Des Moines | Inducted 2011 | Category: Amateur Golfer

Iowa’s most decorated amateur golfer, Mike McCoy has had great success inside and outside his home state.

He’s won the Iowa Golf Association’s Amateur of the year award an unprecedented 11 times in a 30-year window (1983-2013). As of 2023, no one else has won it more than three times. Mike has also been the IGA’s Senior Amateur of the Year three times. He won both of those awards in 2013, when he also captured the prestigious United States Mid-Amateur Championship at Country Club of Birmingham and earned a spot in the 2014 Masters.

McCoy has won an unprecedented 35 times in point-event tournaments used to determine the state’s top player. That includes six Iowa Amateur titles between 1992 and 2015 and six Iowa Mid-Amateur trophies. He’s won 12 different point-event tournaments over his career, seven of them multiple times.

McCoy and Dr. Ed Updegraff of Boone are the only Iowans to play in (2015) and captain (2023) a Walker Cup team.

Another career highlight was winning the Senior British Amateur in 2022. He was also low amateur at the U.S. Senior Open in 2014 and 2015. A veteran of more than 60 USGA-sponsored tournaments, McCoy owns a pair of Trans-Mississippi titles (2000, 2008) and is a four-time winner of the Crump Cup at Pine Valley.

One of his career highlights came at a historic place, the Old Course at St. Andrews. McCoy captained the 2023 U.S. Walker Cup team to a 14.5-11.5 triumph over the team from Great Britain and Ireland.

In a letter supporting McCoy’s nomination to the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame in 2011, two-time Walker Cup Captain George (Buddy) Marucci, Jr. said, “The excellence of his game is obvious. What may not be so obvious to those who have not played with him is just how well he handles himself, win or lose. The game of golf is still and will always be a gentleman’s game, and Mike is the best example I know. He has been a great representative of the State of Iowa.”

As a kid growing up on the south side of Des Moines, McCoy used to hunt for golf balls on the perimeter of the Wakonda Club. There’s also where he started to caddy, at 10 years old. McCoy was bitten by the golf bug. He would walk four blocks to his father’s hardware store on Southwest 9th Street, golf clubs on his shoulder, and then catch a city bus to the A.H. Blank golf course.

Fellow Iowa Golf Hall of Famer Jack Webb was the pro at Wakonda when Mike started to caddy.

“A pro’s pro,” McCoy said. “He expected everything to be done a certain way. So that had a big impact on me.”

Webb would often take McCoy to caddy for him at tournaments. Mike would also watch the men he caddied for, learning golf etiquette. McCoy would return to Wakonda decades later to win both the 1995 Iowa Amateur and 2008 Trans-Mississippi.

Track and field is the first sport McCoy experienced success at, in the shot put and discus. But he decided that golf was the sport he wanted to pursue by the time he reached junior high. Neither of Mike’s parents played golf, but the sport was in his blood. His grandfather, Joe Kenneally, who passed away before Mike was born, was a golf professional in Madison, Wis., and then Dubuque. Kenneally played in a few PGA Tour events and also teed it up in the inaugural Iowa Open in 1927. Mike would win that same tournament in 1994.

McCoy’s career also got a boost from another Wakonda pro turned insurance salesman, Bill Rose, who is also in the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame.

“I was lucky to meet him when I was in high school,” McCoy said.

Rose worked with McCoy, who attended Dowling Catholic High School. Bill also was the connection that got Mike to Wichita State. He played there four years, and was twice an all-Missouri Valley Conference honoree.

He won his first Iowa major championship, the Tournament of Champions, in 1983. He also earned his first IGA Player of the Year award that year. He turned professional after college in 1985, but turned to insurance for a career and regained his amateur status. It turned out to be a prosperous decision.

Career Highlights

  • 11-time Iowa Player of the Year – ’83,’92,’93,’94,’96,’01,’05,’08,’09,’10,’13
  • 3-time IGA Senior Player of the Year – 2013, ’15, ’22
  • 6-time Iowa Mid-Amateur Champion – ’93,’95,’97,’03,’05,’06
  • 6-time Iowa Amateur Champion – ’92,’95,’96,’98,’10,’15
  • 5-time IGA Four-Ball Champion – ’06,’12,’15,’16,’17
  • 4-time Herman Sani Invitation Champion – ’91,’92,’96,’02
  • 4-time Lake Creek Amateur Champion – ’92,’94,’95,’05
  • 3-time Fort Dodge Amateur Champion – ’93,’94,’00
  • 2-time Briarwood Amateur Champion – ’10 & ’12
  • 2021 Iowa Senior Amateur Champion
  • 2012 Iowa Masters Champion
  • 1994 IGA Match Play Champion
  • 1994 Iowa Open Champion
  • 1982 Tournament of Champions Winner
  • Participated in 68 USGA Championships
  • 20 U.S. Amateurs
  • 24 U.S. Mid-Amateurs – Champion – 2013, Semifinalist in ’05 and ’08
  • U.S. Amateur Public Links – 1982, 1983
  • U.S. Four-Ball Championship – 2015, 2019
  • U.S. Senior Open – 2013, 2014 (Low Am), 2015 (Low Am), 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021
  • U.S. Senior Amateur – 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022, 2023
  • USGA Men’s State Team – 1995, 1997, 2001, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2014, 2016
  • U.S. Walker Cup Team – 2015, 2023 (Captain)
  • 4-time Crump Cup Champion at Pine Valley – ’04,’05,’07,’10
  • 3-time Coleman Invitational Champion at Seminole Golf Club – 2011, ’13, ’15
  • 2-time Trans-Mississippi Champion – ’00,’08
  • 2012 Trans-Miss Four-Ball Champion (with Gene Elliott)
  • 2014 George T. Thomas Invitational Champion
  • 2018 Trans-Miss Senior Champion
  • 2021 George T. Thomas Invitational – Senior Division Champion
  • 2022 British Senior Amateur Champion
Scroll to top