Month: March 2022

‘Up and Down’ the Iowa Golf Scene – Arseneault Finds Fulfillment in Life’s Next Chapter After Competitive Golf

Jennie (Arseneault) Jackson relaxes on the golf course with her daughters Ava and Maya. Arseneault stays in touch with the game by serving as an instructor and has helped coach seven central Iowa prep students to earn Division I golf scholarships.

Set goals, work hard to achieve them, and enjoy the ride

Fifteen years ago, Jennie (Arseneault) Jackson’s golf stock was soaring.

During a magical summer of 2006, the then 18-year-old made a strong run at the U.S. Women’s Amateur, reaching the quarterfinals by defeating future LPGA player Tiffany Joh and five-time Solheim Cup participant Carlota Ciganda in the process. Two weeks earlier, she participated in the 61st U.S. Women’s Open Championship won by Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam, joining a select group of amateur players who qualified.

Also that summer, Arseneault captured her third consecutive Iowa Women’s Amateur Championship at Des Moines Golf and Country Club by firing a 54-total of 210.

That fall, she headed back to the University of Virginia for her sophomore season. The sky seemed to be the limit for this former prep phenom who had prepared for this moment by attending two of the world’s top golf boarding academies as a teenager and building a national reputation with strong performances in several American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) tournaments.

At the age of 15, she burst onto the junior golf radar by firing a 67 in the first round of the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship in Fort Worth, TX. In 2005, she was named to the 12-member United States squad for the PING Junior Solheim Cup led by Morgan Pressel and contested at Bridgewater Club in Indiana, where the US team defeated Europe 16-8. She was named a second-team Rolex Junior All-American that year.

After a highly-decorated junior golf career, Jennie (Arseneault) Jackson went on to star at the University of Virginia.

Now as a collegian, Arseneault’s golf achievements kept mounting. She won the prestigious Women’s Western Golf Association Amateur Championship, was the qualifying medalist at the North and South Amateur Championship and finished tied for 34th at the NCAA Women’s Championship, all in 2008. She was a two-time All-Atlantic Coast Conference performer and honorable mention All-American.

Arseneault was on the doorstep of a budding professional golf career. But a back injury that first struck in 2007 and caused her to miss much of that season began to flare again and forced her to re-evaluate what had been a life-long ambition.

“From as far back as I can remember, my ambition was to play professional golf,” Arseneault said during a recent interview in her hometown of Grinnell.

“If I couldn’t make it on the LPGA Tour, then the next best was becoming a golf coach,” she said.

Upon graduation from the University of Virginia, Arseneault found herself at a crossroad. Her recurring back issues were becoming more frequent, and professional developmental playing opportunities for women were limited to the Futures Tour, where making ends meet without sponsorships or other financial backing would prove challenging.

She gave Plan B a try and became an assistant golf coach at the University of Oklahoma and Tulane University. After a few years, Arseneault grew weary of the travel and the compound effect of living and breathing golf for so long.

The Larry and Jennie (Arseneault) Jackson family pose for a photo outside their Grinnell home.

“Golf was my whole life for so many years,” she said. “I was spending at least six hours a day in my prime, playing, practicing, and working out to become to best player I possibly could be. I began to wonder what life would look like after golf.”

Enter Larry Jackson, a Dallas native and elite athlete in his own right. Jackson, a banking executive, scored 1,539 points during a four-year basketball career at Liberty University to rank among the school’s career scoring leaders. The couple would marry, raise a family, and relocate back to Grinnell. Today Arseneault enjoys her role as Mom to four daughters, Deja, who played Division I basketball at the University of Pennsylvania, Naomi, a third-year student and basketball player at Washington University in St. Louis, and Ava, 9 and Maya, 7 at home in Grinnell.

“I’m a mom first right now,” said Jennie, who works in the Office of Development and Alumni Relations at Grinnell College.

In her role as Alumni and Donor Relations Coordinator, she builds engagement and partnership opportunities with alumni athletes and works with the Grinnell College Athletics Hall of Fame.

