Month: December 2023

‘Up and Down’ the Iowa Golf Scene – For Love of the Game

Charlie Taylor, pictured with grandson Cam, has made contributions that were magnified multiple fold as the dream of building Golf House Iowa began to unfold in recent years.

Love of the Game, Service to Others Propel Charlie Taylor to IGA’s 2023 George Turner Award

When Charlie Taylor was introduced to the game of golf by his late father, Heinrich, in the mid-1960’s, it was love at first sight. Nearly 60 years later, his romance with the game continues at a torrid pace.

A passion for the game, willingness to serve and a desire to promote and strengthen Iowa golf for future generations are all ideals that catapulted Taylor to receive the Iowa Golf Association’s prestigious George Turner Distinguished Service Award for 2023.

The IGA renamed its distinguished service award after the iconic Iowa golf ambassador George Turner in 2003 and has been presenting the award since 1985. This year’s recipient embodies the standards and qualities of the award through more than a decade of service to the Iowa Golf Association Foundation, and more recently, for his leadership role in making the dream of a Golf House Iowa facility become a reality.

“To receive this award and to be included among such a distinguished list of past recipients is a great honor for me and my family,” said Taylor. “The game of golf is a journey, not a destination, and I consider my work with the IGA along those same lines. We have much more work to do, and I’m very excited about the future of the IGA.”

Taylor was part of two consecutive state golf tournament teams at Dowling Catholic in the early 1970’s, and qualified as an individual in 1974. As he was building a work career, golf was more of a casual endeavor until his youngest son, Rob, became interested in the game. The pair played their first IGA tournament together in 2007, The Ottumwa Amateur, and were hooked. Today, Taylor plays in several IGA sanctioned events each year and finished the 2023 season ranked 12th on the IGA Super Senior Point Standings, including a tie for fifth showing at The Carroll Amateur.

“We both learned that through competition that you have to count all your shots, play by the rules, respect your fellow competitors and act like gentlemen on the golf course,” Taylor said. “These are transformational lessons. The game is rare among life’s pursuits because it teaches you so much about yourself, your strengths, and your flaws.”

A passion for the game, willingness to serve and a desire to promote and strengthen Iowa golf for future generations are all ideals that catapulted Taylor to receive the Iowa Golf Association’s prestigious George Turner Distinguished Service Award for 2023.

In 2011, Taylor (right) was asked to join the Iowa Golf Association Foundation Board of Directors. His volunteer work included serving as a starter, scorer, and spotter at various IGA tournaments, as well as providing legal work on the spectacular Golden Harvest history book authored by long-time Des Moines Register golf writer Rick Brown.

But Taylor’s contributions were magnified multiple fold as the dream of building Golf House Iowa began to unfold in recent years. A member of the Golf House Iowa campaign committee, Taylor made a leadership financial commitment to the project, and has provided invaluable legal, real estate and construction expertise as the project advanced from rough blueprints in 2019 to a projected grand opening in late spring-summer, 2024. The University of Iowa law graduate spent nine years in private practice, and the past 35 years as General Counsel for The Graham Group in Des Moines, specializing in real estate and construction projects. Add in his past leadership roles with The Variety Club, Dowling Catholic Foundation and Blank Children’s Hospital and Taylor was a perfect fit for his impactful role with Golf House Iowa.

The multi-purpose facility is designed to showcase the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame and Museum, promote junior golf, and provide office space for the Iowa Golf Association and the IGA Foundation. In addition, the facility will also have the capacity to host meetings/seminars for rules, Iowa Golf Course Superintendents Association, The First Tee, and other related activities/organizations all with the goal to advance and promote golf in Iowa.

Taylor credits his high school classmate at Dowling, Michael Coppola, as a catalyst for the launch of Golf House Iowa by making the lead cash gift, providing the land and site utilities, a combined commitment valued at nearly two million dollars.

“Many people brought wonderful and divergent skill sets to work on Golf House, but somebody had to provide the forward momentum, and that someone was Michael,” he stated. “Michael has said Golf House will be the platform for the Iowa Golf Association to do its best work…and its best work is to empower young men and women through the game. We aspire to be the national model for what these facilities can accomplish when a community comes together.”

Taylor looks toward the future with optimism and credits his wife Debra “for being very supportive with my addiction to the game of golf.”

“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
– Standard Golf’s roots run deep
– Pettersen sets sights high
– McCoy, Norton Put Iowa Stamp on Florida Senior Golf
Moreland Reflects on his Extraordinary Club Pro, Playing Career
From Sibley to the LPGA Tour – Barb Thomas Whitehead Fulfills Her Dream
At 88 Years Young, Cleo Brown Remains a Fixture at the Principal Charity Classic, IGA Events

2023 IGA Annual Awards Banquet Recap

The 2023 IGA Awards Dinner took place Friday, 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 – Scott Nugent, Ames Golf & CC

Club Manager of the Year – Rheanne Kinney, Wakonda Club

9-Hole Superintendent – Rande Giesking, Gruis Recreation Area

18-Hole Superintendent – Chris Coen, Glen Oaks Country Club

9-Hole Course of the Year – Sibley Golf & Country Club

18-Hole Course of the Year – Rice Lake Golf & Country Club

George Turner Distinguished Service Award – Charlie Taylor, Des Moines

Sean Flanders Volunteer of the Year Award – Cleo Brown, Urbandale

Special Recognition of 2023 U.S Walker Cup Captain – Mike McCoy, Norwalk

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

Senior Player of the Year – Joe Palmer, Norwalk (View video)

Super Senior Player of the Year – Bob Brooks, West Des Moines (View video)

Read more about the Men’s Players of the Year

Women’s Player of the Year – Paige Hoffman, West Des Moines (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 – Chloe Bolte, Sumner (View video)

Junior Boys’ Player of the Year – Braeden Nelson, West Des Moines (View video)

Read more about the Junior Players of the Year

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