Author: iowagolf

BVU Lake Creek Welcomes Midwest’s Best for Lake Creek Amateur

Above – J.D. Anderson after chipping on to the 18th green at the Buena Vista University Golf Course at Lake Creek during the final round of the 2021 Lake Creek Amateur. Anderson, a two-time Iowa Player of the Year, returns to Storm Lake on Saturday and Sunday, part of a strong 90-player field to tee it up this weekend.

Holiday weekend tournament helps determine IGA Player of the Year

Ninety golfers tee it up this weekend as the Buena Vista University Golf Course at Lake Creek hosts the 2022 Lake Creek Amateur, an official points event for the Iowa Golf Association (IGA).

In November, the IGA named BVU Lake Creek its 18-Hole Golf Course of the Year, an honor that, in part, was due to the work local officials and volunteers had done in resurrecting the Lake Creek Amateur three years ago after a seven-year hiatus.

“We’re very excited to see this weekend’s competition play out as we have a tremendous field of competitors vying for the title,” says BVU Lake Creek Director of Golf Operations Joe Powell, who doubles as Head Coach for the men’s and women’s golf teams at BVU. “Players such as Nate McCoy, the reigning Iowa Player of the Year, will be here, as will past champion J.D. Anderson, another Iowa Player of the Year. A solid corps of the state’s best will be tested by our thick rough, the course’s forced carries, consistent BVU Lake Creek winds, and the intricacies of our signature greens, manicured and brought up to speed in a cool spring season by Superintendent Bob Leinbaugh and his staff.”

Nate McCoy is coming off a one-shot victory over Anderson last weekend in the 37th Iowa Mid-Am Championship hosted at Spencer Golf and Country Club. Anderson, the Iowa Player of the Year in 2017 and 2018, claimed runner-up honors at the Lake Creek Amateur one year ago, falling just short in his bid to become a three-time winner of the event.

McCoy, who serves as Director of Handicapping and Course Rating with the Iowa Golf Association, is familiar with the BVU Lake Creek layout, having competed in previous competitions. His father, Mike McCoy, won the Lake Creek Amateur on four occasions.

Past champ Al Pottebaum also joins the field, a collection dotted with the likes of contenders Jon Olson, the 2014 IGA Iowa Player of the Year, as well as Freddy Bullock, Drew D’ercole, and Storm Laker Aaron Clausen, who returned to amateur competition in 2021 and won the BVU Lake Creek Club Championship in August.

“This is the third year since the return of the Lake Creek Amateur and we’re delighted to have it on the IGA points schedule,” says Chad Pitts, IGA CEO/Executive Director. “BVU Lake Creek is a great test of golf and an early-season event that gives the winner and those who play well some added momentum as our Amateur of the Year competition heads into the summer months. The tournament is also a great chance for folks around Storm Lake to show off a golf course that’s been an integral part of their community for 50 years.”

BVU Lake Creek celebrates the 50th anniversary of its founding with a weekend of special events on June 17-18.

“We are so proud to be back in the conversation in helping to determine Iowa’s Amateur of the Year,” says BVU Lake Creek President Mike Wilson. “Working with wonderful partners like Buena Vista University and the Iowa Golf Association allows our staff, volunteers, and members the chance to welcome guests and visitors not only this weekend, but throughout the entire golf season.”

Visitors to the course just west of Storm Lake will see a clubhouse that’s undergone several renovations in the past several months, updates befitting the IGA’s 18-Hole Course of the Year honor. Competitors in the 2022 Lake Creek Amateur will experience those positive changes while doing their best to tame an 18-hole layout that has challenged and rewarded Iowa’s best golfers in this tournament since 1973.

