Iowa golf teams enjoying improvements to Finkbine

A lot has changed at Finkbine Golf Course since last fall, and the Hawkeye golf programs are enjoying the transformation.


Ryan Adams

The main entrance sign is seen at Finkbine Golf Course on Feb. 24, 2020.

Chris Werner, Sports Reporter

Finkbine Golf Course has undergone numerous changes since last fall. The Hawkeye golf programs’ home course has a new clubhouse, new management, and a new superintendent.

Even though the Iowa golf teams haven’t been able to compete this fall due to the Big Ten’s decision to postpone all fall sports because of the COVID-19 pandemic, they have practiced and kept their skills sharp.

Lots of practice with no competition means that both the men’s and women’s teams have been spending plenty of time at Finkbine so far this year. Players and coaches alike have taken note of the alterations made to the course, and they like what they see.

“The clubhouse has a nice addition,” men’s head coach Tyler Stith said. “We’ve got a new management group here, Troon Golf, that’s running the day-to-day operations and they’ve been great. They’ve been supportive of both the men’s and women’s teams, helping coach Menzel and me out.

Stith also said the new superintendent Tim Gravert is “doing a fantastic job” and that the course is “in the best shape I’ve ever seen it in my life.”

Troon Golf — an Arizona-based company that handles club management, development, and marketing — recently opened a new office in Chicago to serve courses in the Midwest. The company agreed to manage Finkbine in mid-February, as previously reported by The Daily Iowan.

The Nagle Family Clubhouse, named to honor Mary Lee Nagle Duda and Fritz Duda, whose financial contribution allowed for the new clubhouse to be built, opened to the public in April. The 19,000-square-foot facility features new amenities such as a bar, restaurant, outdoor patio area, and a conference room.

RELATED:  New clubhouse creates opportunities for Finkbine Golf Course

 “It’s just so positive for our whole community and for our players to come back and to see the drastic changes to the clubhouse,” women’s head coach Megan Menzel said. “We’re so thankful to the Dudas that they’ve provided that first-class presentation at Finkbine. It just makes it feel completely different. We just feel extremely blessed that we have this amazing facility and look forward to continuing to be able to practice in a really good spot here this fall.”

The women’s golf team was supposed to host its first event at the new clubhouse this past Saturday, but it was canceled due to weather.

Superintendent Gravert, comes to Finkbine after over 20 years in the golf business. He worked as the assistant superintendent at 3 of the five Bethpage State Park Golf Courses in New York, including the black course which hosted the 2009 U.S. Open when he was there. 

“The new superintendent is really good now,” senior Alex Schaake said. “Our last superintendent was a guy who knew a lot about how to keep a course in good condition but he didn’t know anything about golf. So, sometimes the pin placements were in crazy spots and it wasn’t really, so to say, fair, but the new guy’s great.”

Schaake said he also enjoys the new clubhouse. The player-friendly atmosphere and hosting capabilities of the new building impress the Nebraska native.

“With the new clubhouse and everything, just being able to have like snacks there and to go there and just hang out, and for us older guys maybe have some drinks too, that’s a cool place,” the senior said. “If you’re going to get a championship golf course, you’ve got to have the great clubhouse, you’ve got to have great facilities. And to be able to have people hang out there on the patio is awesome.”

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