size used to determine tiers is removed – Two tiers of Additional Sanctioned Point events will remain, but they will not be based on the total number of entries in a given year.  The Northwest Amateur and the Iowa Masters, due to their history and quality of the field, will be classified as tier 1 events while all other Additional Sanctioned Point Events around the state will be tier 2.

  • Removal of Tie-breakers – ties will not be broken if two or more players finish with the same amount of points. In this instance, Co-Players of the Year will be awarded.

  • Removal of Committee Discretion – the IGA Rules and Competitions Committee will no longer have the ability to award points for achievements outside the scope of the points system.

You can view the complete point scales and systems by clicking here.

The impetus for these changes came from discussions over the past few years with dozens of IGA players.  The Rules & Competitions Committee commissioned a small group of volunteers and staff to have specific discussions with players throughout 2019 to gather feedback.

“We heard loud and clear from most of our players that they wanted the system to be much more simple and bring the focus back on our events here in Iowa,” said Tom Christensen, Chair of the IGA Rules and Competitions Committee.

Christensen added, “We spent a lot of time throughout 2019 studying various ways to go about this and feel we have come up with a good system.  It should remove much of the complexity that had crept into the point systems over the past decade-plus.”

Bringing the focus back on to the Iowa events while still putting a high value on performances at USGA championships was important to the committee and IGA staff.

“We hope that making the schedule more stream-lined and counting all the events one earns points in will lead to players deciding to play a few more events in 2020, whether that’s IGA, USGA or Additional Sanctioned Events,” said IGA executive director Chad Pitts. “Having said that, someone who performs well at a USGA national championship will still have a leg up on the rest of the players in Iowa, and we feel it should be that way.”

The revamped system will have benefits to the IGA staff from an administrative standpoint as well.

“This complexity of the systems led to too many mistakes and corrections, as well as not being able to get points updated in a timely matter because they took so long to figure out,” Pitts said.  “This will allow us to automate the points much more and have our standings updated very quickly after each event. We are excited about that.”

The first IGA point event of the year will be The Classic at Elmwood Country Club in late April.  Entries into IGA-conducted events will open on Wednesday, March 4th.

First ever Women’s Golf Summit set for March 1, Iowa Golf Summit follows the next day

The Iowa Golf Council (Iowa Golf Association, Iowa GCSA and Iowa PGA) will host two golf summits in early March.  The Women’s Golf Summit will be held on Sunday afternoon, March 1 while the Iowa Golf Summit will be held the next day, Monday, March 2.  Both summits will be hosted by Otter Creek Golf Course and Conference Center in Ankeny and are presented by Miller and Sons Golf Cars (Britt).

This will be the fourth Iowa Golf Summit the group has co-conducted, taking place every other year.  It will be the first time for the Women’s Golf Summit.  The general theme for both events will be “Bringing People to the Game” both as players but also as potential career opportunities.

The Women’s Golf Summit (Sun, March 1) will consist of three different panel discussions, as well as networking, socializing and even the chance to get a lesson from a PGA professional.   There will be a focus on bringing more women to the game, both as players and also shedding light on entry into golf as a career.  In addition, we will discuss ways to utilize golf to help advance your business careers outside of golf.

You can view more information, including a complete schedule, and sign up for the Women’s Golf Summit here.

Henry DeLozier of Global Golf Advisors will be the keynote speaker at the Iowa Golf Summit (Mon, March 2) where he will give a talk on “Millennials and Golf”.

Honored by BoardRoom magazine with its 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award, Henry has been recognized each year as one the “Most Influential People in Golf” since 1999 by Crittenden publications for his worldwide recognition as a thought-leader. He is the current Board Chairman for Audubon International.  He serves as an expert source for Bloomberg News, Business Week, CNBC-Squawk Box, the Financial Times of London, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post.

He is a graduate of Oklahoma State University (BA – English) where he was an All-America golfer.

Also on hand to speak at the Iowa Golf Summit will be Rhett Evans, CEO of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, Hunki Yun, Director of Outreach, Education and Partnerships of the USGA, and Scott Kmiec, Senior Director, Career Services of the PGA of America.  All will give talks with focus on bringing more people to golf.

You can view more information, a complete schedule, and sign up for the Iowa Golf Summit here.

In addition to terrific education, these summits provide terrific networking opportunities for speakers and attendees.

Who should attend?