Past Lake Creek Amateur champions, scores
2021 – Brenden Bassing, Sioux Falls (143…36 holes)
2020 – Jack Evans, Brainerd, Minn. (144…36 holes)
2013 – Matt Weeks, Spirit Lake (213)
2012 – Gene Elliott, West Des Moines (207)
2011 – Kirby Pettitt, Carroll (206)
2010 – Justin Schulte, West Des Moines (207)
2009 – J.D. Anderson, West Des Moines (209)
2008 – Jon Brown, Urbandale (205)
2007 – Kyle Ritchie, Corning (211)
2006 – J.D. Anderson, West Des Moines (204)
2005 – Mike McCoy, West Des Moines (209)
2004 – Scott Quandt, Mt. Carmel (204)
2003 – Ron Peterson, Urbandale (141)
2002 – Ron Peterson, Urbandale (210)
2001 – Kevin Johnson, Urbandale (215)
2000 – Steve Smith, Johnston (207)
1999 – Jim Curell, Boone (205)
1998 – Jason Knutzon, Ames (207)
1997 – Nate Dunn, Manchester (67)
1996 – Ben Pettitt, Carroll (206)
1995 – Mike McCoy, Des Moines (172)
1994 – Mike McCoy, Des Moines (206)
1993 – Jon Brown, Urbandale (209)
1992 – Mike McCoy, Des Moines (206)
1991 – Jay Horton, Ames (207)
1990 – Al Pottebaum, LeMars (208)
1989 – Mike Dunphy, Perry (207)
1988 – Todd Sapp, Lincoln (220)
1987 – Bill Manske, Algona (218)
1986 – Steve Winkel, Algona (215)
1985 – Ned Zachar, Ames (210)
1984 – Greg Tebbutt, Bettendorf (213)
1983 – Dean Kain, Algona (283)
1982 – Gary Claypool, Marion (278)
1981 – Jim Curell, Boone (242)
1980 – Dean Kain, Algona (288)
1979 – Jim Curell, Boone (287)
1978 – Bill Manske, Algona (277)
1977 – Chuck Null, Cedar Rapids
1976 – Julius Boros, Iowa City (139)
1975 – Lon Nielsen, Belle Plaine

1974 – Roger Null, Cedar Rapids
1973 – Larry Castagnoli, Fort Dodge


McCoy’s grit gives him the edge, wins 37th Iowa Mid-Amateur

The 37th Iowa Mid-Amateur Championship, hosted by Spencer Golf and Country Club, concluded on Saturday, May 21. After a weekend filled with tough conditions, Nate McCoy (above) etched his name on the trophy that was named after his father, Mike McCoy.

“It is very special to win this tournament that has a trophy named after my dad, who has won the Iowa Mid-Amateur multiple times,” McCoy said. “There is a lot of great names on that trophy that I am happy to have my name next to.”

Winds were gusting, temperatures were low and rain was falling. The task ahead of McCoy was not easy, but mother nature would not deter him from his first Iowa-Mid Amateur Championship.

“Like many other Iowa golfers, I would say I felt comfortable in the cold and windy conditions that were thrown at us this week,” McCoy said.

As the final round came closer to finishing, there were several players still in contention. J.D. Anderson, of Johnston, and the first-round leader, David Combs of West Des Moines, were neck-and-neck with McCoy.

“When I looked at the leaderboard after the 14th hole, I saw that I only had a one-shot lead going into final stretch of holes,” McCoy said “The wind started picking up which made the final three holes very difficult.”

Anderson was in the clubhouse at one-under and one shot back from McCoy. With the final two holes left to play, McCoy needed two pars to seal the championship.

“I was fortunate enough to make a great up-and-down on 17 from short right,” McCoy said. “I thought I heard some cheers and a honk around 18, which I assumed somebody birdied to tie it up. I had to take a breath knowing that I had two very important shots left in me that I needed to pull off.”

That he did, McCoy finished off the championship with a two-putt for par on the final hole. McCoy picked his ball up out of the hole and officially joined his father as an Iowa Mid-Amateur champion.

All McCoy could do after his victory was give credit to everyone that made it possible.

“This was my first time playing Spencer Golf and Country Club,” McCoy said. “I have nothing but good things to say about the golf course and everything that the staff did to make our experience here enjoyable.”

