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Ryder Cup Captain Johnson and Walker Cup Captain McCoy make significant pledges to Golf House Iowa

The Iowa Golf Association gave Mike McCoy and Zach Johnson an opportunity to chase their dreams. Now they’re returning the favor.

Both McCoy, the 2023 Walker Cup captain, and Johnson, the 2023 Ryder Cup captain, have made six-figure donations to Golf House Iowa. The facility, being built next to Echo Valley Country Club in Norwalk, will also be home to the Iowa Golf Course Superintendents Association, First Tee – Central Iowa and other IGA initiatives, such as the Youth on Course program. The Iowa Golf Hall of Fame and Museum will be housed there as well. Golf House Iowa is expected to open next spring. A $5 million fundraising campaign is nearing the finish line.

“I did it for two reasons,” McCoy said of his donation. “One, I attribute a lot of good things that have happened in my life to Iowa golf. Just the friends I’ve made, the memories I’ve made, and the doors it’s opened for me. I felt like I owed something. It was a way for me to give back for all the good things that have happened to me.”

Johnson fondly recalls cutting his golfing teeth playing the deep and competitive amateur schedule that is an Iowa tradition.

“I don’t know what it’s like in other states, but we were extremely fortunate,” Johnson said. ”The circuit was amazing. The beauty of it is you’ve got great competition on good golf courses, which is No. 1. That’s what you want, to play and compete. Whether you’re talking about the Iowa Amateur, or the Carroll Amateur, or the Iowa Open, the Waterloo Open, the Sani, which is one of my favorites, whatever it might be.”

Johnson thinks back fondly to his days as an amateur, trying to get better. He remembers the camaraderie with fellow players at every tournament, whether they were helping each other on the range, competing in putting contests or grabbing a bite to eat.

“It was a nomadic little mini-tour,” Johnson said. “I loved it. Most of us would get drummed by Gene Elliott and Mike McCoy. That was pretty par for the course.”

When Johnson speaks at his annual foundation event in Cedar Rapids, he’s reminded again of his golfing past.

Johnson was 10 years old when he got started in Larry Gladson’s junior program at Elmcrest Country Club in Cedar Rapids. When he turned professional, many of his sponsors were Elmcrest members.

“These were the individuals that gave me everything to pursue one of my dreams,” he said.

“But you also had to have an outlet to go and compete as an amateur. They go hand in hand. You can’t do it alone.”

Like McCoy, Johnson views his donation as a way of giving back.

“Then you couple that with the youth in the game, which is what Golf House Iowa is about and something I have a massive affinity for,” Johnson added. “And the golf course superintendents, I just love them. I love how these guys work. There’s more than one entity going into that building. But the beauty is it’s called Golf House Iowa. Because it takes more than one entity to make golf great in the state. And I think that’s awesome.”

McCoy has traveled the country, both as an insurance executive and a golfer. He appreciates where he comes from. And he sees Golf House Iowa as an important step in moving the game forward.

 “It’s just going to put Iowa golf on more solid footing,” McCoy said.


Henson/Heryford, Holmberg/Peters Lead Open; Hartman/Miller Lead Senior

The opening round of the 13th IGA Women’s Four-Ball featured many of Iowa’s top players in early contention as the sides of Amber Henson & Rylee Heryford and Erika Holmberg & Maura Peters sit at the top firing an opening round 70. The duo of Henson and Heryford, fresh off their freshman season at Drake, played consistently, recording 13 pars and sprinkling in four birdies. Making back-to-back bogies on nine and ten, the two steadied the ship and played their final seven holes in two under par to work their way into tomorrow’s final pairing.

Tied with the Bulldogs, Holmberg and Peters got off to a quick start as Peters opened the round with birdies on the first two holes. Falling back with a bogey on the fourth, Holmberg birdied the sixth to help the duo turn in one under 35. As with Heryford and Henson, Holmberg and Peters made a late push, playing their final six holes in two under.

Rounding out the top three is defending champion Addison Berg (with Bella Pettersen) & Jane Peterson after firing  -1, 71.

In the Senior Division, Julie Hartman and Nicki Miller lead the way after firing -1, 72. Miller had it going early as she recorded four birdies on her opening nine to give them an early advantage over the field. A closing double bogey cut their lead to two over the side of Laura Leszyznski and Michelle Klein. Leszczynki and Klein opened with +1, 74 in a round that featured five birdies. Rounding out the top three is Cindy Morrison and Kathy Forture following their opening round 78.

Click here for full results

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


2023 Rules of Golf – Key Changes

The USGA and The R&A have unveiled a regular update to the Rules of Golf as they continue to make the Rules easier to understand and apply. The new Rules will go into effect on January 1, 2023.

