Egly, Iowa Section honored by PGA of America
The Iowa PGA Section recently earned the 2024 Herb Graffis Award (shown above), given annually to one of the 41 PGA of America Sections that has shown tireless dedication to grow the game of golf and furthering player-development programming in the community.
The Iowa PGA Section, led by President Erin Strieck, PGA, and Executive Director Greg Mason, PGA, has delivered quality golf programming that has helped grow the game for over 40 years. The Section has implemented many programs with a focus on youth, including Swing with Kids Golf in Schools, in which a PGA of America Golf Professional adopts a local School District and supports the Physical Education Teachers in elementary and middle schools to teach golf and life skills. The program has more than doubled in size over the past five years and now serves over 25,000 students. Iowa’s PGA Jr. League program is the number-one program by growth percentage across all PGA of America Sections in number of players as well as teams.
The Iowa PGA Section is also supporting local military Veterans with their GIVE (Golf for Injured Veterans Everywhere) program, where PGA of America Professionals teach the game of golf to Veterans as part of their rehabilitation. The program has supported more than 2,300 Veterans since its inception. Iowa PGA Junior Tour events were hosted by 67 percent of the facilities within the Section in 2023. Additionally, the Iowa PGA has remained number one across all Sections on the percentage of membership for PGA of America Golf professionals certified through ADM and PGA.coach, completing training and certification in 2023.
Mark Egly, PGA, Head Golf Professional for the past 30 years at Des Moines Driving Range in Des Moines, was selected for the 2024 Deacon Palmer Award, which honors a PGA of America Golf Professional who displays outstanding integrity, character, and leadership in the effort to overcome a major obstacle in their life. A PGA of America Member for 40 years, Egly’s entire golf career has been impacted by health issues, beginning with a serious car accident in 1990 that left him with severe nerve damage in his shoulder, significantly limiting the use of his right arm.
After taking a few years off from the game, he came back and played well enough to even qualify for the 1995 John Deere Classic, but then suffered two more accidents resulting in serious injuries. Hardly the end of his health issues, Egly was diagnosed with Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency, which causes a lack of oxygen, resulting in low energy, exhaustion, breathing problems, and a lack of natural pain management. Despite never having smoked, Egly was diagnosed with COPD and emphysema in 2018.
Furthermore, in 2018, doctors found a tumorous spot on Mark’s pancreas and he was given only a 30 percent chance of surviving six months; the tumor significantly reduced without chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery. Still, Egly remains motivated and dedicated to golf. With a healthy lifestyle, synced with food protocols and weekly infusions, he has overcome or improved some of his health issues, while focusing on teaching the game and purchasing a driving range. Since becoming a PGA of America Golf Professional in 1983, Egly has exhibited an exceptional level of service and unwavering commitment to the success of others.
Egly was named to the 2023 GRAA (Golf Range Association of America) Growth of the Game Teaching Professionals Elite Member Status, with Des Moines Driving Range being named a 2023 GRAA Top 50 Stand Alone Facility. He has been deeply involved in creating a safe haven for children through various youth programs, getting at-risk children on the golf course at no cost and has collaborated with the United States Golf Association, equipment manufacturers, the Iowa Section PGA, the PGA of America and the National Golf Foundation on many occasions to further provide opportunities for youth to enjoy the game.