Anderson finished as the runner-up after posting a solid two-under total in the final round. Back-to-back birdies on 12 and 13 pushed Anderson back into contention.

The Kramer boys still remain as some of the toughest kids on the block. Little brother, J.P. Kramer concluded his week with a third-place finish in the Mid-Amateur Division, but like most big brothers, they always have to one-up the little brothers.

With a two-shot victory in the Senior Division, big brother Chris Kramer used the home course knowledge to his advantage this weekend.

“We both grew up right on the 16th green, so we have played this course thousands of times,” Chris Kramer said. “We were very blessed to have lived up here, our dad just passed away a few months ago, so it was pretty special to see us both in contention.”

“Old Man Par is a patient soul, who never shoots a birdie and never incurs a buzzard,” stated the late Bobby Jones. That was all Bill Mathers, of Correctionville needed to get it done in the Super Senior Division this weekend.

“I had maybe four bogeys and four birdies this week along with a few up-and-downs,” Mathers said. “I was chipping and putting well and making those par putts, which really helps keep the round going. I did my best to keep the ball in play and tried to hit the greens and make putts.”

Since the beginning of the event, Mathers never let off the gas. Steve Kahler, of Marion, and defending champion, Rob Christensen, gave valiant efforts, but ultimately fell short of Mathers.

Kahler placed second after tying Mathers in the final round, but finished three shots behind after a 75 in the first round set him too far back. Christensen, of Marshalltown, jumped up two spots during the last round to finish in third place.

The IGA Senior Match Play is the next event on the 2022 schedule. The championship will take place on June 1-3 at Fort Dodge Country Club.

Mid-Amateur Division
1. Nate McCoy 72-70=142
2. J.D. Anderson 73-70=143
3. J.P. Kramer 72-72=144
T4. Jon Olson 72-73=145
T4. David Combs 70-75=145

Senior Division
1. Chris Kramer 71-69=140
2. Jeff Collett 72-70=142
T3. Eric Losen 72-72-144
T3. Sean Davis 72-72=144
5. Bob Brummel 70-75=145

Super Senior Division
1. Bill Mathers 72-72=144
2. Steve Kahler 75-72=147
3. Rob Christensen 76-73=149
T4. Harold Hickman 75-76=151
T4. James Blackburn 74-77=151

Combs leads 37th Iowa Mid-Amateur at Spencer Golf & CC

The first round of the 37th Iowa Mid-Amateur Championship began Friday morning at Spencer Golf and Country Club. An unexpected battle arose for the players as they made their way around the cold and windy course.

Winds were around 20 to 25 mph with temperatures ranging from 50 to 60 degrees. The greens rolled quickly, and the fairways played narrow, providing the ultimate test for those playing.

“The wind started to pick up a little bit and it’s just cold,” said the opening round leader, David Combs. “It wasn’t as far as tough pins, but just hitting shots and getting comfortable with the greens. It was just cold and one of those days where wind is blowing, and it just doesn’t fly as far.”

Only three players out of all three divisions carded under-par rounds. Combs, of West Des Moines, held onto first place in the Mid-Amateur Division after firing an early morning 70 (-2) in round one.

“I haven’t had a chance to play the Mid-Amateur because I have been coaching in the spring for the last 10 years,” Combs said. “I just focused on hitting shots and putting well on the greens.”

After carding back-to-back 35s on the scorecard Friday, Combs sits ahead of six players who are only two shots back. Nate McCoy, Justin Livingston, Jon Olson, Luke Vermeer, J.P. Kramer, and Bill Matzdorff are all tied for second after posting 70 (E).

In the Senior Division, Orange City’s, Bob Brummel, holds a one-shot lead over Chris Kramer, of West Des Moines through the championship’s first 18-holes. Brummel’s included five birdies.

