Category: News

‘Up and Down’ the Iowa Golf Scene – A Golf Life Well Lived

Bob Moreland poses in his den that features memorabilia of golf achievements and honors that stretches more than five decades.

Moreland Reflects on his Extraordinary Club Pro, Playing Career

Bob Moreland was predestined to become a golfer. But the retired, long-time Ottumwa Country Club professional admits fishing was his first love.

Growing up in Peoria, IL., Moreland would much rather hit the fishing hole than the golf course. It wasn’t until the age of 13 that his deep golf roots prevailed, when he replaced casting a reel with rifling a 5-iron.

“I actually didn’t start playing until the seventh grade and then really made up for lost time.  Day after day, Mom would drop me off at the course at 8:00 a.m. and come pick me up an hour after dark,” recalled Moreland, the well-decorated Iowa Section PGA golf professional and Iowa Golf Hall of Fame member, during a recent interview at his home in Ottumwa. “She would give me a dollar for the day for a hot dog and a Coke. We’d play 36 holes and then putt for dimes underneath the streetlight. On a good day, I’d return home with more than a buck.”

Moreland’s golf pedigree is extraordinary. His father, Gus Moreland was a world-class player in the 1930s. Competing as an amateur, Gus Moreland beat the likes of Ben Hogan in the Southwestern Amateur, Byron Nelson in the Glen Garden Invitational, Johnny Goodman in the Houston Invitational, Lawson Little in the Trans-Mississippi, and Francis Ouimet in an early round of the British Amateur. He played in the inaugural Masters Tournament in 1934 and was a two-time selection for The Walker Cup, where he never lost a match in singles or doubles competition.

“Dad and Ben Hogan were friends and competitors, he’s mentioned in the book Hogan, written by Curt Sampson,” said Moreland. I remember going to Shady Oaks Country Club in Dallas to watch Hogan hit 120-yard wedge shots on the range. He’d take aim at his caddie, who was armed with just a towel, and the caddie only had to move slightly in either direction to shag those balls.”

Gus Moreland eventually turned professional at the age of 53, taking a club job in Pampa, TX, and later in Peoria, IL., where Bob Moreland grew up and would eventually lead Richwoods High School to the Illinois state championship. That performance was a springboard to a successful golf career in its own right. Moreland moved to Texas right after high school in 1962 to seek his golf fortune, going to work at Cedar Crest Golf Course in Dallas, site of Walter Hagen’s fifth and final PGA Championship.

“One day in 1963, the head pro said there’s this Mexican guy who can play a little bit, and you should meet him. He paired us together, and I found out rather quickly how well he could play. That guy was Lee Trevino,” Moreland said.

Moreland received a hand written note of congratulations from golf legend Lee Trevino upon his induction into the Iowa Golf Association Hall of Fame. Moreland met Trevino in Dallas in 1963 and maintains a close friendship to this day.

Moreland and Trevino were frequent golf companions for the next few years until Trevino burst onto the PGA Tour scene in 1967 by finishing fifth in the U.S. Open at Baltusrol. He came back to Cedar Crest and told Moreland, “I can beat these guys.” A year later, Trevino won the first of his six major titles, the 1968 U.S. Open at Oak Hill in Rochester, NY. They remain good friends.

In 1968, Moreland played the PGA Tour. In those days, fewer players had exempt status, resulting in large Monday qualifiers where, in some weeks, 150 players teed it up for 30 openings in the field. “It wasn’t a very glamorous lifestyle for the also-rans,” Moreland remembers. “We traveled by car, stayed in cheap motels, and scraped by.” He stepped away from the tour and held club professional positions in Texas and at Sunset Hills Golf Course in Pekin, IL, until his life changed in 1976.

That’s when the Ottumwa Country Club came calling, and Moreland would spend the next 34 years serving the club with distinction, not only in club operations and starting one of the state’s most successful junior golf programs but also maintaining a high level of playing ability, competing in Iowa PGA Section and national events. For a remarkable 17 times, Moreland was named the Iowa Section PGA Player of the Year in three categories: five in the regular category, ten times as Senior Player of the Year, and twice as Super Senior. He won the 1981 Iowa Open and was a two-time Iowa Section PGA champion.

