Month: December 2022

‘Up and Down’ the Iowa Golf Scene – Standard Golf’s roots run deep

Standard Golf Capitalizes on its Iowa Heritage to Become a Leading Global Golf Provider

Cedar Falls-based Standard Golf Company features a success story that only those with Iowa roots can fully appreciate. In 1910, Standard Manufacturing Company launched a business producing steel farm gates and a range of related agricultural products, including automatic hog waterers. Today, more than 110 years later, the company has transformed into the world’s most complete manufacturer and distributor of golf course accessories, offering more than 4,000 unique and innovative products for golf courses across six continents. 

“We manufacture, sell and distribute anything and everything that a golf course superintendent needs to get their courses ready for play,” said Matt Pauli, Standard’s Vice President and Director of Marketing. “And our roots are clearly deep within Iowa’s agriculture heritage and closely aligned with the customs, traditions, and work ethic of everyday Iowans. The basic mold used in the classic golf ball washer was the same mold we used decades ago to make the hog waterer for farmers.”

Pauli, a Michigan native, joined Standard Golf in 2014 following a 15-year career in sales and marketing in the Chicago area. He met his wife, Lory, a Denver, IA native in downtown Chicago as they were watching their respective alma maters, the University of Michigan, and the University of Iowa, play football.

Hundreds of thousands of golfers use Standard’s products multiple times over the course of a round of golf – and likely do not even know it. “The average golfer probably doesn’t realize the depth and breadth of our products – but the superintendents, PGA professionals, driving range owners, general managers, customers and others responsible for equipping a course sure do,” Pauli stated. 

Standard Golf’s catalog of products includes its bread-and-butter staples such as ball washers, bunker rakes, club washers, cups, driving range products, flags and flagsticks, signs, tee markers and yardage markers. The lineup also includes divot mix caddies and storage, fixtures and benches, hole cutters and shells, marking paint, rope and chain stakes, spike cleaners, trash containers, and water stations, among many others. 

Each major accessory is offered with multiple styles, colors and options, designed to suit various needs and budgets. For example, Standard features six styles of bunker rakes along with various handle lengths and material to include wood, aluminum, and composite. The result is what manufacturers label as SKU’s (stock keeping units) that compound across the product line to total more than 4000 accessories, course maintenance tools, customized products and parts.

Standard’s pedigree in the business is well documented. The company provides flags for three of the four major championships, for the Ryder Cup and Solheim Cup, as well as for the vast majority of the United States Golf Association’s nearly 100 championships. And it has a core business remains the golf course superintendent and local golf course.

“We provide products to courses in all 50 states, 206 countries and across six continents,” said Pauli. “We have 250 distributors and added a warehouse in The Netherlands so we can deliver products to customers in Europe within five days.”

The proud Iowa company was founded in 1910 by Walter K. Voorhees and a handful of local Cedar Falls businessmen. About 15 years later, golf equipment was added to the product line and this formula continued for decades. In 1971, the agricultural and miscellaneous lines of business were sold, transitioning to a sole focus on golf. Robert Voorhees and Maynard Voorhees (sons of Walter) assumed control of the company as the second generation, followed by Robert’s son, Peter Voorhees, who served as President until 2018, when the three-generation family business was sold to employees, making it a 100 percent employee-owned firm. Peter Voorhees continues service as chairman of the board, and Scott Hottle assumed the role of President. One of the core tenants of the company is being a good corporate citizen. Standard Golf and the Vorhees Family Foundation made a generous commitment to the Golf House Iowa project. 

Innovation, old fashioned work ethic and nimble manufacturing capabilities are characteristics that have served the company well throughout periodic challenges. In 1992, a fire destroyed the original building on East Fourth Street in Cedar Falls. Six months later, a new 75,000 square foot facility opened in the Cedar Falls Industrial Park, where it operates today. In 2020, the industry was turned upside down with the global pandemic.

“I remember attending the 2020 PGA Show in Orlando, and just a few weeks later, Covid-19 exploded, and everything came to a grinding halt,” Pauli said. “We had virtually no sales for about three months. But then our engineers, product developers and staff came together and developed the no touch golf products that hit the market within a few months and helped courses stay open. In fact, golf got a huge shot in the arm during the pandemic, things quickly rebounded and so many new people were introduced to the game.”

The National Golf Foundation estimates there are 25 million “traditional” golfers playing at least nine holes in 2022, and some 40 million when the off-course playing – simulators, public driving ranges – are factored in. A record 529 million rounds were played in 2021, a five percent boost from the Covid surge of the previous year. that some 33 million rounds were played in 2021, up appreciably from 2019 and 2020 figures. Pauli and those interested in growing the golfing public hope that many of the new golfers remain interested in the game. 

As for the future, Pauli maintains that Standard is well positioned to again adapt to changes and provide new and innovative products for its customers. “We’ll continue to find new ways to assist golf course superintendents and driving range operators to make their work easier and the enhance the experience of all golfers.”

Today Standard Golf Golf has transformed into the world’s most complete manufacturer and distributor of golf course accessories, offering more than 4,000 unique and innovative products for golf courses across six continents.

“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
Arseneault Finds Fulfillment in Life’s Next Chapter After Competitive Golf
Ivan Miller remembers the days of the Minnows
Kinney adjusts to life on tour

2022 IGA Annual Awards Banquet Recap

The 2022 IGA Awards Dinner took place Thursday, December 8 at Terrace Hills Golf Course in Altoona. It was an enjoyable night with several deserving honorees and award winners in various categories being celebrated for their efforts.

