The Iowa Golf Hall of Fame will add five members in 2024, bringing the total number in the Hall of Fame to 101. Those five include Clark Burroughs, Micheal Coppola, Bill Dickens, Greg Ladehoff and Bob Smith. Read more about each inductee below.
Waterloo’s Clark Burroughs has a playing resume that ranks at the top with all from Iowa.
Growing up and developing his game in golf-rich Waterloo, Burroughs (pictured right) was successful in various local competitions in an era where there wasn’t first-rate junior competitions available like there are today. Clark’s success included a victory at the 1980 Iowa Junior Amateur.
Those ‘early’ victories were just the start for Burroughs, a fixture at the Byrnes Park (now Irv Warren) golf course who was a star at Waterloo West High School under Iowa Golf Hall of Fame member Don Narveson.
“He literally lived here while he was a kid,” Narveson once said. “He’s a winner.”
Burroughs attended Ohio State University on a golf scholarship and put together an incredible college career. He was a First-team All-Big Ten selection all four years, from 1982 through 1985. He was also Big Ten Player of the Year in 1985, and won seven individual titles. Clark was named team captain for the Buckeyes in 1984 and 1985 and was inducted into the Ohio State Athletic Hall of Fame in 1997.
Burroughs was named an All-American all four years at Ohio State. He capped of his college career by winning the NCAA Division I Individual title in 1985 and was named 1st team All-American.
Burroughs had considerable success in big time amateur golf outside of college as well. He was medalist in the 1983 U.S. Amateur and made it to the semifinals, earning him a trip to the 1984 Masters Tournament and a spot on the 1985 Walker Cup Team.
“He’s our kid,” Narveson after watching Burroughs make the cut at the 1984 Masters.
Burroughs turned professional after college and returned home to win the Waterloo Open in 1987. He competed on the PGA Tour for a span of 11 years. During that time, he played in 130 tournaments and made 60 cuts.
“Winning the NCAA and playing on the tour are totally different,” Burroughs said in 1989. “These guys don’t care what you did in college.”
Clark finished in the Top 21 four times during his PGA Tour career. His highest was a runner-up finish to Steve Jones at the 1989 Canadian Open.
“One of the qualities I admired most about Clark was his self-confidence and belief in himself,” Iowa Golf Hall of Fame member Doug Dunakey said. “I have to admit, Clark pushed me to be a better player. His play and accomplishments were standards I measured myself against.”
-1980 Iowa Junior Amateur Champion (139) at Jester Park
-1987 Waterloo Open Champion (pro)
-1983 B1G Ten individual runner-up
-1985 NCAA Champion for Ohio State
-1985 Walker Cup Team, USA defeated GB 13-11 at Pine Valley Golf Club
-Played in 130 PGA Tour events (1984-1995)
-Best career finish: Runner-up to Steve Jones at 1989 Canadian Open
-Four Top 10 finishes, 10 top 25s, 61 made cuts
-Finished T46 at 1984 Masters as an amateur
Michael Coppola’s passion for the game of golf in the state of Iowa is unmatched.
Coppola, pictured with Golf House Iowa donor, Doug Reichardt (on right with hat), the owner of Echo Valley Country Club in Norwalk, was a major player in the construction of Golf House Iowa, which is nearing completion. As Coppola’s friend, Charlie Taylor, describes it, Coppola didn’t move the needle for the project. He was the needle.
Coppola’s lead gift, including the land the building rests on just east of the ninth green of Echo Valley’s Creek Course, was crucial. Just as important is his behind-the-scenes role and volunteering his time to help the project move forward. His experience and insight during the fundraising, planning and construction of the project were invaluable.
Coppola’s generous gifts were a major piece of the fundraising goal, which climbed to $5 million due to increased construction costs. The new facility, which will also be home to the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame and Museum, will celebrate the game’s past and serve as motivation for the future. Michael has also been generous with his time and his philanthropic endeavors to help the IGA many times in the past.
“It is nearly impossible to completely and accurately summarize Mike’s contributions to the Iowa Golf Association,” Taylor said. “He has, in my opinion, single-handedly changed the course of the IGA like no one before him. Mike shares a vision with the IGA that Golf House Iowa will provide an important platform to promote the game of golf through its impact on junior golfers.”
This is not the first time the future of the game has prospered from Coppola’s generosity. The Sani Scholarship Fund, which is financed by donations and a percentage of entry fees from selected statewide tournaments, was struggling to find enough money to endow those scholarships.
Coppola was approached around 2013 about making a donation to keep the scholarships – $2,000 a year for four years – up and running. Coppola attended a Sani Scholarship dinner and was deeply impressed with the award winners. He did some research on Sani, who purchased Hyperion Field Club in 1936 for back taxes and gave it back to the membership. Sani was also the first executive director of the IGA and served in that role on a volunteer basis for more than 30 years.