Byron Nelson also extended his personal congratulations to Moreland on his Iowa Golf Hall of Fame selection.

Strong performances in the annual PGA Club Pro Championship earned Moreland a spot in three PGA Championships: the 1977 event at Pebble Beach, the 1981 tournament at Atlanta Athletic Club, and the 1982 event at Southern Hills. He also qualified for and participated in the US Senior Open and several Senior PGA Championships. His extensive list of other golf achievements included playing several times in the former Quad Cities Open and making the cut in the 1973 Western Open in Chicago. In his prime, Moreland would play 18-20 section events annually. “In those days, club pros would play every Monday from the first of May until the end of September,” he recalled.

His playing accomplishments aside, Moreland is equally proud of the robust junior golf program he and his wife, Lynda, operated each year at Ottumwa Country Club. Between 85 and 120 boys and girls participated in a six-week program annually that featured instruction, rules and etiquette sessions, practice, and culminated with a tournament and awards banquet. Both the Ottumwa boys and girls high school golf teams would later capture multiple state championships populated with players from his program, and several would go on to become club professionals. His advice to young players today – “Get some good instruction, work on your short game, and leave the golf carts in the stall. Walking builds the endurance you need to become a good golfer. I see too many youngsters on carts.”

Among his other awards, Moreland was named the Iowa PGA Section’s Professional of the Year, Junior Golf Leader Award, and Merchandiser of the Year. The job of a club professional is demanding, juggling the daily tee sheet, running tournaments and leagues, conducting lessons, the pro shop, administration, and a multitude of other responsibilities. “I can honestly say that a day didn’t go by when I didn’t look forward to going to work,” Moreland said. “There were many long days during the golf season, which goes with the territory. It’s like joining the Mafia, you know exactly what you are getting into.”

Now 79 years old, Moreland looks back on his golf career with pride. “I’ve been so fortunate to work in a profession where you get to meet so many good people,” he said. “You can’t give up in the game of life or the game of golf. It’s a game you can play until they bury you.”

Bob Moreland’s father, Gus, (back row, center) is pictured with his 1934 Walker Cup teammates, including Lawson Little and Johnny Goodman and captained by Francis Ouimet. Gus Moreland also played in the 1934 Masters.

“Up and Down” the Iowa Golf Scene

A regular feature column written by IGA Foundation board member Mark Gambaiana, Up and Down the Iowa Golf Scene is designed to take the reader beyond the headlines and scoreboards to share stories of those who help make Iowa golf so rich and rewarding. Profiles will spotlight those who advance the game through volunteerism, service, extraordinary achievement, competition, human interest and the many other dimensions of golf in Iowa.

Click the links below to read previous Up and Down features
– IGA Rules Official Sean Flanders
– R&A, USGA Champion Gene Elliott
– Nervig Reflects on Decades of Service to The Iowa Masters
Arseneault Finds Fulfillment in Life’s Next Chapter After Competitive Golf
Ivan Miller remembers the days of the Minnows
Kinney adjusts to life on tour
Standard Golf’s roots run deep
Pettersen sets sights high
McCoy, Norton Put Iowa Stamp on Florida Senior Golf

May wins weather-shortened Fort Dodge Amateur

May, Davis, Brooks crowned in Sunday-only format after rain washes out opening round

Zach May (right) made the choice to stay in Iowa this summer instead of returning to his home country of New Zealand.For the soon-to-be Iowa State University sophomore golfer, that decision paid off in a big way here Sunday, as May was crowned the open division winner of the 75th annual Fort Dodge Amateur.

Thanks to a 33 on the front-nine at the Fort Dodge Country Club, May finished at 2-under to hold off a handful of the top amateurs in the state — including Zac Jenkins and Nate Juffer, who tied for second at even par.