Her competitive fires burned early, being raised in a family deeply rooted in athletics. Her father, David, was named basketball coach at Grinnell College in 1989, relocating the family from New Hampshire. David Arseneault’s Pioneer teams would attract national attention with its high-octane offense, shattering numerous NCAA Division III scoring records. Her brother, David, Jr., is now the head coach at Grinnell, and once held the national record for assists in a game at 34.

Arseneault was introduced to the game at age five and learned to play by completing hundreds of rounds at the 9-hole Grinnell College Golf Course. By junior high, she was shooting even par, and it became apparent that something special in the making. After her first year of high school, the family made a big decision. She was off to the International Junior Golf Academy in Hilton Head, SC, a high-performance golf boarding school that combines golf training with college preparatory academics.

There, she met instructor Hugh Royer III, a well-seasoned golf professional who played ten seasons on the PGA and Korn Ferry tours and won four times on the Korn Ferry Tour. Arseneault credits Royer for advancing her game to national heights. After two years in South Carolina, she received a scholarship to the world-renowned IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL for her prep senior season. Established in 1978, IMG is touted as the world’s largest and most advanced multi-sport training and educational facility that boasts Venus and Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Cam Newton, and Jimmy Butler as alumni. In golf, sisters Jessica and Nelly Korda and Paula Creamer are program alumna.

Arseneault stays in touch with the game by serving as an instructor and has helped coach seven central Iowa prep students to earn Division I golf scholarships. She has also volunteered with the Grinnell College women’s golf team. The Jacksons are members of Wakonda Club in Des Moines, and she plays occasionally.

Jennie has the following advice to junior golfers.

“Set goals, work hard to achieve them, and enjoy the ride,” she advised “But keep the big picture in mind as to what life looks like after golf. What are your long-term goals and how can athletics help you get there?”

“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.

Click the links below to read previous Up and Down features
IGA Rules Official Sean Flanders
R&A, USGA Champion Gene Elliott
Nervig Reflects on Decades of Service to The Iowa Masters

Look and see what facilities will be open

The following IGA Member clubs have communicated with us they either are or will be open soon:

  • A.H. Blank Golf Course (Des Moines) will be opening starting Tuesday, March 15.
  • Amana Colonies Golf Club will be opening Friday, March 25th. Cart path only. Shoulder season rates. Tee times available at
  • Bright-Grandview Golf Course (Des Moines) will be opening starting Tuesday, March 15.
  • Brown Deer Golf Club (Coralville) is hoping to open Saturday, March 19. March Special rate will be in effect and likely cart path only for the first few weeks. Call for tee times starting Thursday, March 17 – (319) 248-9300.
  • Cedar Creek Golf Course (Ottumwa) will be open for the Season WITH carts effective Tuesday March 15. Range will NOT open until the following week.
  • Dodge Riverside Golf Club (Council Bluffs) is open. Currently cart path only. Off season rates currently.
  • Duck Creek and Emeis (Davenport) will open this Sunday the 20th at 8:30 a.m., for walking only. It will probably be a few days before they are able to allow carts.
  • Finkbine Golf Course has set their tentative open date for Friday, March 25.
  • Fort Dodge Country Club is opening this Wednesday, March 16th. Open daily at 10 am. Range available with paid rounds. Spring rate – Greens Fee $44 Cart (per player/seat) $16.50 – Call (515) 955-8551.
  • Jester Park Golf Course (Granger) will be opening starting Tuesday, March 15.
  • Oakland Acres Golf Club (Grinnell) will be opening the course on Thursday, March 17. Early season pricing everyday (including weekends).
  • Palmer Hills Golf Course (Bettendorf) will open Thursday, March 17.
  • Pheasant Ridge and Walter’s Ridge – Par 3 (Cedar Falls) plans to open Saturday, March 18.
  • Prairie Links Golf Course (Waverly) will be opening Wednesday, March 16, at 11:00 a.m.
  • Rice Lake Golf & Country Club (Lake Mills) will open on Tuesday, April 4 for the season.
  • River Valley Golf Course (Adel) will open Sunday, March 20. Call (515) 993-4029 for rates.
  • Stone Creek Golf Club (Williamsburg) will open Friday, April 1st, and will be open from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Mon.-Sun. the month of April.
  • Terrace Hills Golf Course (Altoona) is open for the season.
  • The Legacy Golf Club (Norwalk) will be open this week on Wednesday, March 16th through at least Thursday, March 24th.
  • The Preserve on Lake Rathbun (Moravia) will open Thursday, March 17, with carts. Shoulder Season rates will be in effect. Call (641) 724 1400 for tee times.
  • Tournament Club of Iowa (Polk City) s targeting March 25th as our opening date. Tee times can be made online only at
  • Treynor Recreation Area will open Wednesday, March 16 officially.
  • Twin Pines Golf Course (Cedar Rapids) will open Tuesday, March 15. Hours 8 a.m. – dusk. Tee times are encouraged – Call (319) 286-5580. Carts in rough only.
  • Veenker Memorial Golf Course (Ames) is opening for play this Wednesday, March 16/ Reservations can be made via phone (515) 294-6727 or through the website
  • Veterans Memorial Golf Club (Clear Lake) will be opening Thursday, March 17 for walking only to start.
  • Wandering Creek Golf Club (Marshalltown) is on Wednesday, March 16, for walking only until the grounds dry up enough for carts.
  • Washington Golf & Country Club will be looking to open on April 1, weather permitting.
  • Waveland Golf Course (Des Moines) will be opening starting Tuesday, March 15.
  • Westwood Golf Course (Newton) will open for play Wednesday morning, March 16, at 11 a.m. Tee times recommended. No cart restrictions. $26 for 18 holes including cart – Call (641) 792-3087.
  • Woodland Hills Golf Course (Des Moines) will be opening March 15, with rates of $39 for 18 with cart and $37 when booked online this is 7 days a week while we are in spring rates.