The Coppola brothers – Michael, Arthur and Edward – donated $250,000 to help endow the Sani Scholarship in 2015. Witnessing the Sani Scholarship winners in person, and hearing their stories, was the driving force behind Coppola’s decision to lend a helping hand.
“Mike’s involvement and philanthropic contributions to the IGA already have, and will continue to shape, the game for players in our great state for years to come,” said former IGA president Steve Jermier, himself a former Sani Scholarship recipient.
Echo Valley Country Club, along with Hyperion Field Club in Johnston, host the Herman Sani Tournament every other year on the IGA Championship schedule, thanks again to the generosity of the Coppola family.
Coppola has also made significant investments to improve playing conditions and overall experience for the members at Echo Valley Country Club. The club grew to 27 holes in 2004 when the nine-hole Ridge course was built. The greens were rebuilt on the Vale course in 2021, returning them to their original size. The Creek nine underwent greenside renovations, movement of some fairway bunkers, the addition of new tees and a new irrigation system in 2022 and 2023. And all bunkers on the three nines have been rebuilt over the last two years with capillary concrete to improve drainage and playing conditions.
Coppola has commented that he looks into the future and sees a day when Mike McCoy, one of Iowa’s greatest amateur players and a member of the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame, sits in a meeting room at Golf House Iowa and talks to a group of youngsters about what the game of golf has done for him.
“It’s about enriching lives through golf,” Coppola said. “How do we change a life through the game? And it might not even be on a golf course. Twenty-five years later a kid is going to say, “Mr. McCoy talked to be about what the game did for him. And one thing he said really got to me.”
As a golfer, Coppola isn’t motivated by how many rounds he plays in a year. It’s more about the canvas that golf provides.
He was the right guy at the right time for the Iowa Golf Association. Those words have been mentioned numerous times when describing Bill Dickens.
The IGA as we know it today is due in large part to the efforts of Bill (pictured right) and his passion for golf administration. After establishing an IGA office in Urbandale when he was hired in 2001, his achievements include:
• Building a strong revenue stream and balance sheet with cash reserves able to carry the association through tough times.
• Building and supporting a schedule of great IGA Championships and other events that provide competitive opportunities for players all across the state, which many consider to be unmatched anywhere else in the country.
• Championed the effort to include all members into events with the use and understanding of the USGA Handicap System and the GHIN Service.
• Working with then-IGA President Joe Kehoe on a multi-year effort to merge the Iowa Women’s Golf Association with the IGA, strengthening the game for women golfers in the state, and promoting the Ann Griffel Scholarship.
• Established the IGA Foundation in 2011 to administer and support the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame, the Herman Sani Scholarship, junior golf initiatives and turfgrass and environmental education.
• Reinvigorated the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame in 2006 after a nine-year hiatus of inductions, and created member plaques and other historic displays in the IGA office.
• Formulated the idea for Golf House Iowa and put energy and drive behind the idea that has now been brought to fruition.
Those first few years of Bill’s leadership could be titled ‘Back to the Basics’.
“He (Bill) faced a hurdle when he first started at the IGA,” IGA Executive Director & CEO Chad Pitts said. “He found he needed to get back to the basics of golf administration, and he had to teach those basics to staff and board members alike. Things as simple as referring to every person on the GHIN roster as a member of the IGA, having full teams to perform course ratings, how to conduct board meetings, how to properly mark a golf course and prepare a rules sheet, or even getting a new thing called a website up and running. Sounds simple now but that was what the IGA wasn’t doing before Bill got there. I think it is fair to say he revamped the way the staff and board thought about the IGA and what it was capable of and there is no doubt that has carried on to today.”
Due to Bill’s tireless efforts, it is accurate to say that many associations around the country look to Iowa as a blueprint for how golf should be administered at the highest level.
“Bill was the driving force behind so many efforts around the IGA and IGAF, it’s difficult to just pick a few to highlight,” Steve Jermier said. “The IGA is known nationally among its peers as a standard bearer for producing an incredible product with limited resources compared to larger state and regional associations. That reputation simply wouldn’t exist without the contributions, leadership, and vision from Bill Dickens.”
In addition to his service to game of golf in Iowa, Bill was awarded the prestigious Ike Grainger Award from the USGA in 2016 recognizing 25 years of service as a USGA Committee Member.
Greg Ladehoff of Clinton steadily improved as he climbed golf’s ladder, a less-than-guaranteed journey that took him all the way to the PGA Tour.
Following a successful junior career at Clinton High School and as the 1979 Iowa Junior champion, Ladehoff (pictured right) accepted a scholarship to Ohio State University. There, he was one of the few golfers ever to earn All Big-Ten honors four years in a row (1981-84). Ladehoff then decided to try a career playing professionally. He made it through Q-School for the first time in 1985, and also in 1987, 1988 and 1990. Greg played the PGA Tour regularly for eight years (1985-92), making 154 starts. His best career finish was a tie for third with Nick Faldo in the 1986 USF&G Classic as a rookie.