Sean Davis repeated as the Senior Division winner with a 1-over 72, while Bob Brooks was crowned the Super Senior winner with a 1-under 70 round.

Click here to read more from coverage by the Fort Dodge Messenger

Golf House Iowa receives $250,000 donation from Iowa PGA Section

When the Iowa PGA Section started discussions on a new three-, five- and 10-year strategic plan for the organization last December, Golf House Iowa came up.

“It became apparent that we needed to do something,” Executive Director Greg Mason said.

Those discussions included the Iowa PGA Section’s Board of Directors, the Iowa PGA Foundation’s Board of Directors and the organization’s past presidents.

Mason figured a $50,000 donation might be in the works, and maybe $100,000.

“But during those talks, a quarter of a million dollars came up,” said Mason, who has been the head of the state’s professional golfing body since 2017.

On Monday, Mason informed his members that the Iowa PGA Section would be donating $250,000 to Golf House Iowa. The donation includes naming rights to the building’s Hall of Fame meeting room.

“This is the right thing to do,” Mason said.

Golf House Iowa, currently under construction overlooking the 9th green of the Echo Valley Country Club’s Creek course in Norwalk, will be the home of the Iowa Golf Association, its programs, a museum and the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame.

“This is recognition, from an organization like the Iowa PGA Section, of what Golf House is intending to do,” said Chad Pitts, CEO and Executive Director of the Iowa Golf Association. “They understand it in a way that they made a very significant donation. The size of their donation gave us a big jump in reaching our goals.”

The Iowa Golf Association Foundation is in the home stretch of a fundraising campaign for the new facility, scheduled to open next spring. Nearly 90 percent of the $5 million goal has been raised.

“The Iowa PGA Section and the Iowa Golf Association have some unified goals, and one of them is to make golf a better game,” Pitts said. “Better for our players, the PGA pros, golf course superintendents, everyone who works with the game. Together, it makes golf’s whole ecosystem better.”

Erin Strieck, president of the Iowa PGA Section and the Iowa PGA Foundation, said her organization is proud to be a part of the rich history of Iowa golf.

“This gift is a gesture of thanks to all who have come before us and those who will follow,” said Strieck, the head golf professional at the Pinnacle Country Club in Milan, Ill. “Golf House Iowa will highlight that history through the museum, the Golf Hall of Fame and all the programs that will help enrich the game over time. We are proud to be giving this gift on behalf of our Iowa PGA members and associates and those who serve this game in partnership with the Iowa Golf Association.”

Steve Jermier, president of the Iowa Golf Association and the Iowa Golf Association Foundation, said the Iowa PGA Section’s donation came at a perfect time from a fundraising standpoint.

“For the Iowa PGA to make a contribution of this size and magnitude at this point in the campaign is just huge,” Jermier said.

He added that while the game is bigger than any one organization, the Iowa PGA Section’s donation shows that all forces are unified in one common goal.

“I’ve talked to multiple club pros from across the state who are very excited about this project, and they recognize what it’s going to do for the game, how it’s going to help grow the game and preserve the game in our state,” Jermier said. “It’s testimony to how these organizations work together. And that’s a big deal. This vote of confidence from the section just means the world to us.”

The Iowa PGA Section has been part of the PGA of America since it was founded in 1916. In the original charter, Iowa joined other Midwestern states in the Plains Section. Iowa broke off into the Nebraska Section in 1925 and became the Iowa PGA Section in 1936. The Iowa PGA Section includes part of Western Illinois.

“Both organizations (Iowa PGA Section and Iowa Golf Association) want to grow the game in Iowa and Western Illinois,” Mason said. “We just feel when we’re together, it’s going to go better.”

Mason said the Iowa PGA Section’s gift to Golf House Iowa will come from investment accounts, and member dues will not increase. The gift will be paid in annual installments through 2026.

The Iowa PGA Section operates with a three-pronged mission statement – Mission, Vision and Values. Mission represents promoting and growing the game of golf. Vision is aimed at inspiring leadership, collaboration and innovation. Values covers philanthropic endeavors to give back to the community through the game of golf.

