Featuring 100 Women: Scholars of the Game

Empowering Generations: The Ann Griffel Scholarship

Ann Griffel made significant and diverse impacts on golf in Iowa, wearing multiple hats as a player, volunteer, administrator, and benefactor. Jill Blackwood, former president of the Iowa Women’s Golf Association, once highlighted Griffel’s unparalleled influence on women’s golf in the state, saying, “I doubt that there is another individual who had had a greater impact upon women’s golf in Iowa than Ann.”

Elected president of IWGA in 1962, Griffel held the position for 23 years, during which new competitive avenues for women were introduced, such as the Iowa Girls’ Junior Amateur, the State Wife-Husband, the Forever 39 Match Play, and the Senior Women’s Championship. Griffel’s leadership extended to chairing the State Wife-Husband tournament and winning titles like the Forever 39 and the Senior Amateur Championship multiple times. Her record 11 Iowa Women’s Senior Amateur titles remain to this day. She also played a pivotal role in establishing the Ann Griffel Scholarship Awards for Iowa high school seniors. The scholarship was later renamed in her honor.

Blackwood emphasized Griffel’s indispensable role in IWGA’s evolution, noting her initiative, foresight,leadership, and character during her long tenure. Griffel’s legacy endures, with the tournaments she initiated still thriving, even after passing in 2009.

Leighann LaRocca now chairs the Ann Griffel Scholarship Committee and is tasked with determining the annual winners. It is a challenging task as more than 50 highly qualified girls apply yearly. Narrowing the list down often takes weeks, and no details go unnoticed. Though this year’s scholars have yet to be decided, recipients know their efforts in the game of golf are well deserving of this prestigious scholarship.

The History of the Ann Griffel Scholarship written in Ione Reid and later updated by Sally Sharp

The Iowa Women’s Golf Association awards annually a full tuition scholarship to an Iowa high school girl graduating from an Iowa high school and enrolling at Iowa State University, State University of Iowa, or the University of Northern Iowa. This scholarship is open to 1) Girls of excellent character; 2) Girls who meet entrance requirements at the three universities; 3) Girls who are recommended by one or more high school officials; 4) Girls who are recommended by member golf associations of the IWGA; 5) Girls who have participated in at least one golfing event, either the Iowa Junior Girls’ Tournament, the Iowa Women’s Tournament, or one local city, club, or high school golfing event; 6) Girls who complete an application and submit it by April 1 of the graduating year. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered; 7) Golfing skill has no direct bearing on the scholarship award. Award of Scholarship will be made by the Scholarship Committee of the Iowa Women’s Golf Association. Send the application by April 1st to Mrs. Kenneth Watts, 3102 Terry Dr., S.E., Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52403. Additional application blanks may be obtained from Mrs. Watts.

In 1973, the IWGA awarded two $750.00 scholarships to two Iowa high school girls graduating from an Iowa high school and enrolling at any accredited state or private college in Iowa. This differs from the statement made in 1972 of awarding a full tuition scholarship. Also, there is a written paper in the historian’s records that three scholarships were awarded in 1973.

1980 is the first year that this writer can find any winners of the scholarship awards, and even though the IWGA book states that they are only awarding two scholarships of $750.00 each, the records that were found list five winners for 1980. 1981 was the first year for six scholarships.

The 1982 IWGA book states that this is the 20th annual scholarship award and that this year, they areawarding several $750.00 scholarships to Iowa high school girls.1985 was the year that the Scholarship award was changed to the 23rd Ann Griffel IWGA Scholarship Awards. The awards were changed to $1000.00. 1994 was the first year that the winners of the Ann Griffel IWGA Scholarship award were listed in the IWGA book. At the October 2005 fall board meeting, it was decided to change the six annual Ann Griffel scholarships to $1500.00 each, beginning in 2006.

Since 1963, more than 250 students have received this scholarship. The Ann Griffel Scholarship now awards five $2,000 scholarships to incoming first-year college students as Griffel’s legacy continues to impact the game’s future.

For a complete list of Ann Griffel Scholarship recipients, click here.

Next Week on Women’s Wednesday…

Iowans who have reached the pinnacle of professional golf and teed it up in history’s top significant championships.

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