Author: iowagolf

Elliott wins sixth Iowa Mid-Amateur title, defends 2020 crown

He defended his title.

West Des Moines’ Gene Elliott (pictured above), now 59, kept the big numbers off the scorecard and left with the trophy he came with at the 36th Iowa Mid-Amateur Championship. Elliott admitted the course host, Finkbine Golf Course, wasn’t the same as he remembered from years past – going back many years.

“It wasn’t the same old Finkbine that I remember,” Elliott said of the tough conditions players battled over 36 holes. “It was really, really dry. The greens were firm and fast. I have never seen them that fast at Finkbine and that goes back to high school. It looked like if you hung in there and made pars, you were going to be ok. I was very fortunate with the way things ended up.”

Hung in there he did, posting rounds of 74-73 (+3) for the championship, which got him into a playoff against Van Meter’s Scot Cook.

“In a 36-hole event a big number can take you out of it right away, unless you make a bunch of birdies,’ Elliott said. “You knew if you got above the hole, you would have trouble two putting from there.”

Somewhat similar to his victory at Sunnyside CC last fall, Elliott found himself giving chase entering the final round, down three strokes to Nate McCoy, of Ankeny, who opened with 71 (-1).

“I thought if I could get it under par somehow, I might have a chance.,” Elliott said. “I made a couple birdies on #6 and #7. I turned in one-under par and looked at scores and saw guys behind me were struggling a bit. I knew we had a shootout going and would have a chance if I played a good back nine.”

Elliott proceeded to make seven straight pars before bogeys on the final two holes of the day.

“Even with the poor finish I thought I was still in it,” Elliott said. “I had no idea if I would win or be in a playoff or lose by one. I really didn’t know.”

Luckily for Elliott, the late bogeys didn’t cost him a chance at his sixth Iowa Mid-Amateur title, but he would have to earn it in a playoff beginning on the demanding par-3 17th hole at Finkbine GC.

“I left it short left (off the tee), but had a pretty straight forward chip up the slope,” Elliott said. “Although I did hit it about three and half feet past the hole, which I didn’t want to do. Then Scot hit just a beautiful par putt after hitting it in the bunker. It just slowly lipped on the high side. He hit a great putt there. Then I got up and made my downhill (par) putt.”

Elliott, now a six-time Iowa Mid-Amateur champion, credited his short game to his success over the two days.

“My chipping has really been good this winter and I have putted pretty solid,” Elliott said. “I stayed away from that big number and didn’t make any doubles. I made a lot of comeback putts and that was the difference. “

In the Senior Division Norwalk’s Joe Palmer captured the title, battling back from two strokes down going into the final round. Palmer shot rounds of 76-74 (+6) for a one-shot lead over Jeff Collett, of Ottumwa.

“Being a former Iowa Hawkeye, I’ve played a lot of rounds at Finkbine,” Palmer said. “But when I showed up, I was like where are we at? The greens were phenomenal speed, lots of deep rough and fairways were running firm. It was enjoyable and it tested us for sure.”

Palmer, who admitted he didn’t make a lot of birdies over the two-day event, made a lot of pars and knew that would be key to success. To his credit, Palmer didn’t make many bogeys either.

“I knew it was going to be a tournament where even par or a couple over would be right there,” Palmer said. “I made some good putts on Saturday that kept me in it (in the final round). You knew you had to make those. Playing a little more conservatively with the way the greens were, might yield a better score. I tried to keep the ball in play and not get aggressive trying to make a bunch of birdies. Making pars was beneficial for me.”

In the Super Senior Division Rob Christensen, of Marshalltown, played consistent golf. Christensen posted rounds of 75-75 (+6) to win by four strokes thanks to keeping double-bogey or worse off the scorecard for 36-holes. Mason City’s Joel Yunek finished runner-up with rounds of  75-79 (+10).

“It wasn’t that I didn’t get in trouble, but I was able to escape,” Christensen said. “A lot of my playing buddies weren’t so lucky. The key to Finkbine, if there is one, you always had to stay below the hole. If you got above it, buckle up. I thought 75 would be a real good score. Jim Butler shot 71 (in round one) and I was impressed with that. I thought if I shot another 75 (in the second round) I might have a chance. Obviously it depended on how Jim and some of the other guys did. They made some mistakes and I didn’t. I was able to make (a lot of) those three to five foot putts.”