Mason remembers one strategic meeting when those values were being discussed. He said that Ken Schall, a four-time Iowa PGA Section champion and past president (2005-07), spoke up and linked those philanthropic efforts to discussions about donating to the Golf House Iowa project.

“He said, “What can be more philanthropic than this?’ ” Mason recalled.

Mason said the donation to Golf House Iowa is part of the organization’s big-picture scorecard.

“We have bigger plans,” Mason said. “We want to increase scholarships, things like that. But this is definitely a way to lay the groundwork.”

The donation will also help honor many great professionals, past and present. This October, the four-member Iowa Golf Hall of Fame induction class will include Kevin Beard, the head professional at Otter Creek in Ankeny from 1990-2017. Beard will become the 34th current or former Iowa PGA Section member to be inducted. Beard and this year’s other three inductees – Joe Palmer, Jim Curell and Doug Dunakey – will increase the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame to 96 members.

“We’re looking to the future but we’re also honoring our past,” Mason said.

2023 Ann Griffel Scholars announced

The Iowa Golf Association (IGA) congratulates the 2023 recipients of the Ann Griffel (above right) Scholarship Award: Alexa Poppen, Emma Stock, Laura Klaessy, Maura Peters and Addison Berg. Each recipient will be awarded a one-year scholarship of $2,000. Since 1963, the Ann Griffel Scholarship Award has been helping students further their education. A total of 258 students have earned the honor of receiving this prestigious scholarship.

Alexa Poppen, of West Branch, is the daughter of Kami and Dave Poppen and plans to attend the University of Iowa to major in Management and Finance.

“I am grateful to have received this scholarship. I believe golf is a great way to connect with others and I look forward to playing the game for many years,” she said.


Emma Smock, of Oelwein, is the daughter of Todd and Deena Smock and will attend Wartburg College on the Pre-Physical Therapy track.

“I am very thankful and honored to receive this scholarship. The game of golf has taught me to be patient and relax in more than just golf but my everyday life in general. Having a few setbacks but finishing strong is another thing that golf has brought me. I have gained much knowledge and mental toughness for anything brought my way,” she said.


Laura Klaessy, of Grimes, is the daughter of John and Sara Klaessy and will study Elementary Education at Simpson College.

“Ann Griffel was an inspiration to many young women golfers, and it is a great honor for me to be a recipient of the Ann Griffel Scholarship. Golf has taught me to become mentally tough and become a student of the game and was an important part of my high school career. I look forward to continuing to play the game at Simpson College next fall,” she said.


Maura Peters, of Bettendorf, is the daughter of Benjamin and Jennifer Peters. She will be attending the University of Iowa to play on the women’s golf team and study biomedical engineering.

“I am so grateful to have been chosen as one of the 2023 Ann Griffel Scholarship recipients. The game of golf has helped mold me into the person I am today, teaching me all sorts of valuable lessons. I learned to problem solve, manage my emotions, be patient and most importantly, positive. I am so happy to have chosen a sport and hobby that has allowed me to form so many new relationships and friendships, and I cannot wait to immerse myself in this incredible game for the rest of my life,” she said.


Addison Berg, of Swisher, is the daughter of Aaron and Deana Berg. She will be attending the University of Northern Iowa with an undecided major at this time. She will also be a member of the golf team.

“Golf has been important to me from an early age. It has taught me so many important lessons such a as mental toughness. Golf is so unique because your always competing with yourself. You have to be able to put bad shots behind you, and you can’t play defense. You just have to go out and play the best you can every time,” she said.

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.

Anderson wins third career Southeast Iowa Amateur title

Johnston’s J.D. Anderson (right) won the neck-to-neck 2023 Southeast Iowa Amateur at The Preserve on Rathbun Lake in Moravia, feeding on a strong first round performance. Anderson withstood a strong challenge by West Des Moines’ Grant Smith, who carded the lowest final round score, to win by one.

