Category: News

Huseman wins third career Fort Dodge Amateur title, Davis & Madsen claim victory

Thanks to pristine play through the first 36 holes of the 74th annual Fort Dodge Amateur golf tournament, Andrew Huseman (right) found himself in a peculiar position for the event’s first-ever championship round on Sunday evening.

Leading by an almost-unfathomable 10 strokes, the ink was ostensibly drying on Huseman’s third title since 2019 in the Open division. Yet the grandson of Fort Dodge Senior High Hall of Fame icon Dutch Huseman and son of long-time Fort Dodge chiropractor Bill Huseman didn’t treat the final nine holes as a victory lap.

There was still a title to officially seal.

The Ankeny Centennial graduate kept his nose to the grindstone and did what he needed down the stretch, sealing a seven-shot win over Willis Gaer of Des Moines. Meanwhile, Sean Davis of Council Bluffs (Senior) and Carroll’s Jim Madsen (Super Senior) broke through with inaugural victories at the Fort Dodge Country Club.

Click here to read more from
Eric Pratt of the Fort Dodge Messenger

2022 Herman Sani Scholars announced

Herman Sani (right) is seen talking with Gene Sarazen in August, 1950.  Sani served as IGA President in 1929.

The recipients of the 2022 Herman Sani Scholarships, presented by the Iowa Golf Association Foundation (IGAF) have been announced. Nora Carlson, of Humboldt, John Cahalan, of West Des Moines, Derek Peng, of Ames and Ashton Martens, of Grundy Center, will receive a four-year scholarship of $2,000 per year ($8,000 total). Those individuals will be recognized at the Herman Sani Golf Tournament and Dinner held at Echo Valley Country Club, Norwalk, in August.

Nora Carlson, the daughter of Tom and Sara Carlson, is a graduate of Humboldt High School and will be attending Iowa State University in the fall to study Kinesiology on an Occupational Therapy track.

I am honored and humbled to receive the Herman Sani Scholarship. I am grateful to everyone who makes this scholarship possible. This scholarship aids financially helping me focus more on my coursework. I am thankful for the opportunities given to me through the game of golf and for the lessons which I have learned through the game. I hope to always be a representative of characteristics which embody the game of golf and the core values of the Herman Sani Scholarship; honesty, humility, and perseverance.

John Cahalan, the son of Steve and Gabrielle Cahalan, is a graduate of Dowling Catholic High School and has been accepted to the University of Iowa, SMU, Luther and St. Olaf College and plans to double major in Business Administration and Music Performance.  

To be selected as a Herman Sani Scholar is an incredible honor. It was impactful to see how many successful people have been chosen, whether it be a success in golf or a career. I am pretty blessed to be included in this remarkable history. Being a Sani Scholar will always tie me back to the great game of golf, a game that has led to lifelong friendships and memories are just as important as any accomplishments or successes. I am very thankful to be selected and am looking forward to hopefully adding to the incredible legacy of Herman Sani.”

Derek Peng, the son of Edward and Natalia Peng, is a graduate of Ames High School and has been accepted to Georgetown University, UNC Chapel Hill, Wake Forest University, NC State University, Iowa State University and the University of Iowa and plans to study economics or mechanical engineering. 

Golf has been a huge part of my life since a very young age. Besides the challenge and the fun, I’ve learned that golf is a wonderful opportunity to have a positive impact in my community. I’m honored to receive the Herman Sani Scholarship and look forward to continuing to share my passions with the people around me.”

Ashton Martens, the son of Steven and Patti Martens, is a graduate of Grundy Center and will be attending Upper Iowa University in the fall to play golf and study business or marketing. 

“To be selected as a Herman Sani Scholar is truly a dream come true. Golf has always played a very important role in my life and will continue to play a role in my future. The game itself has taught me many life lessons, on and off the course. This scholarship will help me pursue my Marketing degree while playing golf at Upper Iowa University over the next four years. I am truly honored and blessed to be selected as a recipient of such a prestigious scholarship.”


The Herman Sani Scholarship Program was established in 1958. Herman Sani had a passion for golf and young people. Sani was the first director of the Iowa Golf Association and served the organization for over 30 years. This scholarship was created in his memory with the purpose to assist Iowa students to further their education. As of 2022, 195 college-bound students have been awarded this four-year scholarship. 

