Month: January 2021

Iowa Golf Hall of Fame Class of 2021 announced

The Iowa Golf Hall of Fame will add three members in 2021, bringing the total number in the Hall of Fame to 89. Those three include Chad Proehl, Jerry Johnson and Jim Carney. These three individuals will be enshrined during a ceremony later this year (Date TBD). Details for the event are still being worked out, but it is the hope of the IGA that a ‘double-ceremony’ can be held honoring the Class of 2020 and 2021. The ceremony for the Class of 2020 was postponed until this year due to concerns about the coronavirus with travel and congregating in large groups. We will post details regarding the induction as soon as they are finalized.

Chad Proehl
Chad Proehl (right), originally from Atlantic, continues to add to his distinguished playing and teaching career. A 1985 Iowa High School champion and 1990 All-American at Grand View University, Proehl, has proven to be one of the top players in not only the Iowa PGA Section but also nationally.

Proehl has competed in 14 National PGA Club Professional Championships, won the Iowa PGA Section Championship three times, two-time Iowa PGA Match Play Champion, three-time Iowa PGA Section Player of the Year, Herman Sani Champion, 12-time Iowa Cup Team Member, 2019 Iowa Section Senior Champion, two-time Iowa PGA Senior Player of the Year, has played in four PGA Tour John Deere Classic Tournaments and competed in four PGA Champions Tour events.

Proehl, who has been the PGA Teaching Professional at Sugar Creek Golf Course (Waukee)for the past 12 years, has also made a positive impact on the game of golf in Iowa through his instruction.

“Chad’s contributions to the game go beyond his playing accomplishments,” Iowa PGA Section Executive Director Greg Mason said. “Chad spent the majority of his early career in golf as a Head Professional or Director of Golf. His time was spent teaching, mentoring and guiding those respective facilities. Chad continually has been a volunteer for wherever the Iowa PGA needed assistance including our Iowa PGA Junior Academy.”

Aaron Krueger, Immediate Past President of the Iowa PGA Section and Director of Golf at Des Moines’ Wakonda Club echoed Mason’s words on what Proehl has meant to the game of golf in Iowa.

“Working as a Head Professional, Director of Golf and Teaching Professional, Chad has touched many lives over his 30-year career,” Krueger said. “A passion to teach and a passion to compete are the trademarks of him professionally. His infectious smile, friendly disposition and outgoing personality are the trademarks of him personally.”

Jerry Johnson
Jerry Johnson (left with wife Deb) stood tall and always put the game of golf first.

Following a brief career in the banking industry, Jerry Johnson changed gears and entered the golf business, becoming a PGA apprentice under Keith Hannan at Mason City Country Club in 1976. From 1980-1985 he was the Head PGA Professional at Lake Bracken Country Club in Galesburg, IL. When Joe August retired as golf professional of Marshalltown’s Elmwood Country Club in the fall of 1985, Jerry was hired to take over the reins. He enjoyed working at Elmwood C.C. for 29 years before retiring on December 31, 2014, achieving “Life Membership” status in the PGA of America.

Following retirement, Jerry stayed active in giving back to the game – serving on the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame Nominating Committee, Iowa PGA Strategic Planning Committees and other activities.

Jerry, who passed away in July of 2020, will be remembered most for his passion in promoting the game of golf to the Marshalltown community. Be it a listening ear while golfers recounted their rounds to him, spending many hours giving lessons on the practice tee, administering golf events, teaching area high school golf teams and P.E. classes in proper swing execution and golf etiquette, and helping to implement the Swings with Kids program in Marshalltown schools, he wanted to share his love of the game and impart its many life lessons.

“His contributions to the game are unsung and not always seen,” Greg Mason, IPGA Section Executive Director said. “He has been in my ear for 15 years to find a way to grow our game with all of our allied associations. I believe if you truly examine his career you note that Jerry never put himself first. He always put his family first, his members first, his PGA Professionals first, but always put the good of the game at the top of that list!”

Jerry’s love of competition also fostered years of participating in amateur and professional tournaments. Two highlights include playing in the Quad Cities Open twice and the National PGA Club Professional Championship four times.

Jerry was also very instrumental in the success of the Lennox / Quakerdale Pro-Am Invitational, held at Elmwood CC. His contributions behind the scenes have helped the event raise more than $2,000,000 in the 30+ years at Elmwood.