Anyone interested in golf is welcomed to attend.  If you are a decision-maker at your club, employee at a course, or involved in the golf industry in some way, or if you are just an avid golfer, you should seriously consider attending the Women’s Golf Summit, the Iowa Golf Summit, or both.  The Women’s Golf Summit is NOT restricted to female attendees, although females who play and work in golf are encouraged to attend. Board and committee members, Golf Professionals, Superintendents, Managers & department heads as well as Golf Sales Reps, Golf Coaches and anyone with ties to the golf industry will realize great value from either of these summits.


The fee to attend is the Women’s Golf Summit is $40 per person.  The fee to attend the Iowa Golf Summit is $60 per person.  You can sign up for both for $80 (save $20).  Both summits include food & beverage throughout the day.


The Iowa Golf Summit will be held at the Otter Creek Golf Course and Conference Center in Ankeny, Iowa.  Otter Creek is located at 4100 NE Otter Creek Dr, Ankeny, IA 50023.

Click here to register for either Summit

Bader, Benda and Gibb to join Iowa Golf Hall of Fame

The Iowa Golf Hall of Fame will add three members in 2020, bringing the total number in the Hall of Fame to 86. Those three include Beth Bader, John Benda and Judd Gibb. These three individuals will be enshrined on at Wakonda Club in Des Moines on a date TBD.

Beth Bader

Beth Bader, originally from Eldridge, began playing golf at the age of 12 and never looked back.

Bader, who was quite successful in Iowa, won the 1991 Iowa Junior Open, 1991 Des Moines Open and 1992 Waterloo Junior Open. She continued to build her resume with a win at the 1995 Quad City Women’s Amateur and a runner-up finish at the Iowa Women’s Amateur.

As a member and captain of the Iowa State University (ISU) women’s golf team, Bader was a medalist at the 1993 Northern Illinois Huskie Invitational and was the team’s most valuable player in 1993-94. Bader also was a runner-up at the Big Eight Championship and is the only player from ISU to earn All-Big Eight honors for two years. In 1996, Bader was named ISU’s Female Athlete of the Year. Bader earned her bachelor’s degree from ISU in 1997 in Sport Management.

Bader never missed a tournament in her stellar ISU career (42-straight meets), ranking among the top-100 players nationally throughout the majority of her time in Ames. Her 24 career top-10 finishes is still an ISU record.

“This is quite an honor,” Bader said after hearing of her induction. “I remember starting out in Eldridge. My sister and I would hit balls into a field, pick them up and do it again. That brings back a lot of memories for me. Playing in Iowa toughened me up. I became one of the best players in tough conditions. I was never a great ball striker, but I could play in those tough conditions. I had a great imagination that helped my short game. I owe a lot to growing up and playing in Iowa.”

Following college, Bader continued her outstanding career on the Futures Tour for four years before earning her card onto the LPGA Tour (2000-20012), as one of the few native Iowans to compete in the pinnacle of women’s golf. She played on the LPGA Tour for more than a decade, totaling over $1 million in career earnings and competing in 26 major championships. Her best finish in a LPGA event was a tie for fourth at the 2007 LPGA Corning Classic.

“Beth was an incredible athlete for ISU but, an even better teammate and individual to coach,” Bader’s college coach Julie Manning said. “She had an infectious personality and was a true leader. She loved to compete and was an athlete that loved competing for the win when the competition was tight and the pressure was on. She was a ‘gamer’ and loved to win tournaments and championships. She always represented ISU with class and was a true sportswoman, sustaining relationships to date, from her days on the ISU fairways.”

John Benda

John Benda’s impact on the game of golf far outreaches the borders of Iowa.

Growing up in Clear Lake and then Humboldt, Benda had a fondness of the game of golf early on. He would captain both his high school team in Humboldt in 1965 and then the 1967-1969 Iowa State men’s golf team. From 1969-1986 Benda worked with the ISU Cyclone Country Junior Golf Camp and from 1971-1986 was a professional instructor. Over those 17 years he is credited with teaching the game to approximately 2,400 junior players.

While teaching the game to so many, Benda also played on various professional tours around the world, finishing high several times. Benda toured until 2011 making stops along the Asian Golf Circuit/Asian Golf Tour, the European Tour, the Australian/New Zealand Tour and the European Senior Tour. Benda twice qualified for the The Open Championship (1979, 1980) and claimed victories at the 1973 Iowa Open and 1985 Waterloo Open.

“This is a huge honor,” Benda said on receiving news of his induction into the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame. “I have always considered myself as an Iowan. I was born, raised and learned the game in Iowa. Golf was special in the generation and time I grew up in. To be part of this (Iowa Golf Hall of Fame) is overwhelming and to be recognized is emotional for me.”

Benda’s greatest achievement and impact in golf was his role in growing professional golf in Asia.