Most of the scholarship money comes from the generous donations by individuals and corporate sponsors. Since 2013 the Coppola family of Norwalk has contributed $250,000 to the Herman Sani Scholarship Fund. The Iowa Golf Association and point events from around the state also make significant contributions to the fund. For more information about the scholarship visit our website at www.iowagolf.org/scholarships

2022 Ann Griffel Scholars announced

The Iowa Golf Association (IGA) is excited to announce the 2022 recipients of the Ann Griffel (pictured above right with Jacque Fladoos) Scholarship Award. Nora Carlson, Madison Craig, Alexa Garvin, Amber Henson and Emma Davidson are receiving a one-year scholarship of $2,000.

Since 1963, the Ann Griffel Scholarship Award has been helping students further their education. A total of 253 students have earned the honor of receiving this prestigious scholarship.

Nora Carlson, of Humboldt, is the daughter of Tom and Sara Carlson and will be attending Iowa State University in the fall to study Kinesiology on an Occupational Therapy track.

“To me, the game of golf has meant demonstrating solid time management, strong work ethic and commitment; strengthening my mental toughness; and forming relationships and memories,” Carlson shared. “The game of golf has helped me build strong good habits or virtues. Becoming a better golfer doesn’t happen overnight. For the past eight years, I have worked to use my time wisely and effectively so that I give myself the best opportunity for success.”

Madison Craig, of Solon, is the daughter of Ray and Beth Craig and will be attending Central College in the fall to study Biology on the Pre-Med Track.

“The game of golf has enabled me to further refine my ability to focus and ability to remain calm even in difficult situations on the golf course. These are all important skills that I will be able to use in my future as a college student or working as a doctor,” said Craig. “Golf has been a very enjoyable and rewarding sport for me. I am certain golf will play a vital role in my future, especially as a medical professional. I’m sure there will be many opportunities to make acquaintances or even collaborate with colleagues over a game of golf.”

Amber Henson, of Marshalltown, is the daughter of Mark and Andrea Henson and will be attending Drake University in the fall to study Finance and Data Analytics.

“Golf has been part of my life very early on and over the years has taught me many things,” Henson said. “My dad has always said that ‘the biggest distance in golf is between my ears’. Golf has taught me to control my emotions, think logically, to practice diligently, to move on past adverse situations and most importantly, to acknowledge when others have done well.”

Alexa Garvin, of Wilton, is the daughter of Gregg and Kelly Garvin and will be attending St. Ambrose University in the fall for Nursing. Garvin earned her CNA verification this summer.

“Golf has taught me the importance of patience, critical thinking, determination and controlling my emotions. It allows me to compete as an individual and as part of a team,” Garvin shared. “Golf unifies by bringing people together from all ages, backgrounds, and skill levels. I find a sense of peace from external distractions in my life while on the course.”

Emma Davidson, of Northwood, is the daughter of Ron and Michelle Davidson and will be attending Iowa State University in the fall to double major in Agronomy and Seed Science.

“In sports the toughest competitor anyone faces is themselves,” stated Davidson. “It is hard to stay positive when things are not going the way they should. Through golf I have been able to learn how to stay mentally tough and positive to finish a round to the best of my ability. I am a person who wants results right away, but I have learned it takes time. It took several hours a day to improve my game. I could not give up on myself, I had to keep pushing through. It takes time and hard work to achieve success, so stay patient and stay diligent.”


The Ann Griffel Scholarship Award was established in 1963 as just one $350 scholarship awarded by the Iowa Women’s Golf Association (IWGA). The award has evolved into a $2,000 scholarship awarded to multiple high school senior girls who intend to further their education at an Iowa institution of higher learning, whether it be a college, university or trade school.

The Iowa Golf Association Foundation (IGAF) was established to preserve the game and develop more programs to promote the future of golf in Iowa. The IGAF awards the Ann Griffel Scholarship Award annually. This scholarship was named after the long-time IWGA President, Ann Griffel, who started the Girls’ State Junior, Forever 39 Match Play, State Wife-Husband and the Senior Women’s Championships in her 23-year term.

