FD’s Sergeant reflects on Hall induction

MARSHALLTOWN – Dave Sergeant was a driving force behind the recent resurrection of the Iowa Golf Association’s Hall of Fame wing.

Instead of being in his usual role as a representative during the organization’s 2014 induction ceremony recently, Sergeant found himself on the receiving end of an honor long overdue.

The Fort Dodge lawyer was one of four new IGA Hall members recognized at the Elmwood Country Club, joining John Bermel, Larry Dennis and Norman Westfall. Sergeant was introduced by Gowrie’s Tom Schill, a long-time friend and playing partner.

“It was really an enjoyable experience – at the end of the day, I’d call it the highlight of my career,” said Sergeant, a 1963 FDSH graduate who has won a total of nine city championships. “Ironically, we had an inaugural tournament fundraiser (beforehand on Friday), and my group, which included (Schill), (Lake City native) Joel Yunek and (Jefferson’s) Mike Mumma, played so much golf (at Elmwood) that we were almost late for the reception.

“Start to finish, it was just a special day. Of course it’s a tremendous honor to be inducted, but just getting a chance to be around friends and family, telling stories, playing golf, doing what we do – that made it that much more memorable.”

Sergeant has worked alongside fellow Fort Dodger Al Nelson for nearly a decade to help bring the IGA’s dormant Hall wing up to speed.

”One day we were going through some old clippings and Al said, ‘what about you? Do you have a resume?”’ Sergeant said. ”I hadn’t really thought about it much at that point. I put some stuff together and now here we are.

”Al has been a godsend to this process. It isn’t easy to get caught up and make sure we aren’t missing anyone. But the Hall of Fame committee has really put in the legwork over the last decade or so, and Al’s one of those ‘behind the scenes’ guys who really deserves a lot of credit.”

Sergeant was a pioneer on the state’s senior amateur tour. He was the IGA’s senior player of the year four times between 1996 and 2001, while finishing second in the voting twice. The Drake University graduate captured the Iowa Senior Match Play, the Iowa Masters and the Fort Dodge Amateur four times each during that timeframe.

In 1998, Sergeant advanced to the United States Senior Open. He made a return trip to the event at Inverness as a qualifier in 2003.

”I’m just a small part of it all, but this means a great deal to me personally,” Sergeant said. ”There is such an overwhelming amount of rich golf history in the state of Iowa. It’s a very unique place to compete from a player’s standpoint.”

There are now 67 IGA Hall of Fame members. Sergeant is the second honoree from Fort Dodge, joining childhood friend and high school teammate Tom Chapman Jr. Sergeant inducted Chapman Jr. in 2008.

Sergeant and his wife, Sue, have five children and two grandchildren.

”I am so thankful for Sue and my family,” Sergeant said. ”Between their support and the camaraderie of friends – it’s been tremendous.

”Of course it’s nice to win and be recognized like this, but you have to do it for the right reasons. I’ll never forget after winning my first major amateur championship in 1966, J.D. Turner came up to me and asked how I felt. I said great of course. He said, win or lose, always enjoy the feeling. Make it more about that than anything else. So I’ve done my best to enjoy the game, first and foremost, ever since.”