Click here for final results

Four grab spots into U.S. Open Final Qualifying

Survive and advance was the name of the game at Monday’s U.S. Open Local Qualifier at Beaver Hills Country Club, Cedar Falls. With four qualifying spots up for grabs into Final Qualifying for the U.S. Open, players battled nerves as well as the elements, which included off and on rain most of the day, in pursuit of a dream.

Des Moines’ Tripp Kinney, who was -9 at one point in his round, shared medalist honors with Andrew Petersen, of Bondurant, (both pictured above – Kinney left, Petersen right) as both posted rounds of 66 (-6) to secure two of the four qualifying spots available. Sam Meuret (right), of West Des Moines, shot 67 (-5) to elude a playoff of five players, who shot 69 (-3) chasing the final spot.

With a birdie on the first playoff hole, Ottumwa’s Matthew Walker (left)  captured the lone remaining spot. All four are now one step closer to the U.S. Open and will compete at Final Qualifying locations across the country in a couple of weeks.

“I chipped in for eagle on #2,” Kinney, who shot 30 (-6) on his opening nine holes, said. “I hit it to an inch on #7, so those were my two eagles. I made a couple of other good putts from 10-15 feet on the front (nine). I was really happy with the way I hit it all day.”

With rain in the forecast, Kinney felt like he could score well – making six birdies and a pair of eagles during his round.

“You had to figure out the course,” Kinney said. “You have a lot of wedges into these greens, but the ball would still skip somewhat before spinning back. Without the wind you can attack this course and hit it close. I had prepared really well for today and it translated.”

Kinney commented that he never looked at the leaderboard during the day.

“I just tried to keep attacking the course,” Kinney said.

Andrew Petersen, who made seven birdies against just a lone bogey, said keeping the ball in play and under control was important.

“I was able to hit every green today,” Petersen said. “I had a lot of looks at birdies. A little bit of moisture softened things up some, as it was dry when I played my practice round. I tried to take advantage of the par 5 holes when I could and everything else just fell into place.”

Petersen said he wasn’t really keeping an eye on where he stood during the day either.

“Honestly, I usually have enough going on with my own play,” Petersen said. “I just tried to keep track of my own ball. I didn’t have any idea where I stood. I set myself up off the tee well today and had a lot of wedges into greens. I could have putted better, but I gave myself a lot of opportunities.”

Kinney and Petersen both commented they hope to head to Ohio for Final Qualifying.

“Maybe I can rub elbows with some of the tour guys,’ Petersen said.

Kinney said he looked at the two Ohio options due to the simple fact he could drive to either. A total of 10 Final Qualifying sites will be used in the United States on May 24 and June 7.

Marion’s Luke Slaymaker (1st) and LeClaire’s Jack Dumas (2nd) earned alternate status into Final Qualifying on Monday as well.

Click here for final scoring results

Caylor victorious at The Classic, Collett takes home Senior Division crown

Unique scoring formats can either create drama and entertainment or suck the life out of an event. In the case of The Classic at Elmwood Country Club, the drama and entertainment were present in spades for the climax of the 2021 edition Sunday afternoon.

The Classic, an Iowa Golf Association additional point event, utilizes Stableford scoring — a unique system in which the scores are calculated by points based on the number of strokes per hole, rather than traditional scoring from stroke play.

Photo courtesy of Noah Rohlfing, Marshalltown Times-Republican

The format encourages aggressive play and taking risks for chances at birdies, with four points for a birdie, two for a par and one for a bogey. Eagles are worth eight points. Two players mastered the format in the open division Sunday — Carson Caylor (pictured left) of Urbandale and Nate McCoy of Ankeny. The duo were in the final group, with McCoy holding a slim lead for most of the round after being the first-round leader in treacherous conditions Saturday with a score of 40.

Winds gusted near 50 miles per hour Saturday, but on Sunday the weather was perfect, with warm temperatures and winds at 10-20 miles per hour. Caylor took advantage of the better conditions to birdie the final two holes and take home the win in the open division, draining a birdie putt on the 18th to finish with 79 points — one more than McCoy’s 78.