Peck lights up Carroll CC, wins by one over McCoy

Sunday afternoon at the 2022 Carroll Amateur was a hot one, and the boys from Ankeny did not cool down the temperature. Connor Peck (right) and Nate McCoy were red-hot all weekend, but a four-under back nine in the final round gave Peck the edge over McCoy.

Peck earned his second career Carroll Amateur victory with a three-round total of 200 (72-64-64). He was four shots back going into the second round, where he carded an eight-under 64 to get three shots back on McCoy heading into the final round.

It was all square after McCoy made bogey on the first hole in the final round. After that point, Peck and McCoy battled all afternoon. McCoy had a one-shot lead going into the seventh hole, but Peck’s birdies on seven and nine pushed McCoy to second and Peck caught fire.

With back-to-back birdies on 10 and 11, Peck took a two-shot lead going into the final seven holes. However, McCoy did not back down as he matched Peck’s birdies on holes 13, 14 and 15. McCoy got one back on the 18th where Peck made bogey, but it was not enough to over-come the red-hot Connor Peck.

Spencer Clatt, of Gilbert finished in third place, one shot ahead of the fourth place Hogan Hansen, of Waverly. Kolby Shackelford took fifth place with a 211 total.

Sean Davis knocked off Ron Peterson in a playoff for the Senior Division. Davis fired back-to-back rounds of 70 to push him into a tie with the first-round leader, Peterson. The two competitors went to the second playoff hole where Davis earned the victory.

Jeff Panek, of Johnston, placed third with a 143 two-round total. Carroll’s own Mike Eckerman placed fourth with a 145 tally. Gary Ellis, of Norwalk, rounded out the top-five with a 75 in the first round and a 74 in the final round.

In the Super Senior Division, Carroll’s Jim Madsen won by four shots. Madsen carded a 75 and a 76 for a 151 tally to top Brian Fell, of Ames.

Fell put the pressure on Madsen in the final round. Madsen had a seven-shot lead on Fell, but with a final round 73 Fell was able to cut into that lead.

Tom Schill, of Gowrie, and Mike Ninneman, of Ames, finished in a two-way tie for third place with 156 totals. To finish the top-five, Curt Burns and Dan Trerotola, both from Des Moines, carded 158 totals.


Championship Final Results
1. Connor Peck 72-64-64=200
2. Nate McCoy 68-67-66=201
3. Spencer Clatt 75-64-69=208
4. Hogan Hansen 71-69-69=209
5. Kolby Shackelford 73-68-70=211

Senior Division Results
1. Sean Davis 70-70=140
2. Ron Peterson 68-72=140
3. Jeff Panek 69-74=143
4. Mike Eckerman 69-76=145
5. Gary Ellis 75-74=149

Super Senior Division Results
1. Jim Madsen 75-76=151
2. Brian Fells 82-73=155
T3. Tom Schill 82-74=156
T3. Mike Ninneman 74-82=156
T5. Curt Burns 82-76=158
T5. Dan Trerotola 81-77=158

Clausen becomes first local golfer to claim Lake Creek Amateur

Aaron Clausen (left) holds the trophy after winning the 2022 Lake Creek Amateur at BVU Lake Creek on Sunday, with Clausen is Joe Powell, coach of the Buena Vista University golf teams and director of golf at BVU Lake Creek.

Storm Laker battles wind, elite field in carding two rounds under par

Storm Lake resident Aaron Clausen became the first local golfer to win the Lake Amateur on Sunday, May 29, after carding rounds of 71 and 70 to claim the title by two strokes over former champion J.D. Anderson, of Johnston, in an event completed under gusty conditions at Buena Vista University Golf Course at Lake Creek over the weekend.

The Lake Creek Amateur, which began in 1973 during Lake Creek’s second year, is a points event used by the Iowa Golf Association to help the sport’s state organization determine its Player of the Year.

Clausen, who played in “The Am” as a Storm Lake High School student, worked in the past few years to reclaim his amateur status. He finished in third place one year ago, then got over the hump this weekend to earn the trophy, the only golfer playing both rounds under par.

“The conditions were tough as the wind kept blowing,” Clausen said. “But those are the kinds of conditions that always test golfers here. The greens were rolling, and the pins were fair. Overall, it was a great test.”