The 2023 edition continues the modernization process, with an emphasis on both inclusion and sustainability. For the first time, the modified Rules for players with disabilities have been fully incorporated into the playing rules without the need to adopt a local rule. The governing bodies, supported by longstanding partner Rolex, will also promote digital and mobile app access to the Rules while significantly reducing the production and distribution of more than 4 million printed books.

Read the entire release here




2023 Boatwright Internship Opportunities with the IGA

The Iowa Golf Association (IGA) is excited to offer two (2) P.J. Boatwright Internships in 2023 – Handicapping & Course Rating and Marketing & Communications. Each internship will be for four months. Working under the direction of the IGA Executive Director and senior staff, the interns will learn about all aspects of amateur golf administration.

Individuals are more than welcome to apply for both internship positions – If doing so, please make sure to fill out each application (available below). If you do apply for multiple internships, the IGA will reach to you for your preferred choice.

The IGA is an Allied Golf Association (AGA) of the USGA and is the governing body for golf in the state of Iowa.  It exists as a non-profit organization that works to preserve, protect and promote the best interests and spirit of the game.  As “caretakers” of the game the IGA works to preserve the rich history of golf in our state and to provide numerous services that benefit all that play the game in Iowa.

In 1991, the USGA established the P.J. Boatwright Jr. Internship Program. P.J. Boatwright (pictured above), the USGA’s third executive director, played a pivotal role in both the USGA and golf in the U.S. This program is designed to give experience to individuals who are interested in pursuing a career in golf administration, while assisting state and regional golf associations in the promotion of amateur golf, on a short-term, entry-level basis. At the IGA, all current full-time staff members (Clint Brown, Katelynn Hogenson, Karli Kerrigan, Nate McCoy and Chad Pitts) are all former Boatwright interns.

The deadline to apply is Friday, February 24th or until position(s) are filled (whichever is later).

Click the links below to view the 2023 Intern job description and instructions for applying.

– Handicap & Course Rating Intern

– Marketing & Communications Intern

2022 IGA Annual Awards Banquet Recap

The 2022 IGA Awards Dinner took place Thursday, December 8 at Terrace Hills Golf Course in Altoona. It was an enjoyable night with several deserving honorees and award winners in various categories being celebrated for their efforts.

The following individuals and courses were honored –

PGA Pro of the Year – Jeff Moore, Finkbine Golf Course

Club Manager of the Year – Deb Jaycox, Spencer Golf & Country Club

9-Hole Superintendent – Scott Rohlfsen of Jesup Golf & Country Club

18-Hole Superintendent – Anthony Mieske, Crow Valley Golf Club

9-Hole Course of the Year – Gateway Recreation, Inc., Monroe

18-Hole Course of the Year – Fort Dodge Country Club

George Turner Distinguished Service Award – Rick Brown, Pleasant Hill

Sean Flanders Volunteer of the Year Award – Carolyn Frescoln, Norwalk

Player of the Year – Nate McCoy, Ankeny (View video)

Senior Player of the Year – Mike McCoy, Norwalk (View video)

Super Senior Player of the Year – Pat Ryan, Marshalltown (View video)

Read more about the Men’s Players of the Year

Women’s Player of the Year – Ruby Chou, Ames (View video)

Senior Women’s Player of the Year – Laura Leszczynski, St. Mary’s (View video)

Read more about the Women’s Players of the Year

Junior Girls’ Player of the Year – Bella Pettersen, North Liberty (View video)

Junior Boys’ Player of the Year – Maxwell Tjoa, Cedar Falls (View video)

Read more about the Junior Players of the Year

IGA Announces Plans to Construct Hall of Fame, Museum, Junior Golf Center

Click here to make a recurring donation to the project
Click here to make a one-time donation to the project

August 22, 2022 – RICK BROWN

Iowa is the home of global golf champions and captains.  Titles brought home by Iowans include the Masters, (British) Open Championship, U.S. Open, U.S. Mid-Amateur, U.S. Senior Amateur and many other significant global events.  Iowa can simultaneously claim the most 9-hole courses in the U.S. as well as being home to the captains of next year’s Ryder Cup team and Walker Cup teams.

What we lack is our own centralized place to organize, support, and celebrate the excellence that is Iowa Golf.  The Iowa Golf Association Foundation – led by lead donor Michael Coppola – has been working quietly over the past 9 months to rectify that.

“I must do everything I can, financially and otherwise, to make this happen,” said Coppola, a Des Moines real estate developer and owner of Echo Valley Country Club in Norwalk.

Fundraising is under way for Golf House Iowa, a building that will be home to the Iowa Golf Association and all its programs, as well as the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame. The building will be owned by the Iowa Golf Association Foundation, the IGA’s 501(c)(3).