Six birdies and only one bogey gave Anderson the solo lead heading into the final round at a 5-under 67. West Des Moines’ Gene Elliot and Minnetonka’s Conor Schubring also made the final pairing with a pair of first-round 68’s, but were unable to match their performance on Sunday.

In the end, the battle was between Anderson and Smith. Smith went on a roll early with four birdies in the first six holes, but ended up 1-over during the rest of his round. Anderson exchanged birdies and bogeys on his scorecard, ultimately finding a birdie on the final hole to clinch the win and avoid a playoff.

In the Senior Division, Tony Newkirk of Des Moines defended his tournament title, winning by one over Norwalk’s Terry Cook. Newkirk and Cook finished the weekend (-6) 138 and (-5) 139, respectively. Bob Brooks, of West Des Moines, continues his domination this season with his third straight win in the Super Senior Division, setting a new Super Senior tournament record with his (-10) 134. Brooks finished seven strokes ahead of runner-up David Studer, of West Des Moines. Defending champion Marshalltown’s Pat Ryan finished third, firing (-1) 143.

Click here for full results

‘Up and Down’ the Iowa Golf Scene – McCoy, Norton Put Iowa Stamp on Florida Senior Golf

Mike McCoy (left) added to his extensive list of titles by capturing the 2022 Florida State Senior Amateur crown. He’s in contention to repeat in the weather-delayed 2023 championship. Tom Norton (right) survived a sudden-death playoff to win the 2023 Florida State Super Senior Championship contested this spring at the Country Club of Ocala.

Claim Senior, Super Senior Amateur Titles in Sunshine State

The most decorated amateur in Iowa golf history and a veteran senior player with vast experience in Iowa Golf Association and USGA events are collectively making a substantial impact on senior golf in the state of Florida. 

Mike McCoy (right), who later this year will captain the United States’ Walker Cup team in competition against Great Britain-Ireland at The Old Course in St. Andrews, has positioned himself high atop the leaderboards at recent Florida Senior Amateur and Florida Senior Open championships. 

McCoy captured the 61st Florida Senior Amateur title in April of 2022 by firing a 54-hole total of 212 for a two-shot victory in the championship contested at Avila Golf and Country Club in Tampa. Among those chasing McCoy was former NFL quarterback Vinny Testeverde, who tied for 15th with a 222 total. McCoy remains in the hunt to defend his title in 2023 after shooting an opening round 72, one shot out of the lead, during action played April 11 at the Lago Mar Country Club in Plantation, FL. Heavy rains washed out play and tournament officials have postponed the final two rounds until October. 

Most recently, McCoy notched a strong showing at the 46th Florida Senior Open Championship held May 1-3, 2023, at Lakewood National Golf Club in Lakewood Ranch, FL. In a strong field featuring senior professionals and top amateurs, McCoy fired a 54-hole total of 212 to tie for fourth place and just two shots back of the victor, Shannon Sykora. A balky putter amid difficult pin positions during the final round hampered McCoy’s championship bid. Sykora is a former Korn Ferry Tour player and current women’s golf coach at Florida Gulf Coast University. In 2022, McCoy shot a 215 total to tie for 11th at the Florida State Senior Open.

“Competing in Florida senior events has opened up a new avenue of competition for me,” said McCoy recently. “I always enjoy playing in a field made up of the best amateurs and professionals and that certainly is the case with senior golf in Florida. I am very proud of the Florida State Amateur victory and sank some big putts down the stretch. I look forward to competing in these events in the future.”

The 11-time IGA Player of the Year is now a resident of North Palm Beach, FL. McCoy is a veteran of 65 USGA championships, including a victory at the 2013 Mid-Amateur Championship, which punched his ticket to participate in the 2014 Masters. He added to a deep golf pedigree by winning the R&A Senior Amateur in 2022 at Royal Dornoch. He will captain the 10-member Walker Cup team to Scotland on September 2-3, 2023 at St. Andrews. 