“Golf has always been an incredible passion for Jerry and it showed time and time again as the attendees, including all the many PGA professionals that participate annually, have always experienced a great time,” Lee Eft, General Chairman of the Lennox / Quakerdale Pro-Am Invitational said. “He was always a pleasure to work with and worked tirelessly to make the event a great success.”

The Iowa Golf Association named Jerry the Golf Professional of the Year in 1990. That same year he was named Iowa PGA Merchandiser of the Year by the Iowa PGA. Jerry held the office of President of the Iowa PGA from 1991-1993 and was chosen by his peers in 1992 as the Iowa Section PGA Professional of the Year. In 2016 he received the IPGA Horton Smith Award.

“You will be hard pressed to find someone within the state that doesn’t know who Jerry Johnson is,” Jay Giannetto, PGA Professional at Elmwood CC said. “It would be even more difficult to find someone who doesn’t love and respect who he is as a person. Jerry’s passion for golf and his desire to help people is truly inspirational.”

Jim Carney
Jim Carney (right), originally from Centerville, began his dominance on the golf course in the early 1960s and continued to be a feared, yet well-respected opponent for decades.

Carney captured the 1964 Iowa High School Individual championship and added the Iowa Junior championship a year later in 1965. Carney also added his name to the national stage in 1965, advancing to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship at the Country Club of California. Over a four-year period in high school, Carney was medalist in 18 straight meets.

Three years later, following numerous wins around the state including a 1967 Northwest Amateur victory, Carney, at the age of 19, won the 1968 Iowa Amateur at Dubuque Golf & Country Club. In 1970, as a member of the University of Iowa golf team, Carney qualified for the NCAA Championship and finished runner-up in the NCAA long drive contest (lost to Bobby Valentine – future PGA Tour player).

Carney was selected to play on the Army Golf Team in 1970, being one of six chosen. Those other five selected went on to play professionally on the PGA Tour. Carney served in the U.S. Army from 1970-1972. Following his service, Carney attended and graduated from Drake University Law School in 1975. From 1965-1975 Carney won over 100 one-day 27-hole ‘Minnow’ tournaments across the state.

“Jim’s playing record speaks for itself,” Iowa Golf Hall of Fame member Ken Schall said. “The mere fact that he won a State High School Championship, a State Amateur and a State Junior puts him in rarified air.”

Not only was Carney’s playing resume excellent, his contributions off the course to the game of golf in Iowa continue to be nothing short of tremendous.

As an attorney, Carney has been crucial over the years surrounding legislative efforts and golf, such as tax issues and environmental restrictions. He has also been a main point of contact in development of an “Iowa Golf Day” at the statehouse.

“Jim committed everything he had into building a successful law practice and the time he used to spend golfing was spent in the law library preparing for trials,” Iowa Golf Hall of Fame member Mike McCoy said. “His dedication and professionalism were yet another example of how life should be lived. I have no doubts that had Jim continued to commit his time to golf his impressive list of wins would be much longer.”

In 2020, Jim was an invaluable resource for clarifications on proclamations issued by the Governor surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. It is not a stretch to say that from late March to late May 2020, the IGA, on behalf of the Iowa Golf Council, was on the phone with Carney three to four times a week gaining some clarification on how golf courses were allowed to operate. We know that he played a large part in keeping our sport up and operating when many other businesses were forced to shut down.

It is also worth noting that Jim has performed this work on behalf of the IGA and golf pro-bono, and even makes substantial contributions to many golf-related endeavors, in addition to his volunteer work. He has proven his dedication to the game of golf over and over again, and for that the game of golf in Iowa is much better off and extremely grateful.

“These are just some of the examples of Jim’s generosity and commitment to golf and his love of the game.,” Iowa Golf Hall of Fame member Dave Sergeant said. “Jim has done these things quietly and without seeking any accolades or recognition. He’s been a humble giant in doing all this.”

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.

Iowa Junior, Girls’ Junior moves to three-day championship

The 2021 Iowa Junior and Girls’ Junior Amateur Championship will look different than previous years – but only by a day.

Both championships, set to be held at Ames’ Coldwater Golf Links June 21-23, will be contested over 54-holes in three days. In the past the event has been a 36-hole championship over two days for the oldest age divisions.

Most of the IGA’s major championships are 54-holes championships and both the Men’s and Women’s Rules and Competitions committees felt that the Iowa Junior and Girls’ Junior Amateur should mirror those events.

