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Travel Club
July 22, 2017

Tournament Club of Iowa - Return Of The King
Tournament Club of Iowa #18
+ click to enlarge
Tournament Club of Iowa #18
Tournament Club of Iowa #7 Photo Courtesy of Peter Wong Photography
+ click to enlarge
Tournament Club of Iowa #7 Photo Courtesy of Peter Wong Photography
Eric Hart

The Tournament Club is one of the 5 best courses in Iowa. No question. They know it. I know it. And you would know it if you played it. It hasn't always been though. As little as five years ago it was a train wreck.

Why is that relevant today? Because their tumultuous history is part of what makes their current status so impressive, so amazing... that's why. The Tournament Club of Iowa was built to be the best championship course in the state of Iowa. They were a legitimate head to head contender with any course someone might suggest as their equal. The PGA thought so. GolfDigest thought so. Seems everyone did.

Unfortunately, the success of the masterful Arnold Palmer seemed to go to its head. Profits were wasted. The property condition crumbled and faded. The blame game eroded what weeds, water and general disinterest had not yet overtaken. People fled. The ship was sinking. It was do or die point and the great people at Tradition Golf stepped in, stepped up and made the necessary changes not only to fix the ship, but also give it enough fuel to make it to shore. Today, with the addition of the beautiful Boulders Inn & Suites (opened in May) adjacent to the 17th hole, they have definitely arrived.

So how did they manage to make such significant changes so quickly? Tradition Golf found the right captain for their ship and let him steer it. That man was, and is, Josh Kuha. From the very beginning the most important thing to Josh was connecting with the members, the regulars, and those former members/regulars who had given up hope of the amazing course ever coming back. He asked them what he could do to get them to come back, and they weren't shy about telling him. Josh listened and let each of them know, personally, that it was coming back. He gave them his word. He asked everyone to give him and his staff a chance. Fortunately they did. The Superintendent was given what he needed to bring it back. The staff handled the lengthy recovery with class. Everyone I talked to there, a year later, told me things were definitely different. Everyone kept their word. This was going to work. "Where we were remains significant today," Josh says. "Because it shows people how far we've come, and allows them to share our vision on just how much further we can go."

It's definitely a success story. Tradition Golf, Josh, and his phenomenal staff turned it all around. Membership is up. Play is up. Events are up. And morale has never been higher. Josh has consistently praised the support from Tradition Golf and continues to believe in the master plan... in all he says this place can still become. They've climbed back into the rankings of the national golf publications who have also started to come back and believe in the amazing difference. That doesn't happen overnight. It takes great vision, commitment, and trust.

Trust me... This course was worth saving. 15 miles Northwest of Des Moines, and just 7 miles West of I35, it's a straight 3.5 hour shot down from the Twin Cities, and now, you don't have to find somewhere else to stay. You can stay right on the course, adjacent the clubhouse, in new, luxurious accommodations with beautiful views of one of Iowa's very best courses. There is no better time to go than now. And no better proof in the accuracy of this turnaround than that new hotel! They're committed to the people of the Des Moines area for the long term... and they're committed to bringing people in from the Twin Cities, Omaha and beyond to experience a different kind of golf.

What you'll find when you get there is an ideal blend of links and woodland golf, beautiful bluffs, continuous cart paths, deep ravine carries, water on 13 holes, and absolutely no blind shots. (Unless you're trying to hit out of the forest.) Minimal housing distractions, stadium mounding, wooden bridges and significant elevation changes are among the many highlights. There genuinely isn't a course in the Twin Cities area like it. The closest comparisons would be up at Cragun's and perhaps, another Palmer classic, Deacon's Lodge. If you've played those and loved those, you'll love TC of Iowa. With that truth, there's no risk. They've come a long way, and no one there is satisfied that they've yet arrived. They still have big plans. If you've needed a reason to venture into the unknown south of Albert Lea, we're giving you a great one. The Tournament Club of Iowa was always a diamond, even when buried deep in the rough. Today, in a splendid return to form, it is polished and pure golf... shining bright and beckoning to you.

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