Welcome to the Northwest Amateur Tournament

1921 marked the inaugural year for the Northwest Amateur Golf Tournament at the Spencer Golf and Country Club. That year also marked the beginning of Iowa's second ever golf tournament, the first being the Iowa Amateur. Today, there are well over 100 tournaments held annually in Iowa, but in 1921, 60 people converged on Spencer's new course to inaugurate what was to be the first in over 90 years of prominence.

News

Northwest Amateur Tournament Trophy

2024 Northwest Amateur

The 102nd Northwest Amateur Tournament is scheduled for August 1st-4th, 2024. Iit will be required for each participant to create their player profile before registering for the tournament. Creating your profile is a one-time process that will streamline the registration day process for years to come.

Create Your Player Profile

Some reasons why we are creating player profiles:
  • With the way these past few years have sold out so quickly, many participants have scrambled on registration day to fill out their entry form information for multiple participants leading to incorrect and/or incomplete data entered. Most importantly, having player profiles completed in advance will make registration day less stressful for you.
  • Establishing player profiles will also allow us to communicate better with everyone via email/text with important information, such as rules, schedules, and other special instructions.
  • Completing a profile will save you time each year going forward, as you will not need to re-enter your basic information such as an address, email, phone, birthdate, etc. again in future years.

Once tournament registration opens on Thursday, June 20th at 7:00 AM (Central time), you will need to select the names of the 1-4 players you are registering from a dropdown list of existing player profiles. Each player will then receive a confirmation email that they have been registered.

We are thankful to have so much support and interest, which has caused the tournament these past few years to sell out quickly. We sincerely hope that the registration day process becomes less stressful and that all who desire to participate will have ample time to register.

Thank you again for your support and involvement,
The Northwest Amateur Tournament Committee

2023 Northwest Amateur Results

Congratulations to the 2023 Northwest Amateur Tournament Champion Brett Benson of Bird Island, MN.

Brett has been in the final pairings many times in recent years, coming so close to winning several times. These heartbreaks of the past surely made it all the more satisfying to breakthrough this year and add his name to the list of champions.

For the first time in many years, the Championship Flight went to a sudden death playoff... Conor Schubring of Minnetonka, MN also played outstanding golf, finishing as runner-up after being edged by Benson in the playoff. A par putt which Schubring needed to extend the playoff on Hole 17 just missed. It was a tight leaderboard and finishing just one stroke behind Benson and Schubring were James Preston of Lakeland, FL and Dennis Bull of Norwalk, IA.

Thank you to all golfing participants, volunteers, tournament committee and SGCC staff for making it a memorable four days of golf. At its core, the Northwest Amateur continues to be special because of the dedication and support of 380+ golfers who take the time to come participate.

We hope to see you again next year August 1st-4th, 2024.

The Northwest Amateur is a big task to manage… it requires more than 50 to 60 volunteers each year, some arriving at 5:30 am each day and some leaving at midnight. Thank you for making this event another success for Spencer Golf & Country Club and for Spencer, IA. This showing of support can’t be taken for granted. You are so vital to making sure the out-of-town guests have a great experience and desire to come to play next year. Thank you!

Fees

Tournament Registration

This covers all your rounds of golf and includes 1 bag of range balls per qualified day.

$200

per golfer

Cart Rental

Two people may share a cart.

$40

per 18 holes

History

When the country club first conceived of the idea of holding a tournament, it appointed a tournament committee headed by Walter H. Thomas. Working with Thomas were Carl Fee, W.W. Cornwall, E. Taggert, J.P. Gable, and W.C. Barton. Through the committee, a match-play tournament sprung. Topping the group of 60 in the inaugural event was Warren Dickinson of Des Moines, a former state champion. Lee Herron of Des Moines, who went on to win the next three tournaments, took the runner-up spot the first year.

Hole #10

The early efforts of committee chair Walter Thomas lead to the surge of the Northwest Am’s popularity. According to his son, Tom Thomas, Walter used his newspaper contacts through the Des Moines Register to give the tournament state-wide prominence. “In those days, we got more publicity than any other tournament in the state,” Tom Thomas said. “Give credit to Dad. He made sure we got more publicity than anyone else.” Walter Thomas continued as tournament chairman until 1939 when Jack Kirk took over. Kirk served for four years, Thomas served another two, and then Emory Snyder took the helm through 1963. Other tournament chairmen were Ozzy Osborn and Bob Woods.  In 1997 Bob Rose took over the position and held it for 17 years.  The present-day chairman is Bill Zinn.  Thomas also donated the first trophy to the tournament. The traveling trophy was appropriately named after Thomas. Thomas was also a three-time champion. “You can’t compare him to today’s golfers,” said Tom Thomas. “He was an irons man. He hit them where they paid off.”

Blaine Asher was another prominent Spencer competitor in the Northwest Am in the early years. He was a finalist five years in a row and won in 1926 and 1927. According to an article in the July 1964 edition of The Iowa Golfer, Asher also holds the distinction of being the first in the tournament to have his caddie lug around a stool for him to sit on while waiting on other players. It’s said that he pulled out a magazine each time he sat down. Medal play was introduced to the tournament in 1931. Walter Thomas and Dick Tang of Fort Dodge battled it out in the finals that year, ending in a 287 tie. They were still tied after 17 holes, but Tang won on the 18th play-off hole after Thomas missed a four-foot putt.

Throughout history, the Northwest Am has earned respect as Iowa’s only 72-hole tournament. It’s also a regular stop for amateurs hoping to earn points towards a state amateur championship.

The record tournament score stood for many years at 270, first being shot in 1958 by Denison’s Bob Leahy and then two years later by John Liechty of Marshalltown. The mark was matched a third time by Ryan Vermeer of Omaha in 1999.  Then Curtis Holck of Mason City shot back to back 270’s in 2004 and 2005.  In 2011, Kirby Pettitt of Carroll bested it by one stroke with a 269.  In 2014, Ben Wollam of Marshalltown played the par 4’s 15 under par and set the current tournament record at 268.

Throughout its over 90 years, the Northwest Amateur Golf Tournament has survived the moving of the country club. It has seen many faces come and go, while others seem to come back year after year. But no matter what period in the tournament’s history you look at, it has always attracted a lot of attention with its mix of superb golfers and casual week night warriors. “I can remember when we moved to town in the ’50s, watching (the tournament) was the thing to do in town when it was happening,” said Bob Rose. “It was great to watch top-notch golfers at that time.”

Course Tour

Spencer Golf & Country Club features a classic tree-lined 18 hole championship layout with five sets of tee boxes to accommodate golfers of all abilities. Full-service dining is offered in the clubhouse with scenic views of the golf course.

The Northwest Amateur Golf Tournament is proud to be a sanctioned point-earning event for the Iowa Golf Association Player of the Year award.

Iowa Golf Association

Players in the Northwest Amateur Golf Tournament will earn points toward the World Amateur Golf Ranking.

World Amateur Golf Rankings

Spencer Golf and Country Club