WEST DES MOINES — When Rick Tegtmeier was studying horticultural science at Hawkeye Institute of Technology in the late 1970s, his dream was someday to run his own local nine-hole golf course.
That was how Tegtmeier, a native of Rockford, got hooked on the profession, working at the Rockford Public Course as a youth.
Being good at what he does led Tegtmeier to a little bigger stage.
After five years of hard work, including a massive renovation led by legendary golf course designer Pete Dye, Tegtmeier, the director of grounds at Des Moines Golf and Country Club, was able to stand back with pride and watch as the 15th Solheim Cup was played on “his” big stage with an estimated 120,000 fans this weekend.
“My goal was to run a nine-hole golf course so I could have my winters off and I could hunt and fish,” laughed Tegtmeier. “Then it turns into this. For a guy from a little 800 population town to the big stage, yes, this is pretty cool.
“I’m very proud.”
Tegtmeier’s son, Nate, serves as the North Course superintendent at DMGCC as the Solheim Cup is being playing on a hybrid course made up of the North and South courses at the 36-hole facility.
“He’s not my son at work,” quipped Tegtmeier, who has been director of grounds since 2006 at DMGCC. “He has been the North Course for six years.”
This is actually Tegtmeier’s second stint at the course, he was the North Course superintendent from 1983-89, before leaving for Elmcrest Country Club in Cedar Rapids.
WATCHING LIKE A HAWK: For 21 years, Brad Gregory served as the head professional at Red Carpet Golf in Waterloo.
During that time, Gregory, who now lives in Arizona, got pretty good at the rules, — so much so that he now serves on the PGA of America Rules Committee and has served as a referee at 38 majors, including last week’s PGA Championship, six Ryder Cups and this week at his second Solheim Cup.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Gregory said. “I go to a lot of nice places. I was glad to be assigned here. It is a special invite to be assigned here this week in Iowa, which is a nice little homecoming and it has been awesome.
“What a good pick (to select West Des Moines),” added Gregory of Solheim officials awarding the Cup to West Des Moines. “This is great for Iowa and great for the Solheim Cup.”
LOOKING GOOD: All three of Waterloo’s public golf course superintendents — Tom Klein from Irv Warren, Bob Jorgenson of Gates Park and Brad VanderWerff of South Hills, spent Sunday to Wednesday helping groom the Des Moines course for the three-day event.
“During our winter turf conference, Rick (Tegtmeier), said they needed help,” said Klein, who is in his 37th year at Irv Warren. “They sent out a form to volunteer, and I’ve always thought about volunteering and doing either a U.S. Open or something like that.
“With this being here, I said I’m doing it and I talked to those guys (Jorgenson and VanderWerff) and they were all in.”
Klein, Jorgenson and VanderWerff joined DMGCC’s 50-man full-time course crew and another 25-plus volunteers involved mowing fairways, along with three-hour shifts of hand-raking bunkers in the evening.
“This was a once in a lifetime opportunity. It was fun. We just had to do it,” Klein said of the experience.
GRAPPLING WITH SECURITY: The 71st Civil Support team, a mobile unit made up of soldiers and airmen with the Iowa National Guard, is helping provide security.
The group has equipment and expertise to detect and identify hazardous materials.
Among the members of that group is former Wartburg College two-time All-American Scott Kaufman.
As part of the team, Kauffman helped provide security at this past year’s Presidential Inauguration, and the unit will support Iowa and Iowa State home football games this year.
“I get to see a lot of things, a lot of people and places across the country,” Kauffman said. “I couldn’t imagine having a better job.”