Click here for more information on all of our member courses.

Be sure to check back for updates to this list!

Feel free to email [email protected] with
updates to your course/facility opening this year!

Mike McCoy, Zach Johnson to share special 2023

Written by Rick Brown, Iowa Golf Hall of Fame member

I don’t know how many rounds of golf I’ve watched Zach Johnson (right) and Mike McCoy (left) play during their distinguished careers. I do know it’s well into three figures.

And I don’t know how many stories I wrote about them during my time as the golf writer at the Des Moines Register. Again, it’s well into triple digits.

I chased them on golf courses for years, chronicling their success in Iowa, the United States, even Ireland. I covered them in a wide range of events, from the Sani to the Masters in Augusta.

They have been and always will be two of my favorites, for reasons that go beyond the fact that they were outstanding golfers and gave me plenty to write about. They are gentlemen golfers, humble and first class in every way. They never refused my interview request, and were always gracious with their time. They were, as the saying goes, Iowa Nice.

And as their list of accomplishments grew, they never forgot their golfing roots here in Iowa. They’ve always brought a bright spotlight to this state with their play. And the lights will shine even brighter in 2023.

Johnson will serve as captain of the United States Ryder Cup team in Rome. And McCoy will serve as captain of the Walker Cup team at St. Andrews.

“Can you believe that Iowans will captain the Ryder Cup and Walker Cup in the same year?” said Chad Pitts, executive director of the Iowa Golf Association.

This is a proud moment for Iowa, as well as the state’s underrated but robust golf community. Johnson’s 12 PGA victories include the 2007 Masters at Augusta and 2015 Open Championship at St. Andrews. He’s played on five Ryder Cup teams and had a winning record (8-7-2).

“He’ll do anything to help the team win, first of all,” said Davis Love III, the U.S. captain in 2012 and 2016. “He’s a great teammate. And he always plays well, too. Guys look up to him and respect him.”

Tom Lehman was Johnson’s first Ryder Cup captain, in 2006 at the K Club in Kildare, Ireland.

“It’s been fun to watch him play and cheer him on and be happy for all the things he’s accomplished,” Lehman said. “He’s come such a long way and done so much. If he was a really nasty person it would be pretty easy to not care so much. But because he’s such a great human being and such a wonderful guy, you feel like every success that comes to him, he deserves it.”