Caylor trailed by five points with five holes to play. He chipped away at McCoy’s lead with pars on holes 14, 15 and 16, but still trailed by three. The birdie at 17 cut it to one. And when faced with a 15-to-20 footer for the win, Caylor didn’t take any chances and produced a finish to remember.

Photo courtesy of Noah Rohlfing, Marshalltown Times-Republican

In the senior bracket, Jeff Collett (pictured right) of Ottumwa took home the Championship Flight with a wire-to-wire win. After topping the leaderboard in round one with a score of 35, he shot a 33 and was comfortably in control of proceedings throughout. Not even a double-bogey 6 on the final hole had an impact on Collett’s win.

The changing conditions played a part, Collett said, as did his approach to the different format.

Click here to read more from
Noah Rohlfing of the Marshalltown Times-Republican

 

Click here for a full recap of scoring

Celebration of Life for Jim Curell set for Friday, April 30

Join friends and family for a legendary sendoff for Jim Curell on Friday, April 30, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Cedar Pointe Golf Course in Boone. Jim passed away in April 2020, and due to COVID-19 restrictions at the time, a fitting memorial could not be celebrated – until now!

Appetizers and beverages will be provided. Special guests will share memories and other remarks around 7 p.m. The family will be following CDC guidance for COVID-19 during this event. If you are not fully vaccinated, please bring a mask and practice social distancing, as needed.

2020 IGA Annual Awards Banquet Recap

The 2020 IGA Annual Awards Banquet took place Friday, March 26, at Glen Oaks Country Club in West Des Moines. It was an enjoyable night with several deserving honorees and award winners in various categories being celebrated for their efforts.

View photos from the 2020 IGA Annual Awards Banquet

The following individuals and courses were honored –

PGA Pro of the Year – Adam Coates, Spencer Golf & Country Club

Club Manager of the Year – Sheryl Dusenberry, Atlantic Golf & Country Club

9-Hole Superintendent – Jeremy Amosson, Veterans Memorial Golf Club

18-Hole Superintendent – Caleb Swanson, Briarwood Golf Club

9-Hole Course of the Year – Hillcrest Country Club

18-Hole Course of the Year – Hyperion Field Club

George Turner Distinguished Service Award – Jim Carney, Des Moines

Sean Flanders Volunteer of the Year Award – Jon Brown, Adel

View acceptance speech video from each of the award winners


Player of the Year – Connor Peck, Ankeny (View video) (View acceptance speech)

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

Super Senior Player of the Year – Rick Gorbell, Cedar Falls (View video) (View acceptance speech)

Read more about the Men’s Players of the Year

Women’s Player of the Year – Leanne Smith, Indianola (View video) (View acceptance speech)

Senior Women’s Player of the Year – Rose Kubesheski, Dubuque (View video)

Read more about the Women’s Players of the Year

Junior Girls’ Player of the Year – Rylee Heryford, Newton (View video) (View acceptance speech)

Junior Boys’ Player of the Year – Cale Leonard, Ottumwa (View video) (View acceptance speech)

Read more about the Junior Players of the Year

History made, IWGA formed in 1922

The following feature on the early days of the Iowa Women’s Golf Association was written by 11-time Iowa Sportswriter of the Year Rick Brown and shared recently with Iowa Golf Association. The early history of the IWGA celebrates Women’s History Month in March and reminds ourselves of the accomplishments of women throughout the years to our culture and society.

Representatives from seven cities came to Waterloo on August 29, 1922, to make history. The Iowa Women’s Golf Association was formed, with Mrs. L.W. Bryant elected president.

Later that day, the first IWGA-conducted championship teed off. Margaret Addington of Waterloo was the low qualifier, shooting 96. She would go on to win the championship, beating Mrs. Frank C. Byers of Cedar Rapids, 4 and 3.

“Miss Addington apparently got the better of her opponent throughout, though the Cedar Rapids woman played a remarkable game,” read the newspaper dispatch.