Clausen shot a 1-under-par 71 on Saturday to hold the first-round lead with Freddy Bullock, a Dordt University golfer from Sioux Center. Clausen then shot 9-hole scores of 34 and 36 on Sunday for a 2-under-par 70, enough for a two-stroke cushion over Anderson, who had rounds of 73 and 70.

The champion’s opening nine holes on Sunday included five birdies, one bogey, and one double-bogey, which took place on the par-five No. 4. His most important shot, he said, occurred on the first hole of the final nine holes, a 10-foot par save on the 10th.

“Making that putt for par on no. 10 was huge,” Clausen said. “It helped me continue the momentum I had from those birdies on the opening nine holes.”

From that point forward, the former Creighton University golfer used less club on most shots while still swinging aggressively. He parred seven of his final nine holes while earning a birdie after dropping an 18-footer on No. 13. The lone blemish on his card in the final nine holes was the result of a tough three-putt bogey on the challenging No. 15 green.

When Anderson’s par attempt on No. 17 stayed on the lip. Clausen’s title was all but secured.

“The putt stayed there, and people told me to wait a second to see if the wind would push it in,” said the affable Anderson, a two-time Lake Creek Amateur winner, and two-time Iowa Player of the Year. “I could see it wasn’t going to fall, it was one rotation away.”

Anderson and fellow competitors such as Nate McCoy, of Ankeny, the reigning Iowa Golf Association Player of the Year, praised Clausen and the rest of the field for competing on a course and Lake Creek’s signature greens made demanding, but fair, due to winds of up to 40 miles per hour.

“The wind really made it challenging,” said Senior Division champ Bret Taylor, of Booneville. “In this kind of wind, you’ll have a lot of 3- and 4-foot putts for par and bogey. The golf course has always been good and a lot of fun. With the wind you could tell it would dry out. The greens played great.”

Taylor, who hadn’t been in Storm Lake for “The Am” in more than a decade, said he’ll return to play again. Earning the Senior Division title gave him the 57-year-old some measure of satisfaction as he had finished in second place in the Open Division four times previously. Super Senior Division champ Joel Yunek, of Mason City, joined Taylor in saying he’d be happy to return to a course that, in mere weeks, will celebrate its 50th anniversary. Yunek topped Tom Schill, of Gowrie, in a three-hole sudden-death playoff to earn his championship.

For his part, Clausen said he’d savor the title, one that he, in effect, shares with his community, and the staff and grounds crew at BVU Lake Creek, members led by BVU Lake Creek Director of Golf Joe Powell and Superintendent Bob Leinbaugh, locals who worked throughout a cool spring season in readying the 151-acre links layout.

“I’ve been out here playing a long time and figured at some point, someone (locally) would break through and win,” he said. “I’m really happy to win it as I have a lot of pride in this course. I’m equally proud that so many great golfers across Iowa continue to return to our community for the tournament. It’s great to be a point event and in the conversation in helping determine the IGA’s Player of the Year.”

The Lake Creek Amateur just this year returned to official points-event status for the IGA, the organization that honored BVU Lake Creek by naming it Iowa’s 18-Hole Course of the Year in 2021.

The year 2021 was also a game-changer for Clausen and his wife, Kelsey, as they welcomed identical twins into their family in late September. The girls, Rosemary and Lenora, were with their mother at the end of the rounds on Saturday and Sunday. Their dad gave each a kiss following the competition.

“This is their first golf tournament,” Aaron said with a smile. “It was so special seeing them after I putted out on the last hole. It’s a memory I’ll never forget.”

Click here for full results

 

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 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