Kramer, originally from Spencer, caught fire at the end of his round, going three-under in his final eight holes. He sits one stroke ahead of a five-way tie for third place between Kirk Macumber, Joe Palmer, Sean Davis, Eric Losen and Jeff Collett.

Bill Mathers, of Correctionville, posted an even round of 72 in the Super Senior Division to take a two-shot lead into the final round. The second-place holder, James Blackburn, carded a two-over 74 and will look to make up two shots during Saturday’s final round.

The final round will begin at 7:30 on Saturday morning. You can follow the final round using the live leaderboard.

Mid-Amateur Division
1. David Combs 70
T2. Nate McCoy 72
T2. Justin Livingston 72
T2. Jon Olson 72
T2. Luke Vermeer 72
T2. J.P. Kramer 72
T2. Bill Matzdorff 72

Senior Division
1. Bob Brummel 70
2. Chris Kramer 71
T3. Kirk Macumber 72
T3. Joe Palmer 72
T3. Sean Davis 72
T3 Eric Losen 72
T3. Jeff Collett 72

Super Senior Division
1. Bill Mathers 72
2. James Blackburn 74
T3. Harold Hickman 75
T3. Steve Kahler 75
T3. Tom Schill 75

McCoy wins The Classic, Holck & Christensen claim top spots

The reigning 2021 IGA Player of the Year, Nate McCoy (above left), of Ankeny, began his 2022 season with a three-point victory at The Classic, located at Elmwood Country Club in Marshalltown.

The Classic, an additional point event, uses Stableford scoring for the tournament. This unique style of scoring is calculated by points based on the number of strokes per hole in relation to par.

The Stableford format increases the players’ aggressiveness and motivates them to hunt for birdies. Eight points is awarded for an eagle, while a birdie is four points, two for a par and one for a bogey.

“Because of the (Stableford) format, one birdie can move you up quick because of the double points,” McCoy said. “As long as I could eliminate making bogeys and big numbers, I felt confident enough in my game to make birdies.”

McCoy carded a strong 41 in his opening round, but was three points shy of Owen Sawyer, of Cedar Falls. Sawyer recorded two birdies and an eagle in round one, giving him a slight edge over McCoy heading into the final round.

During his final round, McCoy recorded five birdies to surpass Sawyer. McCoy posted 44-points in his final round en route to his first white jacket.

“It’s always nice to start the year off with a win,” McCoy said “You always wonder how you will play coming out of winter. Sometimes you have it, sometimes you don’t. I haven’t played a lot of golf this spring in Iowa, so it’s nice to play well when it matters.”

Sawyer finished runner-up with an 82-point total. He finished two points ahead of Ankeny’s Connor Peck, who managed a third-place finish with an 80-point total.

Curtis Holck (right), of Ankeny, earned his second-straight victory this season with a seven-shot win in the Senior Division. Holck is off to a hot start this year with an early lead in the IGA Senior Player of the Year standings.

Holck carded rounds of 41 and 44 for an 85 Stableford point total. In round one, he recorded a pair of birdies and an eagle. Going into the final round, Holck was two points behind the first-round leader, Ron Peterson.

“I knew that I would probably have to score more points in round two than I did in round one in order to have a chance,” Holck said. “I felt pretty fortunate to only be down two points. I had 33 putts in round one, so I knew if I putted better, I should be able to score more points. I went back to Ankeny Golf and Country Club and met with my son, who is the assistant professional, and he saw a couple of things in my set up and we got that straightened out and Sunday was much better on the greens.”

Holck stormed back into first place after making five birdies in the final round. Overcoming the two-point deficit and winning the tournament by seven shots was a confidence booster for the rest of the season for Holck.

Rob Christensen (right), of Marshalltown, won the Super Senior Division in a dominating fashion. Christensen fired a 41-point total and led the field by 10 shots after the first round at his home course. With a 10-point cushion heading into the final round, Christensen cruised to his first victory of the season.