McCoy’s pinnacle achievement was winning the 2013 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship at Birmingham Country Club in Birmingham, Ala. That victory got him into the 2014 Masters.

A year later, McCoy’s distinguished national career was recognized when he was named to the 2015 Walker Cup team. Closer to home, Mike won the Iowa Amateur six times and has been the Iowa Golf Association’s Player of the Year 11 times.

McCoy will become the second native Iowan to serve as Walker Cup captain. Dr. Edgar Updegraff, who grew up in Boone, captained the 1975 team. That competition was also at St. Andrews. McCoy does know a little bit about St. Andrews. He played there in the 2018 Senior British Open.

Johnson and McCoy are two guys who cut their golfing teeth in the state at an early age, and then took a big bite out of the competition.

McCoy was 10 years old when he became a caddy at the Wakonda Club in Des Moines.

Caddies got to play on Monday. The pro at Wakonda at the time, Jack Webb, took McCoy under his wing. Bill Rose, another pro at Wakonda, later became McCoy’s instructor and helped him elevate his game.

Johnson was also introduced to golf at the age of 10, joining pro Larry Galdson’s junior program at Elmcrest Country Club in Cedar Rapids. Zach’s instructor during his high-level career, Mike Bender, is another Iowan. Webb, Rose, Gladson and Bender are all in the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame alongside McCoy and Johnson.

Johnson and McCoy’s success stories are anchored by hard work, and a bulldog mentality. Johnson was never the No. 1 on the golf team at Drake. When his college career ended, he had to decide whether to pursue professional golf or fall back on his business and marketing career.

He decided to give golf a try, since he’d experienced improvement every year and now had an opportunity to devote himself to the game on a full-time basis.

“Everything that came with being a professional golfer, I was willing and able to do it,” Johnson said.

Golf, not business and marketing, became his calling card and opened the door to a career that is taking him to the Ryder Cup in a third capacity. First as a player, then a vice-captain, and now captain.

Success wasn’t a given for McCoy on the golf course, either. Growing up on the south side of Des Moines, he’d carry his golf bag to the city bus stop, then catch a ride to the A.H. Blank course to play. He fought through some tough times early in his career. But as he improved, his zest for competition grew as well.

“You can always improve on something, and I did love the competition,” McCoy said. “I loved surprising myself. And I would beat players that were older than me and better than me. That kept me going right into college (at Wichita State). That’s when things started breaking free for me, and I could see myself becoming a good player.”

I had the good fortune to cover McCoy and Johnson at the 2014 Masters. It was a pinch-me moment, watching two of Iowa’s greatest players ever at one the game’s great shrines. It all came into focus on the Tuesday of tournament week, when Johnson and McCoy played the front nine together in a practice round..

I can still remember interviewing McCoy in a room outside Augusta National’s locker room after the second round and thinking to myself, “We’re not in Iowa anymore.”

Nine years later, Johnson and McCoy will share the title of captain at two of the sport’s elite events. Just two guys from Iowa.

Elliott honored with resolutions at Iowa State Capitol

Iowa’s Gene Elliott (shown above) was recognized by both the Iowa House of Representatives (House Resolution 109Watch here) and Iowa State Senate (Senate Resolution 104) Thursday morning. The resolutions honored Elliott for his recent success at the U.S. Senior Amateur and R&A Senior Amateur Championship in 2021, as well as other achievements on and off the course.

Elliott became only the second player to claim both the R&A Senior Amateur Championship and the U.S. Senior Amateur Championships in the same season, joining Paul Simson of Raleigh, NC, who accomplished the feat in 2010. Only one other Iowan has claimed the U.S. Senior Amateur title, that being Boone native Dr. Ed Updegraff in 1981. He is also one of only three players to win the U.S. R&A (United Kingdom) and Canadian senior amateur championships.