Hyperion Field and Motor Club, outside Des Moines, hosted the second championship in August of 1923. Ruth Harwood of Des Moines won the title match, 6 and 5, over Mrs. Ward E. Baker of Cedar Rapids.

“Fully 500 eyes watched the pretty Country club girl ascend the championship throne on the thirteenth green when she dropped a neat putt into the cup, ending the title battle and defeating Mrs. Baker by a 6 and 5 score,” wrote Iowa Golf Hall of Famer Bert McGrane.

Both the 1922 and 1923 events were invitationals. The first true Women’s State Amateur championship took place in August of 1924 at the Cedar Rapids Country Club. The entry fee was 50 cents. Mrs. C.D. Waterman (pictured right) of Davenport beat Byers in a dramatic 19-hole match.

On the decisive hole, a 485-yard par-5, Waterman followed a 200-yard drive with a 150-yard brassie. Her third shot stopped 2 feet from the hole, and she knocked it in for the championship The Women’s State Amateur has been contested every year since, with the exception of a three-year break (1943-1945) because of World War II.

But women in Iowa were playing for championships as far back as 1902. The men’s Iowa Amateur included a women’s championship from 1902 to 1905. Ruth Crapo of Burlington won three of those five titles. A women’s championship was also conducted independently twice, with Jennie Jones of Sioux City taking the title at Waveland in Des Moines in 1913 and Elizabeth Allen of Davenport taking top honors in 1916 at the Des Moines Golf and Country Club.

Fourteen women entered the 1902 event at Burlington Golf Club. Nine were from Des Moines, three from Burlington and one each from Marshalltown and Keokuk. Rain was so heavy during the semifinals that Mrs. George Douglas of Cedar Rapids forfeited her match to Crapo. The Burlington Gazette called it “a wet and disagreeable course.’

Crapo captured the 1902 title, beating Anne B. Davis of Keokuk in the championship match, 6 and 5.

Davis was right in the middle of a major controversy a year later at the Des Moines Golf and Country Club. Davis was playing Mrs. W.E. Stalter in one of the semifinal matches. Davis had Stalter 4 down on the 13th, but Stalter won the next three holes. Here is a first-hand account of what happened next from the Des Moines Register and Leader:

“At the seventeenth hole Mrs. Stalter’s caddie was holding the flag while Miss Davis made a short approach from off the green. The caddie failed to get the flag staff out of the way in time, although he had it in his hands, and Miss Davis’ ball hit the staff and was deflected a short distance from the hole. Her approach was perfect as far as direction was concerned and possibly might have holed out had the flag staff been removed.”

Stalter immediately filed a protest as they headed to the 18th tee.

“Upon arriving at the club house a decision, said to have been unauthorized, was made in Mrs. Stalter’s favor, thus giving her the seventeenth hole,” the newspaper’s first hand account continued. “As the last hole was halved, the match was even, under this ruling, and the playing of an extra hole was necessary.”

They headed to a 19th hole, and again controversy joined the party. Mrs. Stalter sliced her approach and her ball hit Davis, who tried to get out of the way. Stalter was awarded the hole and the match.

But when they returned to the clubhouse, what happened on the 17th hole remained in question “and no one felt qualified to pass upon the question and there the matter rests and a decision will be announced this morning.”

Stalter was awarded the match the next day, after a decision by the grounds committee of the Des Moines Golf and Country Club.The committee ruled it would be “unsportsmanlike to penalize for a technicality which did not seem to be covered satisfactorily by the United States golf rules.”

Stalter advanced to the championship, where she defeated Mrs. F.W. Chamberlain of Burlington, 2 and 1. Davis did get some revenge that summer. She beat Stalter, 3 and 2, in the Trans-Mississippi title match in Omaha.

Eight women entered the 1904 event at Happy Hollow in Dubuque. One of the entires was Myrtle Travis, a cousin of three-time U.S. Amateur champion Walter J. Travis.

Crapo won her second title, beating Genevieve Ryan of Dubuque in the final. She added a third crown the following year at Burlington Golf Club, but controversy was again part of the story.

“(Chamberlain) was runner up and would probably have won had it not been for a misunderstanding of rules,” the Des Moines Register and Leader reported.