“I came close (to winning) several years in the Senior Division,” Christensen said. “This year I finally got the white coat. It’s great to win on my home course. I got the big lead by shooting under my age the first day. It’s always good to do that but especially in a tournament. Lucky for me nobody really went low (on Sunday).”

Open Division
1. Nate McCoy 41-44=85
2. Owen Sawyer 44-38=82
3. Connor Peck 39-41=80
4. J.D. Anderson 37-42=79
5. Kelly Brown 40-37=77

Senior Division
1. Curtis Holck 41-44=85
2. Ron Peterson 43-35=78
3. Jeff Collett 38-39=77
4. Tony Newkirk 30-41=71
T5. Troy Underhill 33-36=69
T5. Brian Peterson 32-37=69

Super Senior Division
1. Rob Christensen 41-31=71
2. Pete Kelly 31-32=63
3. Rick Gorbell 28-34=62
4. Mike Ninneman 28-29=57
5. Brian Fell 27-27=54

Click here for full results

Seven from Iowa to be featured at 7th U.S. Amateur Four-Ball

A total of seven players from Iowa will be represented at the 7th U.S. Amateur Four-Ball hosted the the Country Club of Birmingham, May 14-18. This will be the third USGA event at the C.C. of Birmingham in nine years, including the 2013 U.S. Mid-Amateur, won by Iowa Golf Hall of Fame member Mike McCoy.

“The way the members turned out in terms of volunteers (in 2013) and the welcome they provided, they just couldn’t do enough for you,” McCoy said in an interview with the USGA. “It’s nothing but a first-class affair. You’re going to walk away feeling like you have been someplace very special.”

Those representing Iowa include the sides of Jon Brown / Ethan Mechling, Nate Dunn / Marc Gladson, Josh Manske / Aaron Ahrendsen, along with Dennis Bull, who is teamed up with Illinois’ Andrew Price.

Championship co-chairman Barney Lanier, a club member since 1976 who played in three U.S. Amateurs, knows the two courses as well as anyone.

“The East would be the course most played by the members. It’s shorter, with small greens,” he said in an interview with the USGA leading up to the event. “The West is our championship course – longer, quite challenging and more hilly. The routing is identical to the original by Ross except for the 15th and 16th holes, which Jones flipped from a par 4 and par 5 to a 5 and 4. Sixteen of the green sites are identical to what Ross designed. The bunkering certainly has a Dye flavor with some pot bunkers. You would certainly recognize his swales and hills around the greens, which are the defense of the golf course.”

Click here to view tee times for both days of qualifying

College players nab spots into Final Qualifying for U.S. Open

From left – Mac McClear, Jack Lundin and Garrett Tighe.

Warm, windy and tough conditions were the story of the day at Monday’s U.S. Open Local Qualifier held at Blue Top Ridge at Riverside Casino and Golf Resort.

With only five scores at par or better, it was safe to say the day was simply that of survive and advance at a course that usually sees buckets of birdies during the annual Iowa Open in recent years.

Those passing the test and advancing to Final Qualifying for the U.S. Open included University of Missouri’s Jack Lundin (-3) and a pair for University of Iowa players, Mac McClear (-3) and Garrett Tighe (-2). Lundin’s round included four birdies, an eagle and an uncharacteristic triple bogey. McClear made five birdes against just two bogeys, while Tighe added five birdies (including three in a row to start his back nine holes) and two bogeys as well.

Earning alternate positions included Blaine Buhr (1st) and Zach Steffen (2nd).

Click here for full results

Champions crowned at 26th IGA Four-Ball Championship

Holding a two shot lead entering the final round, the side of Dylan Ellis / Tyler Sansgaard (pictured above) never flinched.

Following an opening round 60 (-11), the duo didn’t backdown to the challenge, posting a 64 (-7) in windy conditions to claim a five-shot victory at the 26th IGA Four-Ball Championship hosted by Ames’ Coldwater Golf Links.

“We were able to make a lot of birdies and countered each other well,” Ellis said. “We never made bogey on the same holes, so that’s always good. We actually hit it a lot closer today than we did yesterday.”