Elliott’s extraordinary year propelled him to the number one position as the globe’s top-ranked senior amateur player, according to the World Amateur Golf Rankings and

Iowa’s Mike McCoy named 2023 Walker Cup Captain

Mike McCoy during the flag raising ceremony at the 2015 Walker Cup at Royal Lytham & St. Annes G.C. in Lytham St Annes, Lancashire on Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. (Copyright USGA/John Mummert)

Iowa’s Mike McCoy will lead the 2023 U.S. Walker Cup Team as Captain the USGA announced this morning. McCoy, who participated in the Walker Cup in 2015 as a player following his win at the 2013 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship, will captain the Walker Cup Team at the Old Course at St. Andrews, St. Andrews, Scotland, Sept. 2-3, 2023.

The Walker Cup Match is a 10-man amateur team competition between the USA and Great Britain and Ireland. The birthplace of golf, the Old Course at St. Andrews, has hosted eight previous Walker Cups, more than any other venue.

The news comes on the heels of another Iowan, Zach Johnson, being named as Captain of the U.S. Ryder Cup Team in 2023. As previously reported, PGA of America President Jim Richerson recently announced that Johnson will serve as Captain for the 44th Ryder Cup, which will be played September 25-October 1, 2023, at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome, Italy.

“Quite a deal, huh,” McCoy said. “It’s very exciting. I had to pinch myself when I got the call. I knew I was under consideration, but you never know. There are a lot of worthy candidates (for Captain). I am just honored for this opportunity and very fortunate.”

McCoy joins Dr. Ed Updegraff, originally from Boone, as the second Iowan to captain the Walker Cup Team. Dr. Updegraff was the 1975 Walker Cup Captain and was selected to the team as a player three times. The 1975 Walker Cup was also hosted at the Old Course at St. Andrews, when the USA defeated GB&I, 15½-8½, led by future U.S. Open champions Jerry Pate and Curtis Strange. .

“It’s a fairytale stuff when you start to think about it,” McCoy said of being a Walker Cup Captain from Iowa. “I am looking forward to getting to know these young players we will take over there. I just want it to be a great experience for them. That’s a big part of the job – make sure it’s a memorable time. It’s an honor to play for your country and that’s the message I am going to try and convey.”

An 11-time Iowa Golf Association Player of the Year, McCoy was a collegiate golfer at Wichita State University and has competed in 65 USGA championships, including 20 U.S. Amateurs.

“We’ll put together the best team we can and competes hard over there,” McCoy Said. “We’ll try to keep the Walker Cup in the U.S.”

Kerrigan joins IGA as Director of Competitions

The Iowa Golf Association would like to announce that Karli Kerrigan, of Ankeny, has joined the staff as Director of Competitions. Kerrigan will be in charge of the administration of IGA Championships, USGA Qualifiers, and support for the Rules of Golf and Golf Genius Software, a tournament software utilized by IGA Member Clubs.

Kerrigan replaces Ben Larson who recently accepted a role with the Epson Tour as a Manager of Rules & Competitions. The Epson Tour, previously known as the LPGA Futures Tour, and known for sponsorship reasons between 2006 and 2010 as the Duramed Futures Tour and between 2012 and 2021 as the Symetra Tour, is the official developmental golf tour of the LPGA Tour. Tour membership is open to professional women golfers and to qualified amateurs. The Epson Tour administers 21 regular season events and also Stage 1 and 2 of Final Qualifying School.

Kerrigan, who you might remember served as a P.J. Boatwright intern in 2019 and 2020, has most recently been a full time graduate student at Grand View University studying Organizational Leadership and working as a Graduate Assistant for the Grand View’s Sports Information Director. Kerrigan also worked at Glen Oaks Country Club this past summer in an effort to stay involved in the game of golf along with playing whenever she could.

“I’m thrilled to be back at the IGA and working with everyone there,” Kerrigan said. “I’m excited to play a small role in expanding the game of golf in Iowa and be surrounded by driven, like-minded individuals along the way. The IGA has played a large role in helping me get more involved in golf whether it be as a player or an intern and I’m looking forward to all that will come from this new opportunity.”
Kerrigan will start as a part-time IGA employee while she finishes her Masters degree at Grand View.  She will transition to full-time in early May.
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