Former Iowa men’s golfer Alex Schaake earns Forme Tour membership

With the PGA Tour’s newly implemented program, the 2021 Hawkeye graduate received his status through PGA Tour University.


Hannah Kinson

Iowa’s Alex Schaake lines up a shot during the men’s golf Hawkeye Invitational on Saturday, April 17, 2021 at Finkbine Golf Course.

Chris Werner, Sports Reporter

Instead of competing at the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship — held from May 28 – June 2 in Scottsdale, Arizona — recent Hawkeye men’s golf graduate Alex Schaake had to sit and wait.

Schaake finished his season at the NCAA Cle Elum Regional tournament as the Iowa men’s golf team finished 11th out of 13 teams — failing to advance to the championship round. The 2021 co-Big Ten Men’s Golfer of the Year tied for 33rd individually. So, the former Hawkeye had to watch the NCAA Championship from home.

Schaake, an Omaha, Nebraska, native, sat at 14th in the PGA Tour University rankings prior to the NCAA Championship.

New for the 2020-21 collegiate season, PGA Tour University awards NCAA Division I men’s golfers who have completed four or more years of college with opportunities for a status on a PGA Tour.

Calculated in partnership with the World Amateur Golf Ranking, the top-five players on the PGA Tour University rankings at the end of the collegiate season receive membership on the Korn Ferry Tour.

Players who ranked between fifth and 15th had the opportunity to earn status on the Forme Tour — formerly known as the Mackenzie Tour — PGA Tour Latinoamerica, or PGA Tour Series-China. Those players will also automatically advance to the second stage of Korn Ferry Tour qualifying.

Throughout the four-day NCAA Championship, Schaake knew the rankings were out of his hands, and could only hope the chips fell in his favor to stay in the top-15.

“I didn’t really watch much of much of it until [Monday,]” Schaake said. “I was following along a little bit online. I didn’t really want to stress myself out too much by getting caught up in the results and what other people had to do for me to qualify for the Forme Tour. I would check it mostly like the end of the day, just to see how guys were doing. After the first day, I saw that some of the guys didn’t play great. So, I was sitting in a good spot. That made me feel a little bit better.”

But after the tournament concluded, Schaake hung on to his top-15 spot.

Seven players who golfed in the NCAA Championship had the chance to finish inside the top-15 of the PGA Tour University rankings, depending on how they fared at the event. But none of the seven players performed well enough to jump into a tour membership spot.

Although Schaake did not play in the NCAA Championship, he moved up a spot, finishing the 2020-21 season 13th in the PGA Tour University rankings.

“It definitely felt really good,” Schaake said. “I mean, [PGA Tour University] was not the whole reason I came back to school [for a fifth year], but it was probably the biggest reason… You kind of think like, ‘Oh, yeah, I’m coming back for this,’ but you don’t really know your chances. I didn’t really know how the point system worked. So, I was just kind of going out there and trying to play well every tournament to see where I’d put myself in the standings.

“After the [Spartan Collegiate] Sea Island event [March 8-9], where I finished second, I jumped from like 100 to 25. I was like, ‘This is actually kind of a possibility now,’” he added. “And it was just a really good feeling, knowing that I came back for the sole reason of the PGA Tour University. And to get into that top-15 as the end of the year was pretty awesome.”

Schaake will begin his professional golf career on June 23 at the Forme Tour’s first event of the eight-tournament season — the L&J Golf Championship at Jennings Mill Country Club  in Watkinsville, Georgia.