Norton (right) captured the 2023 Florida State Golf Association’s Super Senior Championship in dramatic fashion. A Muscatine resident who spends the winter months in Reunion, FL., Norton fired rounds of 71-73-75 for a 219 total to tie Mike Barkley of Belleaire, FL. He then sank a 15-foot birdie putt on the first hole of a sudden death playoff to capture the title, contested in late March at the Country Club of Ocala in Ocala, FL. Norton saw a four-shot lead evaporate during the final round, but hung on by parring the final eight holes in regulation to earn the playoff berth. “I kept myself in position and managed to avoid any big numbers, which is the key to being competitive in a 54-hole stroke play tournament,” said Norton. “I wound up making six birdies against nine bogies while maintaining a positive frame of mind throughout the event.”

A veteran contender in IGA senior events over the years, Norton captured his inaugural IGA championship last year by defeating Tom Schill in the finals of the Super Senior Match Play at Fort Dodge Country Club. He fell just short of defending his title by losing to Dave Gaer in the finals of this year’s match play event at Lake Panorama. 

Not bad for a one-time farmer who did not play college golf and was just a 12 handicapper through his 40’s until hip replacement surgery unlocked a dramatic improvement in his golf game. By the time he was eligible for the Senior Division, Norton was parring the golf course and ready for IGA and USGA competition. 

Norton is among a handful of Iowans who have competed in the US Senior Open Championship. In 2010, he captured the sectional qualifier with a round of 72 at Hunter’s Ridge in Marion to earn a slot in the 156-player field. He failed to qualify for the final two rounds in the event contested at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, WA. While not intimidated by the big stage, Norton kept his sense of humor. “I made a trip to Wal-Mart before the start of the opening round to buy a bunch of cheap golf gloves, figuring I’d be handing a bunch of them out to spectators after wayward tee shots,” he quipped. 

Norton advanced through the USGA Senior Amateur sectional qualifier in 2013 by firing a 71 at Brooks Golf Club in Okoboji. He shot a 151 to move to the round of 64 match play at the national level played at Wade Hampton Golf Club in Cashiers, NC., where veteran USGA senior contestant George Zahringer of New York defeated him 3 & 2. He also has international experience, having competed in a pair of British Senior Amateur championships, including a tie for 30th performance in 2014 at the Ganton Golf Club.

“Up and Down” the Iowa Golf Scene

A regular feature column written by IGA Foundation board member Mark Gambaiana, Up and Down the Iowa Golf Scene is designed to take the reader beyond the headlines and scoreboards to share stories of those who help make Iowa golf so rich and rewarding. Profiles will spotlight those who advance the game through volunteerism, service, extraordinary achievement, competition, human interest and the many other dimensions of golf in Iowa.

Click the links below to read previous Up and Down features
– IGA Rules Official Sean Flanders
– R&A, USGA Champion Gene Elliott
– Nervig Reflects on Decades of Service to The Iowa Masters
Arseneault Finds Fulfillment in Life’s Next Chapter After Competitive Golf
Ivan Miller remembers the days of the Minnows
Kinney adjusts to life on tour
Standard Golf’s roots run deep
Pettersen sets sights high

Three P.J. Boatwright Interns begin summer at IGA, reflect on trip to USGA in New Jersey

From left – 2023 P.J. Boatwright Interns for the Iowa Golf Association Gavin Matthias, Derek Peng and Paige Hoffman.

The P.J. Boatwright internship has been an instrumental part of the Iowa Golf Association. All five staff members were once P.J. Boatwright interns, and interns are vital to the IGA’s services and championships. The IGA offers three internship positions: Marketing and Communication, Handicapping and Course Rating, and Championship Administration. In addition to their specific duties, interns gain experience in all aspects of golf administration, from answering the phone to starting pairings in tournaments.

Derek Peng is this year’s Marketing and Communication Intern. Studying Business at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Derek played golf and tennis at Ames High School. He’s an avid learner who enjoys photography and playing sports.