‘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

Look and see what facilities will be open

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

  • A.H. Blank Golf Course (Des Moines) will be opening starting Tuesday, March 15.
  • Amana Colonies Golf Club will be opening Friday, March 25th. Cart path only. Shoulder season rates. Tee times available at amanagolf.com.
  • Bright-Grandview Golf Course (Des Moines) will be opening starting Tuesday, March 15.
  • Brown Deer Golf Club (Coralville) is hoping to open Saturday, March 19. March Special rate will be in effect and likely cart path only for the first few weeks. Call for tee times starting Thursday, March 17 – (319) 248-9300.
  • Cedar Creek Golf Course (Ottumwa) will be open for the Season WITH carts effective Tuesday March 15. Range will NOT open until the following week.
  • Dodge Riverside Golf Club (Council Bluffs) is open. Currently cart path only. Off season rates currently.
  • Duck Creek and Emeis (Davenport) will open this Sunday the 20th at 8:30 a.m., for walking only. It will probably be a few days before they are able to allow carts.
  • Finkbine Golf Course has set their tentative open date for Friday, March 25.
  • Fort Dodge Country Club is opening this Wednesday, March 16th. Open daily at 10 am. Range available with paid rounds. Spring rate – Greens Fee $44 Cart (per player/seat) $16.50 – Call (515) 955-8551.
  • Jester Park Golf Course (Granger) will be opening starting Tuesday, March 15.
  • Oakland Acres Golf Club (Grinnell) will be opening the course on Thursday, March 17. Early season pricing everyday (including weekends).
  • Palmer Hills Golf Course (Bettendorf) will open Thursday, March 17.
  • Pheasant Ridge and Walter’s Ridge – Par 3 (Cedar Falls) plans to open Saturday, March 18.
  • Prairie Links Golf Course (Waverly) will be opening Wednesday, March 16, at 11:00 a.m.
  • Rice Lake Golf & Country Club (Lake Mills) will open on Tuesday, April 4 for the season.
  • River Valley Golf Course (Adel) will open Sunday, March 20. Call (515) 993-4029 for rates.
  • Stone Creek Golf Club (Williamsburg) will open Friday, April 1st, and will be open from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Mon.-Sun. the month of April.
  • Terrace Hills Golf Course (Altoona) is open for the season.
  • The Legacy Golf Club (Norwalk) will be open this week on Wednesday, March 16th through at least Thursday, March 24th.
  • The Preserve on Lake Rathbun (Moravia) will open Thursday, March 17, with carts. Shoulder Season rates will be in effect. Call (641) 724 1400 for tee times.
  • Tournament Club of Iowa (Polk City) s targeting March 25th as our opening date. Tee times can be made online only at tcofiowa.com.
  • Treynor Recreation Area will open Wednesday, March 16 officially.
  • Twin Pines Golf Course (Cedar Rapids) will open Tuesday, March 15. Hours 8 a.m. – dusk. Tee times are encouraged – Call (319) 286-5580. Carts in rough only.
  • Veenker Memorial Golf Course (Ames) is opening for play this Wednesday, March 16/ Reservations can be made via phone (515) 294-6727 or through the website veenkergolf.com.
  • Veterans Memorial Golf Club (Clear Lake) will be opening Thursday, March 17 for walking only to start.
  • Wandering Creek Golf Club (Marshalltown) is on Wednesday, March 16, for walking only until the grounds dry up enough for carts.
  • Washington Golf & Country Club will be looking to open on April 1, weather permitting.
  • Waveland Golf Course (Des Moines) will be opening starting Tuesday, March 15.
  • Westwood Golf Course (Newton) will open for play Wednesday morning, March 16, at 11 a.m. Tee times recommended. No cart restrictions. $26 for 18 holes including cart – Call (641) 792-3087.
  • Woodland Hills Golf Course (Des Moines) will be opening March 15, with rates of $39 for 18 with cart and $37 when booked online this is 7 days a week while we are in spring rates.

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!

Mike McCoy, Zach Johnson to share special 2023

Written by Rick Brown, Iowa Golf Hall of Fame member

I don’t know how many rounds of golf I’ve watched Zach Johnson (right) and Mike McCoy (left) play during their distinguished careers. I do know it’s well into three figures.

And I don’t know how many stories I wrote about them during my time as the golf writer at the Des Moines Register. Again, it’s well into triple digits.

I chased them on golf courses for years, chronicling their success in Iowa, the United States, even Ireland. I covered them in a wide range of events, from the Sani to the Masters in Augusta.

They have been and always will be two of my favorites, for reasons that go beyond the fact that they were outstanding golfers and gave me plenty to write about. They are gentlemen golfers, humble and first class in every way. They never refused my interview request, and were always gracious with their time. They were, as the saying goes, Iowa Nice.

And as their list of accomplishments grew, they never forgot their golfing roots here in Iowa. They’ve always brought a bright spotlight to this state with their play. And the lights will shine even brighter in 2023.

