Month: February 2022

Iowa Golf Hall of Fame ceremony set for May 13th at Wakonda Club

The Class of 2022 Iowa Golf Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will
take place at the Wakonda Club in Des Moines on Friday, May 13th

The Iowa Golf Hall of Fame will induct three members at this year’s ceremony. The Class of 2022 inductees includes Barb (Bubany) Berkmeyer, Mark Egly, and Charles Pribble. The Iowa Golf Hall of Fame will now have 92 total members that have helped shape Iowa Golf. The new inductees will be recognized with a plaque in the Iowa Golf Association’s office and their accomplishments will be highlighted on our website.

Click here to read more about Barb, Mark, Charles and their accomplishments

The basic schedule for the ceremony will include a social hour with food starting at 6:00 p.m. The induction should begin around 7:00 p.m. and finish approximately at 8:30 p.m.

Immediate family members of the inductees are guests of the Iowa Golf Association and they do not need to pay for a ticket to attend the event. This includes parents, spouses, children and grandchildren.

The cost for a ticket to the event will be $60/person and can be purchased online.

The deadline to sign up for the public is May 3rd. You can click here to sign up to attend, or you can call the Iowa Golf Association office at 515-207-1062.

Congratulations to each inductee and welcome to the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame!


‘Up and Down’ the Iowa Golf Scene – Nervig Reflects on Decades of Service to The Iowa Masters

John Nervig stands in front of the venerable Iowa Masters scoreboard, where each player’s hole-by-hole scores are displayed. This summer, Nervig will be part of his 70th Iowa Masters, as a competitor, tournament director and honorary official.

A Masterful Performance

When Ames native John Nervig first teed it up in the Iowa Masters golf tournament, Harry S. Truman was completing his second term in the Oval Office, a polio epidemic was gripping the United States and gasoline averaged $.20 cents per gallon.

This summer, the 85th edition of the Iowa Masters will be contested at Veenker Memorial Golf Course in Ames. Remarkably, Nervig has been part of the action for 70 of those events, first as a player, followed by a tournament director/co-director and now as an honorary official.

The 86-year-old Nervig first played the Masters in 1952. Starting in 1958, he reeled off 50 consecutive years of playing in the tournament, a record that stands alone today. He has the distinction of participating in 52 overall Iowa Masters events, a record he shares with long-time friend and former Iowa State Cyclone basketball and broadcasting legend Gary Thompson.

“There’s something special about the Iowa Masters golf tournament,” said Nervig. “It’s a combination of a challenging golf course, great tradition, well-run tournament featuring volunteers and staff who love the game and players who love to compete and renew the great friendships developed over the years.”

John Nervig poses with his hometown friend and long-time Iowa Masters tournament co-director, the late George Turner.

Established in 1938, long-time Iowa State Sports Information Director Harry Burrell capably managed the Iowa Masters for 40 years. In 1988, Burrell turned the reins over to Nervig and his fellow Ames native and good friend George Turner. Together, they co-directed the tournament for more than 30 years until Turner’s passing in 2019. They formed an extraordinary tournament staff, including clubhouse manager Tess Balsley, club professional Greg Dingel, former greenskeeper John Newton and the late Jerry Martinson, volunteer chair who also served as co-director for many years. A veteran committee included the likes of Mike Casey, Mike Purcell, Sean Flanders, Grant Walker and the late Jim Curell. On the tournament’s 75th anniversary, and in recognition of decades of service, Turner and Nervig received honorary life memberships to Veenker.

One of Nervig’s proudest achievements in his seven decades of involvement in the Iowa golf scene is being named the 2011 recipient of the George Turner Distinguished Service Award by the Iowa Golf Association.

“It was a fantastic honor to receive this award named after my great friend,” Nervig said. “All of the friends I have made through my years of volunteering have more than paid me back for the hours I have given.”

He also served several years as a member of the IGA Board, including President from 1985-87. In addition to playing many rounds with the iconic Turner, they also formed an intramural basketball team in the early 1950’s that scrimmaged the Iowa State freshmen squad during those days when first-year players were ineligible for varsity competition.

Nervig notes several changes over the years, both in the course layout and the tournament format.

“Veterans recall the tiny clubhouse and holes one and eighteen set apart from the rest of the course,” he noted. “Then the 13th Street road project came through that caused some hole redesign.”

Also gone are the five-hour plus rounds, aided by more volunteers, spotters, and a reduction of the field from 224 players to 156 players.

Although he played golf as a youngster, making many trips around Ames’s 9-hole Homewood layout, it took a significant health issue to reroute Nervig’s primary interest. He was a founding member of the Ames Merchants fast-pitch softball team and was a solid hitting and fielding third baseman. As a young man, Nervig was stricken with a case of Colitis, serious enough to cause a three-week hospital stay in Iowa City and two major re-sectioning surgeries. The subsequent Crohn’s Disease caused some life changes, including giving up softball. He turned his full attention to golf.

“I really didn’t think I’d live to see 30 years of age,” Nervig said. “But the silver lining in all this was the fabulous connections made through the game of golf.”

Nervig was a highly competitive golfer, winning three Ames City Championships and charting a pair of top 10 finishes at the Masters, including a 54-hole total of two-over par 218 in 1972. He also claimed at least 20 titles during the now bygone era of small town one-day golf tournaments, capturing titles in places like Nevada, Jewell, Story City and Ackley, where he once fired an 18-hole score of 59. Nervig was among the favorites in those venues, except when Eldora’s Ivan Miller was in the field. Billed as “The King of the Minnows” for winning more than 100 of such events, Miller was recently inducted into the Iowa Golf Association Hall of Fame.

“When Ivan was in town, we all knew we were playing for second,” Nervig recalled.

Nervig retired in the year 2000 following a 42-year career with the Iowa Department of Transportation in Ames. He and his wife, Patti, raised three sons.

He offers this parting advice.

“The game of golf is a lot like the game of life. You have far more good days than bad days and just give it your best effort.”

“Up and Down” the Iowa Golf Scene

A regular feature column written by IGA Foundation board member Mark Gambaiana, Up and Down the Iowa Golf Scene is designed to take the reader beyond the headlines and scoreboards to share stories of those who help make Iowa golf so rich and rewarding. Profiles will spotlight those who advance the game through volunteerism, service, extraordinary achievement, competition, human interest and the many other dimensions of golf in Iowa.

IGA volunteer, course rater Jim Grinaldi passes away

James (Jim) Michael Grinaldi, age 69, originally from North Canton, OH and current resident of West Des Moines, passed away in the late evening of January 23, 2022. He was born on April 17, 1952. Jim was a graduate of Oakwood High School in North Canton, OH and received a B.A. in Business from Wilmington College, also in Ohio.

Jim had many interests, but few were he as passionate about as golf. Jim began golfing in high school, but his love for the sport grew throughout his years as a single father and even more so when he found his partner in golf and life, Cathi. He was a member of the Des Moines Golf and Country Club and proudly volunteered for the Iowa Golf Association Golf Course Rating Team. Jim held special appreciation for many other games, including bridge, bocce and billiards, but would play just about anything if he valued the company. He enjoyed traveling, tasting different foods, listening to music, hearing the perspective of others and just experiencing life. Jim cherished his family and was happiest when they could all be together.

A Celebration of Life will be held in Jim’s honor at the West Des Moines Golf and Country Club on Sunday, April 2, 2022. Click the link below for further information.

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