Coppola has donated $1 million to the project. Golf House Iowa will be built on land that Coppola has also donated, overlooking the 9th green of Echo Valley’s Creek Course.

Coppola’s generous gift is a major piece of the fundraising goal, which was recently raised to $5 million due to increased construction costs. Well over half of that total has been raised so far.

“We want to inspire others to get involved,” said Coppola, who is helping lead the fundraising initiative.  “We’re attempting to build a platform that I believe is going to take Iowa golf, and more importantly, the programs to the next level.”

Chad Pitts, executive director of the Iowa Golf Association, said that Golf House Iowa is important for many reasons.

“It’s operationally and philosophically strategic for the IGA and our Foundation to have a permanent home,” Pitts said. “But we’re really doing this for our community of Iowa golfers. Golf in Iowa and around the world has been experiencing positive growth and we need to create a space that supports both current and future participation.  Golf positively impacts quality of life, education, and economic development and that’s good for everyone in the state.”

Golf House Iowa would be much more than just offices. It will also include a golf simulator, indoor and outdoor putting greens and multipurpose meeting rooms that would be used by grow the game initiatives like First Tee and Youth on Course.

The Iowa Golf Course Superintendents Association will also have offices in the building. So will the IGA Foundation, which promotes golf and preserves history through many programs including the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame, the Herman Sani and Ann Griffel Scholarships and the Youth on Course program. The Sani and Griffel scholarships award $42,000 annually.

The new facility would house the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame and Museum, which will celebrate the game’s past and serve as motivation for the future. In addition to Coppola’s gift, the early contributions of some Hall of Fame members have really jump started this project.

“The family of the late Joe Brown, Mike McCoy, Gene Elliott , Jim Carney, and many others made significant gifts early on,” Pitts said. “Without their financial support and participation, we would not be where we are today. It’s a testament to their appreciation for the game of golf that they would step up and contribute in the fashion that they did.”

Pitts said that the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame would give its members a place where their collective legacies would be honored in permanent fashion.

Golf is the game of a lifetime. And those donating to Golf House Iowa would be helping set the table for future generations to appreciate Iowa’s rich golf history and enjoy the game for years to come.

Why is Golf House Iowa so important?

“With every mission, and every business, you need a platform,” Coppola said. “And for the IGA, Golf House Iowa will be the platform for everything it does.”

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.

“I thought, “Man, this is a great story,’ ” Coppola recalled. “I talked to my brothers (Arthur and Edward) and we decided to do it. The kids were inspirational. And the Sani story just took me over the edge. I said, “It’s perfect, we’ll do it.’ ”

The Coppola brothers donated $250,000 to help endow the Sani Scholarship in 2015.

“Sometimes you know it’s something you’ve got to do, and sometimes you’re not sure,” Michael said. “Well, I knew it was something we needed to do.”

Witnessing the Sani Scholarship winners in person, and hearing their stories, was the driving force behind Coppola’s decision to lend a helping hand.

“What inspired me to get involved wasn’t just the IGA,” Coppola said. “It was more about seeing the great work that was being done through the scholarship fund the IGA administers and being in the room when those kids received their awards. It was easy to see that somebody was doing something right. And when I gave the money to the scholarship I had zero concern whether or not my money would be spent wisely. Because I could see the results right in front of my eyes. That’s where I wanted my money to go.”

Golf House Iowa has been talked about for years, and often greeted by detours like the recession in 2008 and COVID-19 in 2020.

“We went down many paths the last several years, and the deal didn’t get the inertia it needed,” Coppola said. “The lights were on, but no one was moving the needle.” Initially, Coppola offered land for the project. Then he added a $500,000 donation.“I said, “Now let’s raise some cash. I’ll help.’ ”

Coppola has since doubled his contribution to $1 million, and volunteered his time to help raise the remaining money.

Golf House Iowa’s doors will be open to everyone, with a mission of growing the game of golf.

“The union of Golf House Iowa and Echo Valley made perfect sense to me,” Coppola said. “This must happen.”

The Sani and Griffel scholarship winners also motivate Coppola to help make Golf House Iowa a reality.

“The level of excellence they have is inspirational,” Coppola said. “That’s why I’m here. And they’re inspirational for those who aspire to be just like them. This platform (Golf House Iowa) is going to celebrate those past, present and future participants in this game. It  isn’t just a game. It’s more about your life. It’s a way to enrich your life.”

Coppola looks into the future and sees a day when McCoy, one of Iowa’s greatest amateur players, 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 me 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.

“When you walk among golfers you can see what it does for them,” he said.

“It’s about how many times I touch certain moments out there. Different things happen that allow me to learn, to create, to do all the things that are fun to me. It’s about seeing something in a richer perspective than what it currently is. How would a kid learn something they wouldn’t potentially learn? That’s what you can do for a kid. That inspires me.”