Johnson will serve as captain of the United States Ryder Cup team in Rome. And McCoy will serve as captain of the Walker Cup team at St. Andrews.

“Can you believe that Iowans will captain the Ryder Cup and Walker Cup in the same year?” said Chad Pitts, executive director of the Iowa Golf Association.

This is a proud moment for Iowa, as well as the state’s underrated but robust golf community. Johnson’s 12 PGA victories include the 2007 Masters at Augusta and 2015 Open Championship at St. Andrews. He’s played on five Ryder Cup teams and had a winning record (8-7-2).

“He’ll do anything to help the team win, first of all,” said Davis Love III, the U.S. captain in 2012 and 2016. “He’s a great teammate. And he always plays well, too. Guys look up to him and respect him.”

Tom Lehman was Johnson’s first Ryder Cup captain, in 2006 at the K Club in Kildare, Ireland.

“It’s been fun to watch him play and cheer him on and be happy for all the things he’s accomplished,” Lehman said. “He’s come such a long way and done so much. If he was a really nasty person it would be pretty easy to not care so much. But because he’s such a great human being and such a wonderful guy, you feel like every success that comes to him, he deserves it.”

McCoy’s pinnacle achievement was winning the 2013 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship at Birmingham Country Club in Birmingham, Ala. That victory got him into the 2014 Masters.

A year later, McCoy’s distinguished national career was recognized when he was named to the 2015 Walker Cup team. Closer to home, Mike won the Iowa Amateur six times and has been the Iowa Golf Association’s Player of the Year 11 times.

McCoy will become the second native Iowan to serve as Walker Cup captain. Dr. Edgar Updegraff, who grew up in Boone, captained the 1975 team. That competition was also at St. Andrews. McCoy does know a little bit about St. Andrews. He played there in the 2018 Senior British Open.

Johnson and McCoy are two guys who cut their golfing teeth in the state at an early age, and then took a big bite out of the competition.

McCoy was 10 years old when he became a caddy at the Wakonda Club in Des Moines.

Caddies got to play on Monday. The pro at Wakonda at the time, Jack Webb, took McCoy under his wing. Bill Rose, another pro at Wakonda, later became McCoy’s instructor and helped him elevate his game.

Johnson was also introduced to golf at the age of 10, joining pro Larry Galdson’s junior program at Elmcrest Country Club in Cedar Rapids. Zach’s instructor during his high-level career, Mike Bender, is another Iowan. Webb, Rose, Gladson and Bender are all in the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame alongside McCoy and Johnson.

Johnson and McCoy’s success stories are anchored by hard work, and a bulldog mentality. Johnson was never the No. 1 on the golf team at Drake. When his college career ended, he had to decide whether to pursue professional golf or fall back on his business and marketing career.

He decided to give golf a try, since he’d experienced improvement every year and now had an opportunity to devote himself to the game on a full-time basis.

“Everything that came with being a professional golfer, I was willing and able to do it,” Johnson said.

Golf, not business and marketing, became his calling card and opened the door to a career that is taking him to the Ryder Cup in a third capacity. First as a player, then a vice-captain, and now captain.

Success wasn’t a given for McCoy on the golf course, either. Growing up on the south side of Des Moines, he’d carry his golf bag to the city bus stop, then catch a ride to the A.H. Blank course to play. He fought through some tough times early in his career. But as he improved, his zest for competition grew as well.

“You can always improve on something, and I did love the competition,” McCoy said. “I loved surprising myself. And I would beat players that were older than me and better than me. That kept me going right into college (at Wichita State). That’s when things started breaking free for me, and I could see myself becoming a good player.”

I had the good fortune to cover McCoy and Johnson at the 2014 Masters. It was a pinch-me moment, watching two of Iowa’s greatest players ever at one the game’s great shrines. It all came into focus on the Tuesday of tournament week, when Johnson and McCoy played the front nine together in a practice round..

I can still remember interviewing McCoy in a room outside Augusta National’s locker room after the second round and thinking to myself, “We’re not in Iowa anymore.”

Nine years later, Johnson and McCoy will share the title of captain at two of the sport’s elite events. Just two guys from Iowa.

Scroll to top