On the first extra hole, Crapo drove into a pond. Instead of taking a drop where her ball entered the hazard, she took a drop from the side of the pond. She went on to win the hole and the match.

No rules breach was reported.

The men’s championship stopped conducting a women’s event in 1906. But organizers held a championship in 1913 at Waveland. It was touted as the “first women’s title ever contested in Iowa.”

Jones (pictured left) beat Mrs. W.F. Moore of Des Moines, 8 and 6, in the final.

Another championship took place in 1916, but Jones wasn’t there to defend her title. She was killed in an automobile accident in downtown Sioux City on May 18, 1916.

Alen won the 1916 championship at Des Moines Golf and Country Club by beating Mrs. Fred Letts of Cedar Rapids, 2 up.

Allen had been 2 down at one point in the match. Over tea afterwards, one fan asked Allen how she had kept her nerve when she fell behind.

“This is a lesson I learned long ago,” Allen told her. “You never can tell what is going to happen and now I always play as well as I can, no matter how the score stands.”

More than a century later, that remains good advice.

Estabrooks, Robinson remembered for pivotal moment in Iowa golf history

The following feature on Edith Estabrooks and Lucile Robinson was written by 11-time Iowa Sportswriter of the Year Rick Brown and shared recently with Iowa Golf Association. The legacy of both Iowa Golf Hall of Fame members celebrates Women’s History Month in March and reminds ourselves of the accomplishments of women throughout the years to our culture and society.

It was a pivotal moment in the history of the Iowa Women’s Amateur golf championship, bringing together a 14-year-old girl and a five-time champion. Both would end up in the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame.

Lucile Robinson (left) of Des Moines came to the 1935 championship at the Davenport Country Club as an overwhelming favorite. She’d won her first title in 1929, was a runner-up in 1930 and then won the next four championships. That gave her a 20-match winning streak. Fourteen of them didn’t get past the 14th hole.

Her only loss in 30 matches going back to 1929 was a 1 up decision to Dorothy Klotz Pardue in the 1930 final.

Robinson looked to be in top form, too, shooting a 77 in qualifying that was 11 shots better than anyone else in the field, established a new course record for women and was the lowest qualifying round in the history of the championship.

“With a defiant challenge to rivals who question her position as Iowa’s No. 1 woman golfer, Lucile Robinson of Des Moines stormed into her campaign for another state championship by smashing two records in the state tournament qualifying round here Monday,” wrote Des Moines Register reporter Bert McGrane.

Robinson’s first match the next day was against Mrs. Neil Kennard of Des Moines. Said McGrane, it was the “first of the matches which tournament followers believe will bring her the crown for the sixth time in seven years.”

Kennard had required 26 more shots than Robinson to get around the Davenport Country Club in the qualifier. Eighteen players posted a score better than her 103. It looked to be a walk in the park for Robinson.

Lucile had a 2-up lead with four holes to play, but bogeyed the 14th and 17th holes. The match was all square headed to the 18th, where Kennard made a four-foot birdie putt to win. And readers of the Des Moines Register woke up to this headline the next day: “Mrs. Kennard tosses bomb at Davenport.”

McGrane sat down and hammered this out on his typewriter: “The all-time upset in Iowa golf, engineered Tuesday when Mrs. Neil Kennard of Des Moines split the women’s state tournament wide open with a first-round victory over Lucile Robinson, left spectators stunned when they attempted to choose a successor to the heavily favored Des Moines girl. In a gigantic reversal of the dope that fairly rocked the hills of the Davenport Country Club, Mrs. Kennard’s deadly short game shoved Miss Robinson into the discard with a 1 up victory and opened a free-for-all struggle for the championship held for four straight years by the dethroned titleholder.”

A posed photo of a smiling Mrs. Kennard, holding a golf club, accompanied the story. She had cut 22 strokes off her qualifying score to send Robinson home.

Mrs. Kennard lost the following day, 4 and 2,  to 18-year-old Eleanor Stevens of Salem, Iowa. Stevens was a sophomore at Iowa Wesleyan who played most of her golf on a nine-hole course with sand greens.

Stevens met a 14-year-old ninth-grader from Dubuque, named Edith Estabrooks, in the quarterfinals.