Finishing runner-up was the side of Brian Allison / Dennis Bull (-13), who got off to a quick start with an eagle at the first to inch closer to the leaders, which they were paired with in the final round. But just when Allison / Bull would get within earshot of the lead, Ellis / Sansgaard would make a birdie to extend the lead. Two untimely bogeys to start the back nine left Allison / Bull a deficit that they simply couldn’t overcome.

The champions had nothing but praise for the runner-up team.

“Playing against good competition keeps you focused and dialed in,” Ellis said.

Finishing in third place (-12), six shots back of the lead, was the side of Marc Gladson / Nate Dunn who will head to Alabama for the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball later in the week. There was a three-way tie for fourth place at -11.

From the start Ellis and Sansgaard though that the course would set up well for them.

“We both knew we could make some birdies here,” Sansgaard said. “It feels good to win an event like this.”

In the Senior Division, opening round leaders Curtis Holck / Kirk Macumber (pictured left) notched a -7 total and a two-shot victory over defending champions Joe Palmer / Terry Cook. But it wasn’t easy as the course played much more difficult during the final round compared to Friday.

“Today was a grind,” Macumber said. “There was a lot more holes, today, where a par was a great score. We just wanted to both have chances for birdied as many times as we could. Today we just battled. We made some good pars today that kept us a stroke or two up”

Holck echoed Macumber’s thoughts on the final round.

“The weather was completely different and the course was too,” Holck said “The fairways were really running out. We made some long putts on Friday.”

A tie for third place in the Senior Division saw Jay Slings / Tim McKnight and Robert Dickerman / Todd Higtgen finish at -4.

In the Super Senior Division the side of David Studer / Tom Schill (pictured right) won the title in a playoff over Dan Dalziel / Steve Kahler, with a par on the first extra hole. Finishing just a shot back of the playoff was Jim Butler / Rob Christensen who finished at -2 for the tournament.

Click here to view final results

Birdies to be had at 26th IGA Four-Ball Championship

It was a day for scoring.

The opening round of the 26th IGA Four-Ball Championship, hosted by Ames’ Coldwater Golf Links, saw a flurry of birdies from the start. The side of Dylan Ellis / Tyler Sansgaard (pictured above putting) lead the way with a ‘clean’ 60 (-11), that included no bogeys on the day. Close behind are Brian Allison / Dennis Bull who put together a fine round themselves, with 62 (-9).

A total of 11 teams sit at -5 or better, including defending champions Gene Elliott / Jon Brown (-7) and will all look to make a move up the leaderboard tomorrow in the final round.

In the Senior Division, the side of Curtis Holck / Kirk Macumber lead with 66 (-5). Defending champions Joe Palmer / Terry Cook along with Robert Dickerman / Todd Hingtgen sit two shots back following rounds of 68 (-3). Three more teams are three shots off the lead.

In the Super Senior Division (ages 65+), Dan Dalziel / Steve Kahler turned in an opening round 68 (-3) to lead by two over David Studer / Tom Schill. A pair of teams are tied for third place, three shots back of the leaders.

Click here for full results

Long-time Iowa Masters co-director John Nervig passes away

John Nervig stands in front of the venerable Iowa Masters scoreboard, where each player’s hole-by-hole scores are displayed.

The Iowa Golf Association was informed that long-time Iowa Masters co-director and IGA volunteer John Nervig passed away on Friday, April 8th.

Recently featured on the IGA website as part of a feature column written by IGA Foundation board member Mark Gambaiana, Up and Down the Iowa Golf Scene, Nervig is fondly remembered for his service as co-director of the Iowa Masters with 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.

Nervig also served several years as a member of the IGA Board, including President from 1985-87.

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,” the late 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.”

A celebration of life memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Thursday, July 7, 2022, at Bethesda Lutheran Church, 1517 Northwestern, Ames, Iowa. Burial will be at Ames Municipal Cemetery at a later date.



‘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

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