“I love golf, I love being creative, and I love being around people,” he explained, “At the IGA I can do what I love.”

Clint Brown, Director of Communications & Marketing at the IGA, commented he’s looking forward to the summer and working with the young Peng.

“I am excited to get started with the summer and hope to provide Derek with a well-rounded experience,” Brown said. “I was an intern with the IGA a long time ago (2003), so I know what it’s like to be in that situation. You want to learn but also put your skills to work. I look forward to not only mentoring Derek, but also learning from him on things he is great at. The key is having fun with the internship and I want Derek to look back on his experience favorably.”

Paige Hoffman, of West Des Moines, joins the team this summer as the Handicapping and Course Rating Intern. Well-known as a talented golfer, Paige plays collegiate golf at Northwest Missouri State University where she studies Data Science.

“I’m interested in pursuing a career in golf, and interning with the IGA is a first step in seeing what a career in golf may look like,” Paige said.

Nate McCoy, Director of Handicapping & Course Rating, is excited to have Paige on board.

“I’m looking forward to having another Course Rating partner and an extra hand to help with everything that we do day to day. On top of that, Paige is an extremely nice person and will be sure to brighten up our days.”

Our Championship Administration Intern, Gavin Matthias, recently graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in Sport and Recreation Management. This is his third year as an intern with the IGA, and he wants to fulfill a stronger leadership position among the interns with his additional experience. He hopes to begin a career in golf administration and looks to make more professional connections through his final stint as an intern.

“I’m excited to see Gavin take on more of a leadership role in his last year as an intern and fine tune his skills before entering his job search as he looks for a full-time position,” Karli Kerrigan, the Director of Competitions, said regarding Matthias

Interns participate in PJB Intern Summit

The P.J. Boatwright Intern Summit returned  to the USGA campus in Liberty Corner, New Jersey after a three-year hiatus due to COVID-19 earlier in May. A 6:00 a.m. flight delivered our interns bright and early to the great Garden State.

After dinner with over ninety interns from Allied Golf Associations around the country, Gavin and Derek hit the hotel gym for a quick lift, and then the interns’ first evening wrapped up with some cards.

The following morning, USGA CEO Mike Whan shared his wisdom and experience. Over the next two days, interns attended seminars on subjects such as GHIN, handicapping and course rating, championship administration, rules, the Green Section, player relations, a new national development initiative,  and USGA history. Additionally, former P.J. Boatwright interns currently working with the USGA provided insight into careers in sports administration and business.

“It was cool learning the process of how rules are made and updated,” Gavin said, “I enjoyed seeing how the USGA works with the R&A along with representatives from all the other major golf bodies around the world.”

An etiquette lunch proved surprisingly amusing. Gavin demonstrated how to properly shake hands. Meanwhile, Derek and Paige dined beside Mike Whan, who was there for lunch and not the lesson.

Above all, interns had the opportunity to meet other interns. An evening at Topgolf, a friendly putting competition, and shared meals produced new connections every day.

“I enjoyed networking with other interns from around the country, especially finding a Midwestern community,” Paige recounted.

Gavin and Derek echoed her thoughts.

“Chatting with other interns, we learned of differences and similarities between our golf associations,” Derek said.

Gavin added that it was a unique opportunity to meet other interns, and much more enjoyable than the previous virtual summits.

2023 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 2023 Herman Sani Scholarships, presented by the Iowa Golf Association Foundation (IGAF) have been announced. Brody Gilkison, of Cedar Rapids, Colby Carlson, of Des Moines, Isabella Boyle, of Sioux City, and Jackson Overton, of Indianola, 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 Hyperion Field Club, Johnston, in August.

Brody Gilkison, son of Charles and Kyra Gilkison, is a graduate of John F. Kennedy Senior High School and will be attending Yale University in the fall as an Ethics, Politics, and Economics major.

“I am honored to receive the Herman Sani Scholarship,” he said.  “Giving back to the game that has given us so much is very important to me, so to be chosen as a scholarship recipient is very humbling and motivates me to continue to share my passion for golf as well as carrying on Mr. Sani’s legacy.”