Estabrooks had started playing golf at six years of age at the Bunker Hill course in Dubuque operated by her father, Louis. McGrane called her “a plucky little Dubuque miss who discarded dolls and turned to woods and irons at the age of 6.”

Estabrooks (right) ended her first-round match on the 12th hole. Her second ended on the 16th. And she dispatched of Stevens, 6 and 5. Her semifinal foe was Charlotte Ames of Clear Lake, who attended the University of Minnesota.  Estabrooks won, 7 and 6.

Her foe in the 36-hole title match was Jennet Jones of Des Moines, who had lost to Robinson in the 1931 final. A student at Monmouth College, Jones got off to a fast start that had Estabrooks on the ropes.

After they halved the opening hole, Jones won the next five. But Estabrooks battled back, got the lead and won the match, 5 and 4. It ended on the 32nd hole when Estabrooks made a 50-foot eagle putt.

And Iowa celebrated a 14-year-old champion. The banner headline on the Des Moines Register Iowa News Section read, “GIRL OF 14 WINS IOWA GOLF TITLE.”

“Feminine golfers of Iowa pay tribute today to a 14-year-old girl of Dubuque who is 5 feet 1 inch tall and weighs 123 pounds,” wrote John O’Donnell of the Davenport Democrat. “The “baby’ of Iowa golf succeeds Lucile Robinson of Des Moines, who had held the title for five years.”

Robinson would never play in another Iowa Women’s Amateur championship. Shortly after she married Russell Mann, he was transferred to Milwaukee, Wis. Three months after her stunning defeat in Davenport, Robinson was representing her country as a member of the Curtis Cup team.

Estabrooks was just getting started. She won the Iowa championship again in 1936 at the West Okoboji Golf Club, then added the Women’s Western Junior title at Oakland Hills to her resume.

Her third straight Iowa title, in 1937, came at Sunnyside Country Club in Waterloo.

Estabrooks passed on a chance at four straight Iowa crowns to play in the 1938 Women’s Western Amateur.

She returned to win her final Women’s State Amateur in Cedar Rapids in 1939. That was the same year she won the Women’s Western Amateur, back at Oakland Hills.

She didn’t defend her Women’s State Amateur crown in 1940 because she was taking summer classes at Scripps College in Claremont, Calif. She would never play for the Iowa title again, getting her college degree in 1943 and joining the Navy as a member of the WAVES.

Robinson was elected to the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame in 1995. Estabrooks joined her in 2013.

Robinson’s distinguished career included success on a national stage. In addition to that Curtis Cup appearance in 1934, she won a pair of Women’s Western Amateur titles, in 1933 and 1941, and the Trans-Mississippi in 1941.

She faced the greatest players of her era. She lost to Babe Didrikson Zaharias in the finals of the 1940 Women’s Western Amateur, 4 and 3, but defeated Patty Berg, 2 and 1, in the finals of the 1936 South Atlantic Championship.

She also won five Des Moines city titles, three Wisconsin state amateur titles and five Nebraska state amateur titles.

Robinson became the 78th member of the Des Moines Sunday Register Sports Hall of Fame in 1975. She was the first woman to be enshrined.

