The Iowa Golf Association Foundation today announced a $5 million capital campaign to build Golf House Iowa, a center of excellence dedicated to the sport.
While Iowa is home to world golf champions and captains, it lacks a centralized place to organize, celebrate and support Iowa golf, foundation leaders say.
Michael Coppola, a Des Moines real estate developer and owner of the Echo Valley Country Club in Norwalk, made a principal gift of $1 million for permanent residency for the Iowa Golf Association Foundation and the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame. Golf House Iowa will be built on land that Coppola also donated, overlooking the ninth green of the Echo Valley Creek course in Norwalk.
Coppola’s donation is a major part of the fundraising goal, which was recently raised to $5 million due to rising construction costs. Well over half of that total has been raised so far, Coppola said in a press release.
“We want to inspire others to get involved,” he said. “We’re trying to build a platform that I think is going to take Iowa golf and, more importantly, the programs to the next level.”
Chad Pitts, executive director of the Iowa Golf Association, said Golf House Iowa is important for many reasons.
“It is operationally and philosophically strategic for the IGA and our foundation to have a permanent home,” Pitts said. “But we’re really doing this for our golfing community in Iowa. Golf in Iowa and around the world is experiencing positive growth, and we need to create a space that supports both current and future participation. Golf has a positive impact on quality of life, education, and economic development, and it’s good for everyone in the state.
The Iowa Golf Course Superintendents Association will also have offices in the building. So will the IGA Foundation, which promotes golf and preserves history through numerous programs, including the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame, the Herman Sani and Ann Griffel Scholarships, and the Youth on Course program. The Sani and Griffel Scholarships award $42,000 per year.
The facility will include a golf simulator, indoor and outdoor greens and multi-purpose meeting rooms that would be used by growing initiatives like First Tee and Youth on Course. The doors of Golf House Iowa will be open to all, with a mission to help golf grow.
The new facility would house the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame and Museum, which will celebrate the game’s past and serve as motivation for the future. In addition to Coppola’s gift, early contributions from some Hall of Famers kickstarted the project, Pitts said.
“The family of the late Joe Brown, Mike McCoy, Gene Elliott, Jim Carney and many others made significant donations early on,” he said. “Without their financial support and participation, we would not be where we are today. It is a testament to their appreciation for the game of golf that they would step up and contribute as they have.
Pitts said the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame would give its members a place where their legacy would be permanently honored. From Coppola’s perspective, the facility will serve as a vital platform.
“With every mission and every business, you need a platform,” Coppola said. “And for the IGA, Golf House Iowa will be the platform for everything he does.”