‘Up and Down’ the Iowa Golf Scene – Living the Dream

The 2024 rules officials pose with Augusta National members during the 2024 Augusta National Women’s Amateur. Katelynn is in the second row, third from left.

Following the Rules Leads Katelynn Hogenson Down a Path Through Magnolia Lane

You might say the Iowa Golf Association’s Katelynn Hogenson was born to follow the rules. The oldest of three daughters of Terry and Theresa Hogenson of Muscatine, Katelynn describes herself as a “a typical first-born rule follower” who became the pacesetter for younger sisters Ashley and Morgan while growing up in a busy household full of activities and sporting events.

A predisposition for structure, problem-solving and law-and-order has served Hogenson well along on a trail leading to her current role as the Chief Operating Officer for the Iowa Golf Association – and as an expert rule official where she has worked literally hundreds of competitions on all stages over her 13-year career.

The list includes a dozen USGA Championships, the 2022 Curtis Cup at Merion, the junior Solheim Cup held in Des Moines in 2017, and untold state, collegiate and regional competitions. But none were bigger than her most recent assignment – the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, where Katelynn was among 20 rules officials from across the globe invited to work the championship staged on the world’s grandest stage – Augusta National. Hogenson received the prestigious invitation to work alongside rules officials from the United States Golf Association, the R & A and select state golf associations to form the rules committee to work the tournament.

“It feels like I just came back from the greatest golf course in the world,” Hogenson told Up and Down the Iowa Golf Scene during a recent interview. “Everything at Augusta National is absolutely perfect, detailed to the max, with nothing out of order. My experience was absolutely what every golfer would dream about – basically having full access to Augusta National. I cannot imagine any golf experience to top this.”

Katelynn Hogenson is all smiles as she takes a break from her recent role as a rules official for the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, including the final round at Augusta National.

The day starts early for rules officials, so her initial trip down Magnolia Lane took place at 5:30 in the morning and in the dark. The group then walked the course to get a feel for the layout and anticipate any rule situations they may encounter. Hogenson was assigned to the par-3 fourth hole, and although she did not have any rulings during the final round, the experience of being at Augusta National was one for the ages.

“We had the opportunity to walk across the Hogan Bridge on hole 12 and stand on the 13th tee during the practice round, something that only players, officials and members can do, and had access to virtually all areas of the course and grounds,” she said. “You get a feel for how small and contoured the greens are compared to what they look like on television, the depth of the bunkers and the severe elevation changes throughout the course. And you get an appreciation of how skilled the players are, some of the hole locations are set in areas where it is nearly impossible to keep the ball on the green.”

Formed in 2018, The Augusta National Women’s Amateur was established to inspire greater interest and participation in the women’s game by creating a new, exciting and rewarding pathway for players to fulfill their dreams. An international field of 72 players is based upon playing criteria and golfers play 36 holes at Champions Retreat Golf Club in Evans, with the top 30 and ties qualifying for the final round at Augusta National. All players, however, are allowed to play a practice round at Augusta National. This year’s champion, Lotte Woad of England, fired a 54-hole total of 208.

A four-sport athlete at Muscatine High School, Hogenson was introduced to golf at an early age by her father. She learned the game by playing one of Iowa’s 9-hole courses, the West Liberty Golf and Country Club, and competed in numerous junior tournaments. Hogenson didn’t really start blooming as a golfer until her sophomore campaign. Softball was front and center, with volleyball and basketball also in the mix.

“I really enjoyed team sports but what drew me to golf was that the game is on your shoulders,” she said “You alone are responsible for your performance, and you generally get out of the game what you put in.”

Katelynn poses with LPGA Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam during the 2017 Solheim Cup staged at Des Moines Golf and Country Club.

Hogenson qualified for the state tournament for three seasons, earning second-team all-state honors in her junior and senior seasons. She led the Muscatine girls golf team to back-to-back appearances in the state tournament, and with her sister Ashley being part of the 2007 squad. That attracted the attention of Iowa State Coach Christie Martens and Hogenson played four seasons for the Cyclones, competing in the starting rotation as well as an individual. Her playing credentials also include qualifying for two USGA championships – the 2010 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links contested at Warren Golf Course at the University of Notre Dame and the 2014 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur plated at Harbour Trees Golf Club in Noblesville, ID., Monday qualifying for a Futures Tour (now Symetra Tour) event and placing fourth in the Iowa Women’s Amateur.

While a collegian, Hogenson landed a summer internship with the former Iowa Women’s Golf Association (now merged with the Iowa Golf Association) and later earned a P.J. Boatright Internship with the IGA. After a nine-month stint, she joined the IGA as a full-time staff member in 2012 and has served in all areas of the organization, managing tournaments, Course Rating and handicapping, member services, director of operations and her current role as Chief Operating Officer.

Early in her IGA tenure, Hogenson became interested in rules, motivated by staff members Chad Pitts (now the IGA Executive Director) and Jason Bjorkland, who attained expert ratings and worked many USGA events. “I developed a curiosity about the rules during my time as an intern,” Hogenson said. She attended PGA and USGA rules workshops and aced the rules examination at the expert level.

“There’s a misconception that rules are always there to penalize the player,” she said. “It’s not like referees in football and basketball. We see ourselves (rules officials) in supportive roles for the players.”

As her golf rules resume continues to flourish, Hogenson looks forward to earning future opportunities to work prestigious championships.

“I’ve got my foot in the door and have made many connections. And I would sure like to get back to Augusta National.

The Muscatine Muskies golf team are shown getting ready for the 2007 Iowa Girls High School state golf tournament. Sisters Katelynn and Ashley (third from right and far right) competed with younger sister Morgan (front) forming the cheering section.

“Up and Down” the Iowa Golf Scene

A regular feature column written by IGA Foundation board member Mark Gambaiana, Up and Down the Iowa Golf Scene is designed to take the reader beyond the headlines and scoreboards to share stories of those who help make Iowa golf so rich and rewarding. Profiles will spotlight those who advance the game through volunteerism, service, extraordinary achievement, competition, human interest and the many other dimensions of golf in Iowa.

Click the links below to read previous Up and Down features
– IGA Rules Official Sean Flanders
– R&A, USGA Champion Gene Elliott
– Nervig Reflects on Decades of Service to The Iowa Masters
– Arseneault Finds Fulfillment in Life’s Next Chapter After Competitive Golf
– Ivan Miller remembers the days of the Minnows
– Kinney adjusts to life on tour
– Standard Golf’s roots run deep
– Pettersen sets sights high
– McCoy, Norton Put Iowa Stamp on Florida Senior Golf
Moreland Reflects on his Extraordinary Club Pro, Playing Career
From Sibley to the LPGA Tour – Barb Thomas Whitehead Fulfills Her Dream
At 88 Years Young, Cleo Brown Remains a Fixture at the Principal Charity Classic, IGA Events
Love of the Game, Service to Others Propel Charlie Taylor to IGA’s 2023 George Turner Award
The Calling Card for Ottumwa’s Matthew Walker in Quest to Reach Golf’s Highest Level

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