“John Benda, when he arrived in 1972, started to spread the word to U.S. pros to come play the Asian Circuit,” a 2009 Golf World article stated. “From this start he would serve many administrative duties for the Asian Golf Circuit, culminating with being Executive Director from 1992-1998.”

For 16 years Benda’s resume in Asia included the following:
1974 – Assistant to the Asia Golf Circuit Coordinating Director.
1975 – Elected President of the Asia Golf Circuit Tournament Players Division and gained a seat on the Executive Committee of the Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation, the governing body of the Asia Golf Circuit.
1988 – Appointed the Asia Golf Circuit Coordinating Director.
1992 – Appointed the Executive Director, a position he held until retirement in 1998.

“As a young golfer with aspirations of playing on the PGA Tour, my travels took me to Southeast Asia in 1988 for participation on the Asian Golf Circuit,” 2004 Open Championship winner Todd Hamilton said. “During my five years of participating on The Asian Golf Circuit, John was its Coordinating Director. If you needed visa help – you talked to John, a good restaurant – you talked to John and any help with your putting – you definitely talked to John. He was our calming influence when things didn’t work out as quickly as we all would’ve liked. For all of this, I owe John Benda a small debt of gratitude. His work off the course allowed me to focus on the course.”

Jerry Smith, a 2017 Iowa Golf Hall of Fame inductee and PGA Champions Tour Member, commented that he honestly does not know anyone coming out of the State of Iowa who has had a bigger influence on the game of golf worldwide than Benda.

“The early years of the Asian Golf Tour was very unique and touched hundreds of players each season,” Smith said. “It was the process going through the Asian Tour that players then would move onto the Japan Tour, the Australian Tour, the South African Tour, the South American Tour and the PGA Tour. I would imagine that people from the State of Iowa do not fully understand the impact John Benda has had worldwide with professional golfers. John Benda is a by-product of the rich Iowa golf heritage that went out and onto a bigger stage to impact the game of golf as we know it today.”

“A huge part of my life is having that involvement with players that have gone on to great things, even though it was a small part,” Benda humbly said.

Judd Gibb

Judd Gibb, originally from Fort Dodge, has been household name in the state for many years. Not only is Gibb described as a a highly esteemed teacher of the game, he also is an tremendous player – excelling within the Iowa Section PGA and nationally.

“I am overwhelmed when I look at those names in the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame,” Gibb said. “I know so many of them and am honored that my name will be added to that list. I have been so lucky to have helped and worked with people who helped me along the way. It’s fun to look back at with all the junior players I have been able to help. Golf is a great game.”

Gibb, a five-time Iowa PGA Player of the Year and two-time IPGA Teacher of the Year, has competed in a total of 12 National Club Professional Championships in addition to three National Assistants Championships. He was also a four-year letter winner (1992 team captain) at Iowa State University, participating in the team’s first two NCAA Regional Championships. This year will mark the third time Gibb will tee it up with the ‘big boys’ at the John Deere Classic on the PGA Tour, previously playing in 1999 and 2010. Gibb, who won the 2004 Herman Sani Tournament and is a two-time Iowa Section PGA Champion (2009, 2019), is currently the Director of Instruction and Tournament Coordinator at Lakeside Golf Course, Fort Dodge, and a Ping Golf Tech Representative.

“Judd has had a remarkable teaching career and I have seen first-hand his considerable skills,” Iowa Golf Hall of Fame member Ken Schall, PGA said. “He led a junior winter camp in Ankeny called Operation State Champ for nearly 10 years and exposed hundreds of aspiring junior players to the game.”

Schall also marveled at Gibb’s playing ability.

“Judd has a tour quality tempo to his swing that makes me marvel over how far he can move the ball with seemingly no effort,” Schall said. “I am sure that those of you who have played with Judd would agree that he is an absolute pleasure to play golf with. Judd has touched a lot of golfers and has been a great ambassador for the game in Iowa.”

The Iowa Golf Hall of Fame is administered by the Iowa Golf Association on behalf of all golf organizations in and around the state, such as the Iowa Section PGA and the Iowa Golf Course Superintendents Association.

The nomination and induction process consists of two committees, the Nominating Committee and the Voting Committee.  The Nominating Committee determines the eligibility of nominees submitted by the general public as well as identifies individuals to nominate.  They finalize the ballot. The Voting Committee has the task of researching and studying those on the ballot and casting votes for induction. The Voting Committee consists entirely of individuals who are current members of the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame.  

The three individuals mentioned above will be enshrined at Wakonda Club in Des Moines at a date TBD.

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