Golf has traditionally been a popular sport in Iowa, with many great courses dotted across the state. Many people play this game in the Hawkeye state and it is no surprise that is widely popular with the conditions offered by these Iowan public golf courses.
This has helped a large number of Iowan golfers reach heights in their pro careers. So who are the best golfers from here you need to know about?
1. Zach Johnson
Born in Iowa City, Zachary Johnson was raised in Cedar Rapids and excelled at several sports like football and basketball as a youngster. He started playing golf by the age of ten at the Elmcrest Country Club in Cedar Rapids. Zach was also on the Regis High School golf team and his sophomore year there saw them win the Iowa 3A state championship. During his spell at Drake University in Des Moines, he was number two on the team.
As part of the Bulldogs, he helped them to win three of the NCAA regional tournaments and a couple of Missouri Valley championships as well.
His pro career began in 1998 when Zach started to play tournaments on the developmental circuit. Things began well for him, as he won three of 2001’s events. By 2003, he was top of the money list and had earned himself automatic entry to the PGA Tour. It didn’t take long for Zach to get his first win on the tour, as he won the BellSouth Classic in 2004.
He carried on impressing over the next few years and was called up to the American Ryder Cup team in 2006 when he was in ninth place on the country’s points list. His first major victory was at the 2007 Masters, which was followed by the Open Championship in 2015. One of the next great achievements in Zach’s career will come in 2023 when he captains the US Ryder Cup team in Rome.
Zach also has a foundation that helps young people get into college.
On behalf of Zach and Kim Johnson and the entire Zach Johnson Foundation, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
With your tremendous support we are humbled to announce that this year’s event raised over $1.1 million. This support directly impacts kids in our community! pic.twitter.com/BFTjbzpKch
— Zach Johnson Foundation (@ZJFoundation) August 1, 2022
2. Mike McCoy
Mike McCoy is a West Des Moines golfer who has had success on the amateur circuit. His earliest experiences with the sport came when he traveled with his father to Ireland to play on the best golf courses there while visiting relatives.
This is where he said that his love of the game of golf grew, and he later went to Wichita State University and then won an Amateur Cup in Iowa in 2009.
One of his biggest wins came in the 2013 Mid-Amateur Championship, which led to him being invited to the Masters’ Tournament the following year. However, he missed the cut at the Augusta National Golf Club after the first two rounds.
Looking to the future, his son Nate is his caddy and is also an amateur golfer.
.Nate McCoy of Ankeny, Iowa won the Iowa Open – Amateur Division! McCoy’s 3-day total was 66-65-70=201, 15-under-par.
Congratulations Nate!#IowaOpen #IowaPGA pic.twitter.com/BQOdGj9fzv
— Iowa PGA Section (@iowapga) August 2, 2021
3. Dave Rummells
Dave Rummells was born in Cedar Rapids and turned professional in 1981 after studying at the University of Iowa. A look back over his career reveals a couple of big wins, in the 1996 Nike South Carolina Classic and the Nike Knoxville Open the following year. Dave competed in a few majors too, playing in the Masters, The US Open, and the PGA Championship.
He failed to make the cut on a few of those occasions but his finest showing came at the 1989 PGA Championship at Kemper Lakes Golf Club in Illinois. You might remember this as the first major won by Payne Stewart but Dave was in the running the whole way.
He ended the tournament tied for fifth place, following rounds of 68,68,69, and 72 which gave him a -10 total and a $45,000 prize check. Rummells also performed strongly in the same tournament the year before that.
4. Jack Fleck
We need to go further back in time to enjoy looking at the golfing career of Jack Fleck. He was born in Bettendorf in 1921 and grew up there. Jack came from a farming family and attended Davenport High School, playing on their golf team while he studied there. After working as a caddy, Jack became a pro golfer in the late 1930s.
He was an assistant golf pro at Des Moines Country Club and is said to have earned $5 each week before World War II broke out and he joined the US Navy. Jack took part in the legendary D-Day invasion and as soon as he came home he was back playing golf. The US Open in 1955 saw him beat the icon, Ben Hogan, in a playoff, just six months after he’d turned pro and over-turning the biggest first-round deficit in US Open history.
Jack continued to perform well enough to give us his job and concentrate on golf full-time. He won two more competitions, the Phoenix Open in 1960 and then the Bakersfield Open in 1961. Later, he became a club pro and joined the Senior PGA tour where he won the PGA Senior’s Championship in 1979. By 1990, Jack Fleck was inducted into the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame.
The best golf story you've never heard of?
At the 1955 US Open at the Olympic Club, club pro Jack Fleck was playing in just his third major and birdied the 72nd hole (see below) to shoot 67 and set up an Monday play-off with 9-time major champion Ben Hogan.
He won the playoff. pic.twitter.com/1uz895fRGs
— GOLFTV (@GOLFTV) June 3, 2021
5. Beth Bader
Beth Bader started life in Davenport and attended North Scott High Scott followed by Iowa State University. She is one of the most successful Iowa State female athletes to date, but a knee injury s