A Commitment To Excellence
By Stephen Kahler
As we head into 2023 and the 20th Anniversary of the Tournament Club of Iowa, many improvements are underway both on the golf course and the clubhouse that we feel will enhance your golf and dining experience. Since Tournament Club of Iowa’s conception in 2003, the facility has struggled with some logistical challenges that have created operational inefficiencies. There were basically three separate issues. The original course rotation in that hole #9 didn’t come back to the clubhouse at the turn. The restaurant and banquet area being the same space and therefore unable to accommodate dining and bar business and host events at the same time. And then the location of the restaurant in proximity to the golf shop and cart staging area. In 2020 we developed a systematic game plan to address these issues.
First of all was the course rotation. Most courses in Iowa, or the Midwest for that matter, come back to the clubhouse at the turn for several reasons. Unfortunately for TCI, original hole #9 did not come back to the clubhouse. This created some major challenges for both golf operations and food and beverage. Yes, there was “The Turn” Halfway House, but it was not efficient to operate, and we were not able to offer the quality or consistency we strive to provide. In 2020, we consulted with the original architects with the Arnold Palmer design team on potential solutions. Our goal has always been to protect the original design as much as possible. At the time, between the residential development, terrain and preserving the driving range, the most cost-effective solution was to flip the nines. Although we did not love this idea, as we did not want to give up the original finishing holes because we felt they were some of the best in the state, the pros outweighed the cons. Ironically there was another Arnold Palmer designed course, Deacon’s Lodge, that had a similar situation and they too had to adjust their course rotation. So, in May 2021 we flipped the nines, and added a new sandwich shop and bar next to the golf shop and cart staging area, fittingly called “Palmer’s Pub”. Over the last two seasons, the new rotation and Palmer’s Pub are working even better than we anticipated. So much so that we are now in a position to implement the next phase of our game plan, which is adding another hole and going back to the original rotation.
We have been working with the original architect with the Arnold Palmer design team, Erik Larsen, on creating a new hole, which will become new #9. The new hole will be an exciting par 3 that will play between 130-170 yards over a ravine. By adding this hole, we would have to eliminate or bypass another hole. Instead of losing a hole altogether, we are going to combine original #7 par 4 and #8 par 3 into an impressive new par 5 along Big Creek. As Erik Larsen states: “These holes will be better combined as one than they were individually”. While these new holes grow in and take shape, we will stick with the current rotation for the 2023 season. In the Spring of 2024, we will introduce the new hole and go back to the original rotation.
In addition to the golf course renovations, the clubhouse will be undergoing a major renovation as well. The building is now 20 years old and in need of several improvements; roof, doors, windows, HVac, electrical, plumbing, etc.. On top of that the restaurant and banquet area are still the same space. Most club’s that have a restaurant and host banquets have different areas. Palmer’s Pub has been a huge success, however it’s simply not big enough on busy days. We have also added golf simulators that we currently do not have a permanent location for, which means we must set them up each Fall and then take them down in the Spring. With our clubhouse renovation we will be creating a new restaurant separate from the banquet area in addition to a permanent location for the simulator so they can be available all year long. We will be completing the clubhouse renovation in two phases in an effort to have as little impact on our operation as possible. We plan to have Phase 1 (southside of building) completed in April. Then we will move over to Phase 2 (northside of building) with plans to have that completed by July.
We greatly appreciate your support over the last few years which have helped make these plans a reality. We are excited about the future and feel these improvements will make Tournament Club of Iowa an even better golf and dining experience for you.