Looking for a place to play? Find out who’s open

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

  • AH Blank Golf Course (Des Moines) – Currently open.
  • American Legion Memorial Golf Course (Marshalltown) – Hope to open up April 1st.
  • Bear Creek Golf Course (Forest City) – Plan to open April 1st.
  • Brown Deer Golf Course (Coralville) – Currently is open, range not for another week or so. Cart path only for a few more days (as of 3/19).
  • Card Inc Golf & Country Club (Clarksville) – Hoping to open at the end of March.
  • Deer Valley Golf Course (Deer Grove, IL) – We will be open, weather depending, at 9 a.m., Monday -Sunday. Tee times recommended.
  • Finkbine Golf Course – will open for the 2021 season on Wednesday, March 24, pending weather forecasts stay consistent. This includes the Driving Range and Practice Greens as well as the Golf Course. Tee times will be available beginning Wednesday, March 17 and it is encouraged for golfers to book their tee times online.
  • Fort Dodge Country Club – Open as of Saturday, March 20th. Clubhouse and practice range opens daily at 9 am. Please call (515) 955-8551 for course availability and tee times. Visit our website for pricing and events, www.fortdodgecc.com.
  • Fremont County Golf Course (Sidney) – Currently open.
  • Jester Park Golf Course (Granger) – Currently open.
  • Lake Panorama National Resort (Panora) – Will open March 10, to begin the 2021 golf season. Please call 641-755-2024 after 9:30 a.m., to book your tee time.
  • Majestic Hills Golf Course (Denison) – Plan to open the course (fully open all 18 holes) on Saturday, March 27.
  • Mount Pleasant Country Club – Will officially open April 1, to all and clubhouse will maintain in season hours Sunday through Saturday. In March the club house is operating on winter hours from 4 p.m. to close unless there are scheduled events, then may be open to accommodate the event. Golfing in March will be restricted to members only and will be day to day decision if open to golf and what restrictions may apply (walkers only).
  • New Hampton Golf Club – Planning to open April 1st – weather depending.
  • Rick Lake Golf & Country Club – Currently open as of March 23rd.
  • Sheaffer Memorial Golf Club (Fort Madison) – Opened Monday March 8th. Find more information at www.sheaffergolf.com or by calling 319-528-6214. Spring rates apply (18 w/cart $27 / 9 w/cart $20).
  • Sheldon Golf & Country Club – Opening Night is Sat., April 10. The course will open when weather permits.
  • Tournament Club of Iowa (Polk City) – Opening Saturday, March 20th. All Tee Time Reservations must be made online at tcofiowa.com. One Cart Per Twosome will be assigned. Extra carts maybe available for $10/each. However extra carts will not be guaranteed as we have a limited number of carts. Please continue to practice social distance and for everyone’s safety please wear a mask inside the Clubhouse.
  • Tara Hills Country Club (Van Horne) – Plan to open April 1st.
  • Veenker Memorial Golf Course – Plans to open for the season Friday, March 19th.
  • Wapsipinicon Country Club (Anamosa) – Scheduled to be open everyday at 8 a.m., starting April 1st.
  • Whispering Creek Golf Club (Sioux City) – The course and the range will be opening up for the season Thursday, March 11.

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!

Louis Dade – An Iowa golf legacy many don’t know

The following feature on Louis Dade was written by 11-time Iowa Sportswriter of the Year Rick Brown and shared recently with Iowa Golf Association. The legacy of Louis Dade continues the celebration of Black History Month, an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. 

There’s a conference room named for Louis Dade at the African American Museum of Iowa in Cedar Rapids.

It is a fitting honor for an unassuming man with a golfing legacy many don’t know.

To appreciate Dade’s golfing accomplishments, which include becoming the first African American to reach match play in an Iowa Amateur Championship, you need to follow the path he took to reach the golf course.

Louis Dade was born and raised in Canton, Mo., and dropped out of school before he finished the eighth grade. Segregated schools ended in Canton after the eighth grade, and youngsters like Dade had to travel to Hannibal, Mo., some 40 miles away, to continue their education.

He worked odd jobs for several years, then moved with a cousin to Fort Madison in 1927, when he was 17 years old. His cousin left soon after, but Dade stayed. He had an assortment of jobs  at the Anthes Hotel, including shining shoes and working as a bellhop.

He got married in 1928, and another life-changing moment came shortly after. He was hired by W.A. Sheaffer, whose well-known pen company is a significant part of Fort Madison history.

Dade worked for the Sheaffer family as a chauffeur, butler and later a caretaker.

“I took care of the cars, vacuumed, waxed the floors, whatever needed to be done,” Dade told the Fort Madison Daily Democrat in 2003.

Sheaffer was a golfer, and built an indoor driving range in the basement of his home.

“I’d been with the Sheaffer family for a little while, but not too long, when (Sheaffer) put the driving range in the basement,” Dade said. “This is the first time I connected with golf.”

Dade was not allowed to play the golf course in Fort Madison, where Sheaffer played, but golf help bond the two men.

“W.A. would come home from the pen factory and we’d hit balls in the basement,” Dade said. “He really got me interested in golf, and a few years later I taught the first golf lesson in Fort Madison.”

