IGA bestows 2022 GTDSA upon Rick Brown

Rick Brown ponders the action in one of the hundreds of Iowa Golf Association tournaments over his 37-year career as a sports writer with The Des Moines Register.

A passion for the game. An appreciation and deep understanding of what it takes to play at a high level. A life-long love affair for the game. An ambassador for Iowa golf. Long-time Des Moines Register sportswriter/columnist and Iowa golf envoy Rick Brown embodies these qualities – and captures the spirit and essence of such by being honored with the Iowa Golf Association’s 2022 George Turner Distinguished Service Award.

For nearly 40 years, Brown served as Iowa’s foremost golf writer, columnist and historian in his role at the Register. The position took Brown to the pinnacle of golf’s professional events, covering nearly two dozen majors and three Ryder Cup contests, including the 2006 staging at the K Club in Klidare, Ireland, featuring the debut of Iowa native Zach Johnson. Two years later, Brown covered the 2008 Masters Tournament where Johnson was the defending champion.

“The entire Augusta experience was just awe-inspiring,” Brown said. “I grew up watching The Masters and dreaming of going down Magnolia Lane. To actually be there was surreal – I felt as though I was walking on air the entire week. And to see this kid (Johnson) from Cedar Rapids and Drake University compete against the best players in the world was phenomenal.” 

But Brown also relished his assignments covering Iowa’s major tournaments, such at The Fort Dodge Amateur, The Northwest Amateur, Herman Sani, The Iowa Masters and Iowa Amateur, among others.

“To be honest, I enjoyed covering Iowa’s tournaments just as much as the PGA Tour,” Brown stated. “I’ve always admired and respected Iowa’s top amateurs as they competed with their heart and soul. There’s nothing like being there on the final round of the tournament with the title on the line.”

Brown’s contributions to the IGA are extensive. In 2019, following a year of meticulous research, the book “Golden Harvest – Iowa’s Rich Golf History” was released. A 450-page treasure trove, the book traces the more than a century of the game’s history in Iowa, sharing remarkable stories and achievements.

“We owe Rick a debt of gratitude for the painstaking research he invested to tell our Iowa golf story,” noted Mike McCoy, Iowa’s most decorated amateur golfer.

Brown currently serves on the IGA’s Hall of Fame selection committee, communications committee and has written several stories for the website. 

Rick Brown poses with Iowa native Zach Johnson and the Claret Jug, symbolic of Johnson’s triumph in the 2015 Open Championship. Brown will receive the 2022 George Turner Distinguished Service Award at the IGA’s annual awards banquet December 8 at Terrace Hills Golf Course in Altoona.

Brown retired in 2015 following a 37-year work career spent entirely at the Register. He was named Iowa Sportswriter of the Year 11 times as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association and won six first-place writing awards from the Iowa Associated Press Managing Editors. He was inducted into the University of Iowa’s Kinnick Wall of Fame in 2016 and enshrined into the Iowa Golf Association’s Hall of Fame in 2017. 

A native of Fort Dodge, Brown’s career path may have been predestined. His late father, Bob Brown, served as sports editor of The Fort Dodge Messenger for many years. As a youngster, he would listen to athletic contests on the radio and keep a box score as the game was broadcast. As a high schooler, he worked the Messenger sports desk on Friday nights taking phone calls from coaches and writing capsule summaries of area football and basketball games. He spent two years at Iowa Central Community College before receiving undergraduate and graduate degrees in journalism from the University of Iowa. A 37-year career at The Des Moines Register began in 1978. Brown will be recognized during a ceremony on Thursday, December 8, at Terrace Hills Golf Course in Altoona.

“Golf has been such a wonderful element of my life for so many decades,” Brown said.

Decorated Iowa golf sportswriter Rick Brown poses on the Hogan Bridge with the backdrop of Augusta National’s iconic 12th hole in the background. Brown was among a select group of golf writers who received the honor of playing Augusta National the day following the 2008 Masters Tournament.

Scroll to top