Golf tournament raises money for Children’s Hospital

A man in Waverly, Iowa, has taken the loss of his eye and turned his struggles into support for children who need it more.


Anna Kayser

A banner made in honor of the kids at the Stead Family Children’s Hospital waves in the wind at Dukie’s One Eye Open, a charitable golf tournament in Waverly, Iowa, on Sept. 28.

Anna Kayser, Assistant Sports Editor

WAVERLY, Iowa — Despite a chilly wind and a high of 54 degrees, 148 golfers, along with an entire community, bundled up to raise more than $135,000 for the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.

On Sept. 28, the town of Waverly, Iowa, came together for Dukie’s One Eye Open, a golf tournament in honor of a man who does so much to help the community on a daily basis.

Steve Corson, known as “Duke” to everyone who knows him, suffered a spontaneous retina and macula detachment that ultimately caused him to lose sight in his right eye. During his time at the UIHC, he began to realize that the children in the next building over needed more support than he did.

“We want them to get better, and this is our way of supporting,” Corson said. “Plus, if we can possibly send a little love their way with $100,000, that’ll help.”

Corson’s eye patch and his experience in helping people through their most difficult times as the president of a local funeral home helped in his journey of healing.

The golf tournament, originally thought of by Duke and the staff at Prairie Links Golf and Event Center to be a small gathering with friends, turned into a community-wide effort.

“This kind of started out as a joke to be honest, and then [we] got together and said, ‘No, let’s really make this happen,’ ” said Morgan Pierce, the general manager of Prairie Links Golf Course and Events Center. “It’s been wonderful. The amount of support that’s come in through the community has been outstanding.”

The tournament was a shotgun best-shot with two foursomes to a hole. This made play a little slow, but the “Voice of the Hawkeyes” and friend of Corson, Gary Dolphin, said it didn’t matter.

“We were I think 5-under, which is pretty good given the group I’m with,” Dolphin said. “We [weren’t] very good as a group, collectively, but you know, everyone makes a putt here and a great shot there, and everybody contributed. It [took] us a little longer to play, but when you think of the bottom line of what it’s all for, it’s well worth it.”

Despite this being his one weekend off work on the Iowa football schedule, the cause was worth being away from home.

“I was only too happy to come out and help out any way I can,” Dolphin said. “We [raised] a lot of money even though it [was] a little chilly and windy, but golfers are some of the toughest human beings on Earth, they can play through anything. It [was] a great day; it really [was].”

All of the money from the event, including an entrance fee for golf, a provided dinner, and both a silent and live auction, went toward the Children’s Hospital.

Something that Corson wanted to do from the beginning was make a video of all of the golfers waving to send to the kids in Iowa City. He accomplished that goal twice.

Four hundred students from Waverly Shell-Rock Middle School made “Get Well” banners to send to the hospital. They then went outside, played Pat Green’s song “Wave on Wave,” and made a drone video. The golfers did the same thing at the tournament.

Corson’s goal was to have an effect on the children he knows are struggling more than he ever has, and by turning a tough time into a positive thing, he has achieved that.

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