Dade left Fort Madison around World War I, taking jobs at Wisconsin Steel in Chicago and then Douglass Aircraft in Santa Monica, Calif. A member of the Sheaffer family called Dade and asked him to return to Fort Madison to care for W.H. Sheaffer and his wife. W.H. passed away in 1946, and his wife in 1961.

The Sheaffer family created a trust fund for Dade when he worked for them, which gave him financial security for his loyalty and good care.

“I was very fortunate,” Dade said. “They gave me a chance to have a great life.”

Dade’s golf game was in full swing the1950s. He honed his game at Flint Hills in Burlington, as well as courses in Fairfield, Muscatine, Keokuk, Ottumwa and Quincy, Ill. He also played golf in California when he drove the Sheaffers there over the winters.

Dade said that several people in Fort Madison, including golf pro and Iowa Golf Hall of Fame member Bob Fry, told him he should try his luck in an Iowa Amateur. Fry also spent time as Dade’s instructor.

Dade started playing in the Iowa Amateur in 1954. The championship was contested by match play back then, switching to medal play in 1960. Dade would take vacation every summer to play in the state’s most prestigious amateur championship.

He failed to qualify for match play in his first four attempts, though he did have success elsewhere. Dade won the 1956 Southeast Iowa Amateur. His Iowa Amateur breakthrough came in 1958 at the Fort Dodge Country Club. Dade qualified with an 80, and found himself in a nine-man playoff for the last three spots. Dade made a long putt on the first extra hole and advanced.

Dade’s first-round match was equally memorable, beating Iowa Golf Hall of Famer J.D. Turner, 3 and 2. Dade’s picture, posing with Iowa Golf Association secretary Chuck Irvine, was on the front page of the Des Moines Register’s Big Peach sports section the next day (shown above).

The cutline to the picture read, “Louis Dade of Fort Madison, first Negro to win a championship round match in Iowa Amateur golf history, checks with Chuck Irvine, secretary of the Iowa Golf Association, after Wednesday’s 3 and 2 victory over J.D. Turner of Perry.”

Dade bowed out in the second round to Bill Hird, Jr. of Fort Dodge, 4 and 2, but it was a memory he carried proudly for the rest of his life.

“I’ve never been treated better,” Dade told Bert McGrane of the Des Moines Register. “Jack Rule, Bill Hird, John Liechty, Herb Klontz and some of the others treated me like I was one of the group.”

Dade always appreciated his experience of playing in the Iowa Amateur.

“I don’t want any better treatment than I get,” he said.

After his responsibilities with the Sheaffer family ended, Dade would spent his winters in Arizona and his summers teaching golf in Iowa at places like Spring Lake in Fort Madison, Mount Pleasant Country Club, New London and Flint Hills in Burlington.

One of his pupils was 14-year-old Todd Hamilton, who grew up in Oquawka, Ill., across the Mississippi River from Keokuk.  Hamilton would go on to win the 2004 British Open.

On the course, Dade was shooting his age well into his 80s. He shot an 80 to win a senior tournament in Wapello when he was 82.

Dade was 88 when retired from teaching in 1996.He was 100 years old when he passed away on Oct. 22, 2008.

Five years before he passed, Dade and the Sheaffer Foundation donated $10,000 to the African American Museum of Iowa. And a conference room was named for him, complete with a photo exhibit of his private life and golf career.

“It’s quite an honor,” Dade said then. “I’m really pleased with that. I came here from Missouri back when I was 17, I didn’t have a high school or college education and I just wanted the chance to work.”

He also became a golfing trailblazer.

IGA launches ‘Greenside’ podcast

The Iowa Golf Association is excited to announce the development of its own podcast – Greenside – The Official Podcast of the IGA. ‘Greenside’ will explore a wealth of topics surrounding the world of golf in Iowa and beyond. From Rules of Golf education to recaps with IGA Champions to anything golf related, we’ll look to keep you entertained.

The podcast is currently now available on a variety of channels including Anchor, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and several others. We will provide links to those channels on social media as episodes are distributed online.

Feel free to reach out to us if you have an idea of a guest or topic(s) we should include in the future.

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