Sixty and counting

Upcoming golf tourney to fete Legion course’s 60th anniversary

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Pictured are the many Marshalltown area youth who participated in the “Swing for Kids” golf-introductory program at the local American Legion Golf Course earlier this year. Legion golfers, Pro Shop Manager Josh Hoglan, and club professional Jerry Johnson are strong supporters of the program.

In July of 1957, a group of progressive men and women opened the American Legion Golf Course in Marshalltown.

It was then the only public course in the Marshalltown area.

And over the years, what was once a farm field at the intersection of South 6th Street and Olive Street became known throughout Central Iowa as an affordable, quality place to play 18 holes.

Thousands upon thousands of rounds have been played through three generations with the actual number of hours of recreation provided incalculable.

And now, with the 60th anniversary beckoning, what better way to celebrate than holding a tournament open to the public that will provide revenue to improve the course?

On July 2, the planning committee hopes dozens of golfers will descend upon the Legion course for a 11 a.m. Shotgun start, 4-person best shot tournament with women’s flight and couples flights available.

A $65 entry fee per person for a day of golf includes a meal and gift following tournament. More than $7,000 in gifts and prizes will be available including a live auction.

Tournament proceeds will be applied to replacing the old storage building near the green on hole No. 13, said locals Mike Casey and Jim Dworzak, two members who are part of a team planning the event.

Should tournament revenues exceed the goal — excess funds will be applied to the replacement of the fairway irrigation system.

JBS and the United Food & Commercial Workers are major sponsors.

Donations for course improvements are tax deductible.

Casey and Dworzak talked of their connection to the course, to the sport of golf, experiences past and present, and what the future holds.

“My first job was as a 10-year old, picking up driving range balls,” said Dworzak, now retired after many years as a financial advisor.

“It is more than a golf course to me, it is where I developed relationships at a young age and those relationships still exist. It is where I learned sportsmanship. There are a number of us in the community who had similar experiences … some might have gotten started caddying at Elmwood. Golf, and its related benefits, is something you can experience over the course of a lifetime.”

Casey and Dworzak also look at participation as a way of “giving back” to the course — and game — which has taught them — and others a lot.

The public course is a full-service whose management is overseen by the American Legion Post 46 Golf Committee. It serves as an advisory committee to the Post 46 Executive Board. Its mission has been to maintain admissions and fees at a reasonable level while providing a good experience for Marshalltown area golfers.

“Only the Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA and Marshalltown Parks and Recreation generates more hours of recreation than the American Legion Memorial Golf Course,” said Casey. “Recently, the course was proud to host the Marshalltown High School Girls Golf Team at no cost to the school, as well as assisting with fundraising events benefitting the athletic department. We are equally proud to work in partnership with Marshalltown Community College golfers, too.”

Many local charity events are also held annually for significantly reduced cost.

The Golf Committee and other Legionnaires hope to reestablish the Ray Engle Golf Tournament to honor Ray and spouse Kathy.

To sign up for the tournament, contact Josh Hoglan in the Pro Shop at 641-752-1834.