Colby Carlson, son of Jamie and Kevin Carlson, is a graduate of Waukee Northwest High School and plans to double major in Professional Golf Management and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

“I am humbled and honored to be selected for the Herman Sani Scholarship,” he said. “From a young age, golf has always been a big part of my life. There have been many highs and many hard lessons learned. To be selected as a Herman Sani scholar is another incredible high that this game of golf has provided me. I am very grateful for the people that make these opportunities possible. This scholarship aid will allow me to focus more on my schoolwork with the goal to work in the golf industry, I hope to be able to repay and give back what the game of golf has given me.”


Isabella Boyle, daughter of Keri and Dustin Boyle, is a graduate of East High School and will be attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the PGA Golf Management program.

“I am honored to be a recipient of the Herman Sani Scholarship,” she said. “With the aid of this scholarship I will be able to cover additional tuition costs for my program, and focus solely on golf. I am excited to see where UNL and the PGA Golf Management Program will take me. It is a great opportunity to be selected for this prestigious scholarship and I look forward to seeing where I end up in the golf industry.”


Jackson Overton, son of Derek and Jennifer Overton, is a graduate of Indianola High School and will be attending Loyola University Chicago in the fall.

“It’s an honor to receive the Herman Sani Scholarship Award,” he said. “This scholarship will benefit my academic and athletic career at Loyola University Chicago. For as long as I can remember golf has been a huge part of my life, this wonderful game has taught me many life lessons and built countless relationships. As a Sani Scholar, I look forward to a future closely tied to the game of golf, where I can positively impact people around me in the same ways the game has done for me.”

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 2023, 199 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

Work begins at Golf House Iowa site

It is starting to take shape.

Earthwork and general grading of the site for Golf House Iowa began on Monday, April 17, near Norwalk’s Echo Valley Country Club. The creation of Golf House Iowa will provide a permanent home to preserve, promote, and protect the game of golf in our great state. Plans are in place to include the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame and Museum, a space for educating golfers, areas to promote and teach the game, and office space for the Iowa Golf Association, IGA Foundation, Iowa Golf Course Superintendents Association and First Tee – Central Iowa.

As of April 13, $4.23 million has been raised for the $5 million project – but we still need your help in securing the project without having to finance remaining funds to reach the $5 million dollar goal. For more information on ways you can support the efforts of Golf House Iowa visit


Bombers Golf Breaks Ground in Johnston

From left – Jeremy Kies, Superintendent, Mike Larson, Director of Engineering, Adam Tillgren, Project Manager, Greg Schulte, Project Director, Bry Wisecup, Marketing & Customer Care, Allen Stoye, Owner of the Future Bombers Golf, Cory Larson, Sr Vice President and Owner of Keen, Matt Hironimus, Project Engineer, Dustin Waters, Sr Vice President and Owner of Keen, Matt Frandsen, President and Owner of Keen, Jeff Scandrett, Director of Operations.

Bombers Golf, a premier entertainment destination for golfers and non-golfers alike, held its groundbreaking event in Johnston on April 11.

The new Bombers Golf facility will be located at 5225 Merle Hay Road and will be a three-level, 75,000-square-foot family entertainment center that will offer, climate-controlled hitting bays overlooking a 270-yard driving range, a state-of-the-art arcade, 16-lane bowling alley and attached hotel.

The Johnston family entertainment district will also feature numerous bars, restaurants, a conference and event space, and outdoor activity space complete with walking trails and a kayak launch.

Construction on the new facility is expected to be completed in Fall of 2024.

Bombers Golf’s expansion into Johnston is part of the company’s continued growth strategy, bringing the popular entertainment destination to more communities across the country.

“Bombers Golf is excited to be investing in the Johnston community and bringing a new and exciting entertainment option to the area,” said Bomber’s owner. “We look forward to serving local residents, businesses, and visitors with a unique and memorable experience.”

Scroll to top