“This change was done first and foremost to elevate the status of the championship. Moving to a 54-hole event mirrors our other major events, like the Iowa Amateur, Women’s Amateur, and Senior Amateur,” said IGA CEO/Executive Director Chad Pitts.

It is also worth noting that the Iowa Junior and Girl’s Junior Amateur will have one division (18 & under). This was a change that the committees felt would elevate the event and make it unique to juniors in Iowa, as it reflects what the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship currently looks like, where 14 and 15-year-olds truly compete with 17 and 18-year-olds.

“It was a very tough decision to eliminate the younger age divisions from this championship. As the Allied Golf Association of the USGA we wanted our state junior amateur to more closely resemble that of the national championship, which does not have age divisions,” added Pitts. “Plus, these kids all play high school golf against one another no matter if they are freshman or seniors, so we feel that part won’t be very foreign to them at all.”

Although we know that this may discourage some younger players from participating right away, we hope that it gives them something to look forward to as they develop as players.

“The hardest part was eliminating the very young age divisions – the 13 and under divisions – because we know those kids are very unlikely to enter the event now,” said Tom Christensen, immediate past chairman of the IGA Rules & Competitions Committee. “Thankfully, our state has a wealth of playing opportunities for the youngest golfers with the Iowa Section PGA Junior Tour, so we will work to promote those events even more than we have in the past.”

Did you know – The Iowa Golf Association recently obtained two new permanent trophies that will include the names of each champion from the past going forward.  We are excited to unveil those at this year’s championship.


Iowa Golf Hall of Fame member Lonnie Nielsen passes away

Iowa Golf Hall of Fame member Lonnie Nielsen, originally from Belle Plaine, passed away on Wednesday, January 20, 2020, at the age of 67.

Nielsen is remembered for his enjoyment of music, playing cards, telling jokes, and eating ice cream. To know him was to love him. He was known for his infectious smile, quick wit, and sense of humor.

Nielsen grew up playing on sand greens in Belle Plaine and went on to attend the University of Iowa. He won several amateur events in Iowa, including the 1975 Iowa Amateur, and was named Iowa Player of the Year that year.

He turned pro in 1976 and competed for a brief time on the PGA Tour highlighted by two top ten finishes before pursuing a career as a club pro. Nielsen was a dominant player in the Western New York Section PGA winning its Section Championship nine times and the Match Play Championship 10 times from 1984 through 2002

Nielsen played the PGA Champions Tour beginning in 2006 through 2017, winning two titles and has amassed almost $5 million in winnings. Nielsen’s best year was 2008 when he finished 11th on the money list with over $1.2 million in cash.

He was inducted into the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame in 2010.

Memorial Service:
Nielsen’s family plans to honor him at 9 a.m. (10 a.m. EST) on Monday, January 25th, in New York (you can find details by clicking on the obituary link below).  You can view a live stream of the service by visiting In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to PGA REACH WNY ( or the Association of Frontotemporal Degeneration ( 

Click here to view an online obituary for Nielsen.

We encourage you to share condolences and your favorite memories of Lonnie in the comments section below. We will share these memories with his wife Mary Jo and the Nielsen family.

Youth on Course sees early success in Iowa

Time sure flies – and success continues to grow.

As you may or may not know, in 2018 Iowa became the 21st state to offer Youth on Course. Youth on Course (YOC) started in 2006 by the Northern California Golf Association. At its most basic level, it is a program that subsidizes rounds of golf for juniors at participating courses. It has become very popular and, in 2014, the NCGA began expanding the program to other states and regions, spreading essentially from west to east. Recently it was announced that YOC will soon be available in all 50 states.

Many IGA Member Clubs that offer the program, from across the state, have seen tremendous success since it’s launch in 2018, including Hunters Ridge Golf Course (Marion), Jester Park (Granger) and AH Blank, Waveland Golf Course and Bright-Grandview Golf Course (Des Moines). Any junior boy or girl age 6 to 18 can join Youth on Course for a $15 yearly fee. A YOC membership allows them access to any participating Youth on Course facility (there are over 1,200 nationally) to play a round of golf for $5 or less.

“Youth on course has lowered the cost barrier for families who are interested in getting kids involved in golf,” Rocky Sposato, General Manager / COO of Terrace Hills Golf Course, Waveland Golf Course, AH Blank Golf Course and Bright-Grandview Golf Course said. “It (YOC) has made a huge impact on the future of the golf industry by making golf affordable and accessible for our future golfers.”