Coppola sees Golf House Iowa as a way for the Iowa Golf Association to grow and expand its programs.

‘“If you watch them up close and personal, you can see they do some really good work here and they don’t blow their horn,” Coppola said. “I want them to blow their horn. I want more kids to know there is a path through this game. And Golf House Iowa is going to be the sanctuary.”

The bottom line for Coppola is this: Golf House Iowa is a perfect way to grow the game for the future, a legacy that will continue to give for generations. Youth will be served. “You can see that they make me feel good about writing a check,” Coppola said. “Not the bricks and mortar.”

For more information and to see renderings, videos, etc on the project click here.

Click here to make a recurring donation to the project
Click here to make a one-time donation to the project

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

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

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

Recently featured on the IGA website as part of a feature column written by IGA Foundation board member Mark Gambaiana, Up and Down the Iowa Golf Scene, Nervig is fondly remembered for his service as co-director of the Iowa Masters with fellow Ames native and good friend George Turner. Together, they co-directed the tournament for more than 30 years until Turner’s passing in 2019.

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

One of Nervig’s proudest achievements in his seven decades of involvement in the Iowa golf scene is being named the 2011 recipient of the George Turner Distinguished Service Award by the Iowa Golf Association.

“It was a fantastic honor to receive this award named after my great friend,” the late Nervig said. “All of the friends I have made through my years of volunteering have more than paid me back for the hours I have given.”

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



2021 IGA Annual Awards Banquet Recap

The 2021 IGA Awards Dinner took place Friday, December 17, at Glen Oaks Country Club in West Des Moines. It was an enjoyable night with several deserving honorees and award winners in various categories being celebrated for their efforts.

View photos from the 2021 IGA Annual Awards Banquet

The following individuals and courses were honored –

PGA Pro of the Year – Mark Egly, Des Moines Driving Range

Club Manager of the Year – Lance Marting, Dubuque Golf & Country Club

9-Hole Superintendent – Jeff Rokusek, Sheldon Golf & Country Club

18-Hole Superintendent – Matt Reifert, Whispering Creek Golf Club

9-Hole Course of the Year – Dyersville Golf & Country Club

18-Hole Course of the Year – BVU Golf Course at Lake Creek

George Turner Distinguished Service Award – Scott Fjelstul, Decorah

Sean Flanders Volunteer of the Year Award – Michelle Klein, Jesup

Phil Joselyn Inspirational Award – Thomas Storbeck, Ventura

Player of the Year – Nate McCoy, Ankeny (View video) (View acceptance speech)

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

Super Senior Player of the Year – Pat Ryan, Marshalltown (View video) (View acceptance speech)

Read more about the Men’s Players of the Year

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

Senior Women’s Player of the Year – Laura Leszczynski, St. Mary’s (View video) (View acceptance speech)

Read more about the Women’s Players of the Year

Junior Girls’ Player of the Year – Paige Hoffman, West Des Moines (View video) (View acceptance speech)

Junior Boys’ Player of the Year – Hogan Hansen, Waverly (View video & acceptance)

Read more about the Junior Players of the Year

Special Recognition – Gene Elliott, West Des Moines
2021 U.S Senior Amateur and British Senior Amateur Champion (View video)

Elliott is GGP Amateur of the Year – Other Iowans honored

(Jeff Hayes/USGA)

Gene Elliott (at left), of West Des Moines, has been honored by Global Golf Post as their Men’s Amateur Golfer of the Year, regardless of age considerations.  Elliott excelled on the national stage in 2021, winning the most prestigious championships the two governing bodies present.  Elliott endured stringent testing protocols to travel to Europe in June & July which proved well worth it when he won the British Seniors Amateur by a single stroke at Ganton Golf Club in England.  He earned his coveted first USGA crown when he prevailed 1-up in the championship match at the U.S. Senior Amateur, held at the Country Club of Detroit.

In addition to Elliott’s recognition, other Iowans were named to the various GGP All-Amateur Teams as well.  Elliott was joined by Mike McCoy, of Norwalk, on the GGP Men’s Senior Amateur First Team.  McCoy captured the George C. Thomas Senior Division and the Crump Cup Senior crown in 2021.  He also made the cut at the U.S. Senior Open at Omaha Country Club.  Joe Palmer, also of Norwalk and the champion of the Iowa Senior Match Play and the IGA Match Play, was named to the second team.  Finally, Nate McCoy, of Ankeny, was an Honorable Mention selection for the Men’s Mid-Amateur team.

Click here to read about Elliott’s Amateur of the Year Honor

Click here to view the Men’s Mid-Amateur Selections (N. McCoy)

Click here to view the Men’s Senior Amateur Selections (Elliott, M. McCoy, Palmer)

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