The definitive book on golf's history in Iowa and its great players

Rick Brown's "Golden Harvest" is a treat for Iowans who follow golf

I’m always impressed when someone I know has written a book because, well, they wrote a book.

When they did it without taking shortcuts and by pouring themselves into it to do it right, then I’m really impressed.

Rick Brown, who had a distinguished 37-year career writing about sports for the Des Moines Register, had a terrific book about Chris Street two years ago. His new project is called “Golden Harvest: Iowa’s Rich Golf History.”

It was commissioned by the Iowa Golf Association. As with virtually all things worth reading, the book is about people. In this case, it’s those from a lightly populated, cold-weather state who made considerable impacts in golf.

“Iowa’s golf history is a tale of champions and characters,” Brown said. “You’ll read about Jack Fleck beating Ben Hogan, one of the biggest upsets in sports history, at the 1955 U.S. Open. But you’ll also read about colorful hustler and con man Floren DiPaglia of Des Moines.

“You’ll follow the story of Zach Johnson, the pride of Cedar Rapids and the greatest golfer the state has produced. As a freshman member of the Drake golf team, Johnson was asked about his career goals in a questionnaire. His answer: graduate degree or a career in health care.

“There are stories like Edith Estbrooks of Dubuque, who won the Iowa Amateur at 14 years old in 1935.”


Brown’s insistence on getting stories behind the stories is a constant in the book, and there are some great photos from the past, too.

You can order the book online at or call the Iowa Golf Association at 515-207-1062.

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