Youth on Course in Iowa continued to grow in 2020 as membership grew 73%, while rounds played increased by 60% across all participating facilities.

“We have a good number of kids that utilized the program and have really done the advertising and marketing for us,” Nate Severin, Club Manager and PGA Professional at Hunters Ridge said in regards to the spike of YOC rounds at his course. “I think the best way to have success with this program is making sure the kids and parents have a firm grasp of the rules of when they can/can’t play. Every professional/club manager likes to see kids getting into the game of golf. It’s nice to see parents getting behind them and introducing the sport of golf. It also gives the parents a nice discount on letting the kids tag along for a quick nine, or make it a full 18 on a nice evening.”

Jeff Chiodo, PGA Professional at Jester Park GC, also commented that developing relationships with members of YOC is important in the success of the program.

“It’s been important to us (at Jester Park) to develop those relationships and make sure they feel wanted at the course,” Chiodo said. “We like to ask them how they played after the round and about their experience. We have the Par 3 course here as well, which helps. We are able to direct kids as best we can either to the Par 3 course or the main course based on playing ability, pace of play, but also making sure they feel comfortable when they are here.”

Chiodo also mentioned he uses a variety of avenues to promote the program including through social media, email marketing, junior camps held at Jester Park GC and through his involvement with PGA Junior League.

Currently, Iowa has 30 courses throughout the state that participate in Youth on Course but would like to add more.

“We are hopeful that more courses will sign up as a participating facility,” said IGA CEO/Executive Director Chad Pitts. “The program is great because you can set certain times when YOC rounds can be played so you can drive traffic to your non-peak hours. Plus, it has been shown that roughly 50% of all YOC rounds are played with an adult who pays a full fee, so it truly does become a win-win for the course”.

If you are interested in signing up as a participating facility, please fill out this link or contact the IGA office and we can get you all the details.

For more information about Youth on Course in Iowa visit

2021 Boatwright Internship Opportunities with the IGA

The Iowa Golf Association (IGA) is excited to offer three (3) P.J. Boatwright Internships in 2021 – Championship Administration, Handicapping & Course Rating and Marketing & Communications. Each internship will be for four months. Working under the direction of the IGA Executive Director and senior staff, the interns will learn about all aspects of amateur golf administration.

Individuals are more than welcome to apply for multiple internship positions – If doing so, please make sure to fill out each application (available below). If you do apply for multiple internships, the IGA will reach to you for your preferred choice.

The IGA is an Allied Golf Association (AGA) of the USGA and is the governing body for golf in the state of Iowa.  It exists as a non-profit organization that works to preserve, protect and promote the best interests and spirit of the game.  As “caretakers” of the game the IGA works to preserve the rich history of golf in our state and to provide numerous services that benefit all that play the game in Iowa.

In 1991, the USGA established the P.J. Boatwright Jr. Internship Program. P.J. Boatwright (pictured above), the USGA’s third executive director, played a pivotal role in both the USGA and golf in the U.S. This program is designed to give experience to individuals who are interested in pursuing a career in golf administration, while assisting state and regional golf associations in the promotion of amateur golf, on a short-term, entry-level basis. At the IGA, Chad Pitts, Katelynn Hogenson, Nate McCoy and Clint Brown are all former Boatwright interns.

The deadline to apply is Monday, March 8th or until position(s) are filled (whichever is later).

Click the links below to view the 2021 Intern job description and instructions for applying.

– Championship Administration Intern

– Handicap & Course Rating Intern

– Marketing & Communications Intern

Iowa’s Snyder finishes T10th at Women’s Orlando International Amateur

Britta Snyder (pictured right), of Ames, recently competed and finished T10th place at the Women’s Orlando International Amateur (Jan 3-5). Snyder posted rounds of 72-74-71 – 217 (+1) at Orange County National Golf Center & Lodge – Panther Lake.

The Women’s Orlando International Amateur championship is an annual golf tournament gathering high-level amateur golfers – most of whom are current collegiate players – from the United States of America and abroad. The tournament was played in Orlando, Florida, and included a large field of female golfers who competed over a 54-hole stroke play championship, playing 18 holes per day.

Snyder is currently a freshman on the Baylor University women’s golf team.

Click here to view results

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