On Friday, October 29, the IGA Board of Directors named recipients of the 2021 Annual Awards in six categories. We are pleased to announce this year’s honorees.
9-Hole Superintendent – Jeff Rokusek, Sheldon Golf & Country Club
Jeff Rokusek, of Sheldon Golf & Country Club, has been named the 2021 IGA 9-Hole Superintendent of the Year.
With the golf course becoming an area of high traffic – membership up 23% in 2021 – one constant has been Sheldon’s Golf Course Superintendent, Rokusek according to Jason Hengeveld, Club President.
“He’s done nothing but an impeccable job making the course his own,” Hengeveld said. “From improving green quality and receptibility to adding several landscape features around the course to create a more unique experience, Jeff works very hard.”
Rokusek’s tireless work ethic and attention to detail are just a couple of attributes that set him apart according to several members of the club.
“We are lucky to have Jeff,” one member said.”You’d be hard-pressed to notice that we went through the worst flood not so long ago based on the excellent condition the course is today.”
18-Hole Superintendent – Matt Reifert, Whispering Creek Golf Club
Matt Reifert, of Whispering Creek Golf Club, is the 2021 IGA 18-Hole Superintendent of the
Ever since Reifert joined the staff at Whispering Creek GC members and guests alike have seen a level of professionalism, quality and course improvements that have not been enjoyed before.
With six leagues, two high school teams and a college men’s and women’s golf team utilizing the facility, in addition to the numerous events the clubs hosts, Reifert and his team keep the course in excellent condition.
“Other courses might have better layouts, or architects, but I would match the conditions at Whispering Creek against anyone,” Christopher Rants said. “When Matt wants to, no one’s greens roll faster or better – and that’s not a boast I take lightly.”
In 2021, Reifert undertook a task of making improvements to several bunkers around the course and removal of a cart path around the lake on #18 and replaced it with turf thereby reducing the odds of a tee shot bouncing off the asphalt and going into the water.
Reifert’s ability to build a team that has come back as a cohesive unit year after year has also not gone unnoticed by many.
“Matt is great to work for and is always open to ideas that one might have,” Assistant Supt. Dan Conway said.
9-Hole Course of the Year – Dyersville Golf & Country Club
The IGA 9-Hole Course of the Year in 2021 is Dyersville Golf & Country Club.
To say Dyersville Golf & Country Club has withstood the test of time is probably an understatement. The club, over the last 95 years, as gone from the original 40 acres with sand greens and has evolved into 60 acres with 9 manicured fairways, smooth greens and hundreds of trees with dozens of varieties.
Led by a volunteer board, with all positions filled by members, DG&CC has grown membership of all ages with multiple membership options. The pride shown in the club by its members can be seen in many ways – from impromptu workdays to planting and upkeep of the flower beds and birdhouses around the property.
“Not to mention we have a robust amount of public play from a 50-mile radius,” members Todd and Becky Steffen said.
When the clubhouse roof needed fixed, members didn’t go silent. They responded in mass by raising more funds than initially thought was needed and volunteered labor to complete the project that elevated the club to new heights.
It’s safe to say there’s something special going on at Dyersville Golf & Country Club – and has been for almost 100 years.
18-Hole Course of the Year – BVU Golf Course at Lake Creek
Buena Vista University Golf Course at Lake Creek, in Storm Lake, has been selected as the 2021 IGA 18-Hole Course of the Year.
With its ‘Golden Anniversary’ on the horizon in June 2022, BVU Golf Course at Lake Creek has seen quite the amount of momentum with what staff and members are doing to ensure the future of the club as a place to play and a key member of the Storm Lake community at large.
Junior golf, corporate outings and tournament play are all highlights from this past year at BVU Golf Course at Lake Creek. With the return of the Lake Creek Amateur in 2020, following a seven-year hiatus, paid internships and the establishment of a Legacy Fund among other endeavours there are several exciting things happening at the course.
“Our commitment to the members remains as promising as it was for the founders here a half-century ago,” Director of Golf Operations Joe Powell said. “Having the BVU connection with Lake Creek has been so beneficial. We have been able to provide experiences for students here in management, accounting, purchasing, member relations and more.”
PGA Pro of the Year – Mark Egly, Des Moines Driving Range
Mark Egly, of Des Moines Driving Range, is the 2021 IGA PGA Professional of the Year.
Egly (right), who possibly has put more players on the golf course than anyone for over 40 years in Iowa, is a familiar face around the state as well as at his Des Driving Range – where he can be found almost everyday.
From donating countless hours of his time to make sure a young golfer has a golf bag and maybe a few clubs to begin their journey into the game, Egly’s love of the game is endless. Egly has taught some of the state’s best to ever play the game, but also taken the time to work with that golfer who has never touched a club before.
“Mark does so much for golfers in Iowa,” PGA Apprentice David Ellis said. “From junior to senior golfers, both men and women, I see almost daily the requests for his time from so many entities and I have never heard him say no yet. Mark has also been an ally for Iowa golf at the state capitol on behalf of golf for decades, dealing with members of both parties relating to property taxes, tourism and the game of golf having the right to be responsibly open during the last couple of years while the state dealt with Covid-19.”
Egly is a true ambassador of Iowa golf and works hard to keep it front and center to the public.
“Mark works tirelessly to encourage community members, young and old, to pick up the game of golf or work on their individual games,” Nick Ahlquist said. “His support and service, especially for young golfers, is unmatched and an essential piece to their success both on and off the course.”
Club Manager of the Year – Lance Marting, Dubuque Golf & Country Club
Lance Marting, of Dubuque Golf & Country Club, is the 2021 IGA Club Manager of the Year.
An energizing leader, Marting has met the ever-changing landscape of the golf world head on. As an ‘ad hoc’ general contractor for a multi-million dollar capital project, which now provides year-round amenities and activities at DG&CC, Marting through it all has been able to maintain high service standards, improve member satisfaction and oversee a stretch of unprecedented growth in membership.
“I have always known Lance to be very professional, while adding the right balance of humor and storytelling to entertain our members,” Head PGA Professional Dave Edwards said. “He worked directly with our construction partners on a daily basis to make sure the project was completed in mid-July, on our 12-month construction timeline.”
It was noted that Marting’s ability to develop and maintain positive relationships with clubs members and their guests is just one of his award-winning qualities.
“He always does what is needed to ensure all members have a great time, which leads to high levels of satisfaction and retention,” Edwards said.
NOTE – The IGA Annual Awards Banquet is scheduled for Friday, December 17th at Glen Oaks Country Club in West Des Moines. We will communicate a schedule of events to the public, including price to attend, as soon as we finalize all of the remaining details.