The following individuals and courses were honored –

PGA Pro of the Year – Jeff Moore, Finkbine Golf Course

Club Manager of the Year – Deb Jaycox, Spencer Golf & Country Club

9-Hole Superintendent – Scott Rohlfsen of Jesup Golf & Country Club

18-Hole Superintendent – Anthony Mieske, Crow Valley Golf Club

9-Hole Course of the Year – Gateway Recreation, Inc., Monroe

18-Hole Course of the Year – Fort Dodge Country Club

George Turner Distinguished Service Award – Rick Brown, Pleasant Hill

Sean Flanders Volunteer of the Year Award – Carolyn Frescoln, Norwalk

Player of the Year – Nate McCoy, Ankeny (View video)

Senior Player of the Year – Mike McCoy, Norwalk (View video)

Super Senior Player of the Year – Pat Ryan, Marshalltown (View video)

Read more about the Men’s Players of the Year

Women’s Player of the Year – Ruby Chou, Ames (View video)

Senior Women’s Player of the Year – Laura Leszczynski, St. Mary’s (View video)

Read more about the Women’s Players of the Year

Junior Girls’ Player of the Year – Bella Pettersen, North Liberty (View video)

Junior Boys’ Player of the Year – Maxwell Tjoa, Cedar Falls (View video)

Read more about the Junior Players of the Year

IGA bestows 2022 GTDSA upon Rick Brown

Rick Brown ponders the action in one of the hundreds of Iowa Golf Association tournaments over his 37-year career as a sports writer with The Des Moines Register.

A passion for the game. An appreciation and deep understanding of what it takes to play at a high level. A life-long love affair for the game. An ambassador for Iowa golf. Long-time Des Moines Register sportswriter/columnist and Iowa golf envoy Rick Brown embodies these qualities – and captures the spirit and essence of such by being honored with the Iowa Golf Association’s 2022 George Turner Distinguished Service Award.

For nearly 40 years, Brown served as Iowa’s foremost golf writer, columnist and historian in his role at the Register. The position took Brown to the pinnacle of golf’s professional events, covering nearly two dozen majors and three Ryder Cup contests, including the 2006 staging at the K Club in Klidare, Ireland, featuring the debut of Iowa native Zach Johnson. Two years later, Brown covered the 2008 Masters Tournament where Johnson was the defending champion.

“The entire Augusta experience was just awe-inspiring,” Brown said. “I grew up watching The Masters and dreaming of going down Magnolia Lane. To actually be there was surreal – I felt as though I was walking on air the entire week. And to see this kid (Johnson) from Cedar Rapids and Drake University compete against the best players in the world was phenomenal.” 

But Brown also relished his assignments covering Iowa’s major tournaments, such at The Fort Dodge Amateur, The Northwest Amateur, Herman Sani, The Iowa Masters and Iowa Amateur, among others.

“To be honest, I enjoyed covering Iowa’s tournaments just as much as the PGA Tour,” Brown stated. “I’ve always admired and respected Iowa’s top amateurs as they competed with their heart and soul. There’s nothing like being there on the final round of the tournament with the title on the line.”

Brown’s contributions to the IGA are extensive. In 2019, following a year of meticulous research, the book “Golden Harvest – Iowa’s Rich Golf History” was released. A 450-page treasure trove, the book traces the more than a century of the game’s history in Iowa, sharing remarkable stories and achievements.

“We owe Rick a debt of gratitude for the painstaking research he invested to tell our Iowa golf story,” noted Mike McCoy, Iowa’s most decorated amateur golfer.

Brown currently serves on the IGA’s Hall of Fame selection committee, communications committee and has written several stories for the website. 

Rick Brown poses with Iowa native Zach Johnson and the Claret Jug, symbolic of Johnson’s triumph in the 2015 Open Championship. Brown will receive the 2022 George Turner Distinguished Service Award at the IGA’s annual awards banquet December 8 at Terrace Hills Golf Course in Altoona.

Brown retired in 2015 following a 37-year work career spent entirely at the Register. He was named Iowa Sportswriter of the Year 11 times as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association and won six first-place writing awards from the Iowa Associated Press Managing Editors. He was inducted into the University of Iowa’s Kinnick Wall of Fame in 2016 and enshrined into the Iowa Golf Association’s Hall of Fame in 2017. 

A native of Fort Dodge, Brown’s career path may have been predestined. His late father, Bob Brown, served as sports editor of The Fort Dodge Messenger for many years. As a youngster, he would listen to athletic contests on the radio and keep a box score as the game was broadcast. As a high schooler, he worked the Messenger sports desk on Friday nights taking phone calls from coaches and writing capsule summaries of area football and basketball games. He spent two years at Iowa Central Community College before receiving undergraduate and graduate degrees in journalism from the University of Iowa. A 37-year career at The Des Moines Register began in 1978. Brown will be recognized during a ceremony on Thursday, December 8, at Terrace Hills Golf Course in Altoona.

“Golf has been such a wonderful element of my life for so many decades,” Brown said.

Decorated Iowa golf sportswriter Rick Brown poses on the Hogan Bridge with the backdrop of Augusta National’s iconic 12th hole in the background. Brown was among a select group of golf writers who received the honor of playing Augusta National the day following the 2008 Masters Tournament.

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