“My attitude is that I want to play good enough get in position where I have a chance to screw up,” Ladehoff said in 1988. “If you never get in that position, you never have a chance.”
After leaving the tour, Ladehoff still played at a high level. He won the Iowa PGA Section Championship in 1994 at Finkbine in Iowa City. But Greg would retire from competitive golf after numerous injuries, and he joined his father in a well-known and respected duck decoy business in the Clinton area.
“Ladehoff attacked golf courses over his career, the way he approaches everyday business life of which he is equally successful,” Gary Dolphin said of Ladehoff. “He did it with purpose and a great sense of humor. Whether shooting a course record 68 in the Ohio Amateur at Inverness in Toledo, a 66 that chased down Tommy Armour III in Tallahassee or his present day worldwide success building a duck decoy business, Ladehoff marches and lives with the times.”
Those who knew Ladehoff know there was more to the man than just golf.
“I hope that 100 years from now, when a visitor to the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame is pondering the great Greg Ladehoff, they can see him as I do,” Mark L. Burden said. “A terrific player and competitor, of course, but to see Greg solely through the prism of golf would obscure his towering commitment to family, to friends, to his passion for business and to his love for the Hawkeye State. Golf afforded Greg tremendous opportunities and to his credit, he pursued the game to the pinnacle.”
-1979 Iowa Junior Amateur Champion
-Led Clinton High School to two IHSAA State Championships (1979-1980)
-1981-1984 First Team All-Big Ten for Ohio State
-1982 Second Team All-American for Ohio State
-1983 Honorable Mention All-American for Ohio State
-1984 Third Team All-American for Ohio State
-Two collegiate individual wins for Ohio State
-154 starts on the PGA Tour and 47 starts on the Ben Hogan Tour
-Six top 10’s and two runner-Up finishes on the Ben Hogan Tour
-PGA Tour: 65 made cuts, five top 10’s, and one third-place finish at the 1986 USF&G Classic in New Orleans.
-1994 Iowa PGA Section Champion
Bob Smith dedicated his career to being the best golf course superintendent. He studied and strived to be just that for more than 30 years at seven different Iowa golf courses and communities. He was recognized over the years by the Iowa Golf Course Superintendent Association with many awards and accolades.
Bob (pictured right) served the association at its highest levels, being elected to the Board of Directors in 1953, and served as President in 1956 and 1957. He believed service to the IGCSA was most important and received 25- and 50- year membership pins. In 1990 he had the honor of receiving the Distinguished Service Award from IGCSA.
In addition to his achievements as a golf course superintendent, Bob’s career included being a pioneer on the sales side of turf products. He would go to golf courses, both large and small, offering valuable advice on many aspects of turf maintenance. He helped with disease and weed identification by offering his expertise on treatment, insect management, grass seed, and irrigation.
“As one of the first golf course superintendents to work in sales, he combined his knowledge and experience,” Iowa Golf Hall of Fame member Doug Snook said. “He was like a doctor making house calls. With education opportunities limited in turf, managers relied on Bob to solve their turf problems. Bob would take the time to walk with the turf managers inspecting their facilities, troubleshooting turf and equipment issues while helping them with their management problems.”
He might even show how to cut a cup properly or help pick flags or markers when needed. At many small golf courses, the turf maintenance employees were seasonal and even part-time visits were much anticipated.
“Bob Smith’s lifework was the betterment of golf through creating well-maintained facilities,” John Hollen said. “He helped players both as a caddy when growing up and by providing golf lessons while working as superintendent, educating turf managers by sharing his knowledge, helping strengthen his association through lifetime involvement, and setting an example so impactful that many of his family followed suit.”
Bob was always experimenting with new golf course management techniques and was a great golfer in his own right, giving golf members golf lessons that did not have a golf professional at their club.
“If a young person could model their career after an old timer, Bob Smith would be someone who I would recommend,” Iowa Golf Hall of Fame member Rick Tegtmeier, CGCS, MG, said. “He worked at many golf courses around the state, he mentored young people and Iowa golf was in his blood.”
Awards & Service
Iowa GCSA Board of Directors 1953-1954
Iowa GCSA Vice President 1955
Iowa GCSA President 1956 & 1957
Iowa GCSA Distinguished Service Award 1990
Iowa GCSA 25 & 50 year membership Pins
Newton Country Club 1937-1938
Elmwood Country Club 1939-1942
Elmwood Country Club 1946-1948
Des Moines Golf & Country Club 1949
Pine Knolls Country Club 1950-1961
Turf Supply Company 1962-1969
Pella Country Club 1970
Turf Supply Company 1971-1972
Pine Knolls Country Club 1975-1976
All Vets (Clear Lake) 1978
Appanoose Country Club 1979-1982
The Iowa Golf Association is thrilled to welcome these five new members to the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame and will host a ceremony honoring those individuals at Echo Valley Country Club on Friday evening, September 27. We will also use our new Golf House Iowa facility for reception and tours prior to the induction ceremony. An online link to register for the event will be available and posted online soon.