IGA 2016 Annual Award Recipients
On Friday, November 4th, the IGA Board of Directors named recipients of the 2016 Annual Awards in six categories. We are pleased to announce this year’s honorees.
9-Hole Course of the Year
Urbandale Golf & Country Club in Urbandale is the 2016 9-Hole Course of the Year.
The golf course is located on 87 acres and was started in 1965 by a group of charter members who helped build the 9 hole golf course that they still have today.
Several of the nominations for UGCC commented that the course playing conditions were in top shape and that members have been spoiled by the outstanding facility they have at the club.
The club recently hosted the 2016 Forever 39 Match Play Championship – which drew rave reviews from nearly every participant.
Urbandale Golf & CC also won the award in 2006.
18-Hole Course of the Year
The recipient of the 2016 IGA 18-Hole Course of the Year is Otter Creek Golf Course in Ankeny.
An outstanding public facility, Otter Creek GC hosted its 10th USGA qualifier in the last 14 years, the U.S. Amateur qualifier, in 2016. The course has also hosted many IGA Championships over the years.
The facility, including the clubhouse and practice range, is home to nearly 30,000 rounds every year, with another 15,000 using the practice range. The course and its staff has been leaders in junior golf instruction and development in the state – continuing today with around 300 kids participating in various camps, clinics and other activities at the course.
The facility was originally opened in 1982 and was designed by Paul Miller & Associates (Minneapolis, MN). The renovated Otter Creek opened June, 2009, which included a complete renovation and reconstruction of the golf course and driving range.
9-Hole Superintendent of the Year
Mike McCallister of Stone Creek Golf Club, Williamsburg, is the 2016 9-Hole Superintendent of the Year.
Year-in and year-out the playing conditions and overall beauty of Stone Creek Golf Club draws rave reviews from members of the IGA. In fact, the course has won the IGA 9-hole Course of the Year award twice (2002, 11).
McCallister has been at Stone Creek since it’s remodel in 2001, becoming superintendent in 2003.
While only 9-holes, McCallister keeps the course in top notch shape and players from across the state make it a point to stop and play this gem in Williamsburg.
18-Hole Superintendent of the Year
The 2016 IGA 18-Hole Superintendent of the Year is Tom Feller of Cedar Rapids Country Club.
During a recent, multi-year, restoration of the Donald Ross design, Feller oversaw a significant amount of creativity and heavy lifting giving CRCC and guests a refreshing authentic, challenging and delightful golf experience.
“Without Tom, it would be extremely difficult to replicate our success,” CRCC Green Committee Chair Vaughn Halyard said. “He figured out how to do a $3 million project for a fraction of that. He came in 65-80% under budget and probably two years ahead of schedule – all while maintaining the regular maintenance routing over the course for multiple seasons.”
The ‘new’ course has already been the recipient of numerous positive accolades by several outlets, including positive praise from golf course architect Tom Doak.
Feller, and his crew, were instrumental in the success of the 2016 U.S. Open Local qualifier conducted by the IGA at CRCC. The course played firm, fast and tough. It was a fantastic test for players trying to qualify for the national championship.
Club Manager of the Year
Jeff Kuhn, of Whispering Creek Golf Club, Sioux City, was chosen as the 2016 Club Manager of the Year.
Kuhn, who is characterized as ‘full of energy’ by his members, handles various aspects of club operations at Whispering Creek GC. In less than 5 years, Kuhn has turned Whispering Creek GC into one of the premier places in the Siouxland. One member commented that Kuhn has successfully resurrected the concept of a golf club and has brought the membership together and helped cultivate the brotherhood of family atmosphere that a golf club needs to be successful.
Following a disastrous fire, earlier this fall, to the club’s maintenance building, Kuhn, along with golf course superintendent Matt Reifert, worked tirelessly to get the club back operating in just two days.
“He, along with Matt, was contacting equipment dealers immediately so the club could operate business as usual as quick as he could,” IGA Board Member and Whispering Creek member Mike Pape said. “The best compliment I can give Jeff is, I hope we don’t lose him. He is a workhorse, is always hustling around the club and does such a great job with the junior golfers and the Siouxland Junior Golf Tour.”
PGA Professional of the Year
Greg Mason from Burlington’s Spirit Hollow has been named the 2016 PGA Professional of the Year by the IGA.
“Mase”, as they call him at Spirit Hollow, has been a golf professional since 1988 and a member of the PGA of America since 1991. He is a Past President of the Iowa Section of the PGA, has served on many PGA of America National Committees, is a UST Mamiya Shaft Company Advisory Board Member and is on the Golf Range Association of America Advisory Board. Mason has been at Spirit Hollow Golf Course since 2015.
Mason and staff continue to serve a great hosts for the IGA no matter the event. They most recently held the 2016 IGA Four-Ball Championship and, per usual, Mason and his staff went above and beyond. Those who visit and play Spirit Hollow for the first time are always impressed with Mason’s welcoming personality and ‘do anything’ attitude.
He does a terrific job managing the normal day-to-day play – which now includes lodging on site – as well as the numerous events Spirit Hollow hosts. If fact, it’s hard to find a time when “Mase” ins’t on the move, seeing to the needs of one of his guests. We are excited to add him to the list of deserving award winners in 2016.