Course of Action: Des Moines Golf and Country Club

After four years and an $8 million renovation, Rick Tegtmeier and team have Des Moines Golf and Country Club ready for the biggest event of his career.


Filed to: Iowa

Tegtmeier superintendents
Rick Tegtmeier, director of grounds, works alongside his son, Nate, one of Des Moines G&CC’s two course superintendents. Photo courtesy of Rick Tegtmeier

In fall 2012, Rick Tegtmeier, CGCS, MG, and his son, Nate, bought a jon boat to hunt waterfowl. By summer 2013, they had sold it — not because they disliked it, but because free time looked scarce for the foreseeable future.

Four years ago, the Tegtmeiers embarked on a new journey, one that culminates this month. In August 2013, they began renovations at Des Moines Golf and Country Club in West Des Moines, Iowa, and completed the project this past April. Their work didn’t slow, however, as they transitioned into preparations for the Solheim Cup (essentially the women’s equivalent of the Ryder Cup), scheduled Aug. 18-20.

“It’s the biggest event in my career. I’ve always wanted to do something like this,” says Rick Tegtmeier, director of grounds and a 35-year GCSAA member.

Des Moines G&CC is a perfect fit for the Solheim Cup, partly because it’s a 36-hole facility. Just two days before the Solheim Cup, which will take place on the club’s Championship Course, the Junior Solheim Cup will be played on the Member Course. “We want to make sure this is done right. We’re treating the junior event just as we are the Solheim Cup,” Rick says.

The $8 million renovation at Des Moines G&CC included rebuilding all bunkers and even adding some new ones, bringing the total to 162. Ninety-four tees were rebuilt, 9 miles of new drainage pipe was installed, and 68 acres of sod was laid. Rick’s biggest agronomic challenge? “Localized dry spots. We do a lot of needle-tine aerification on all playing areas,” he says, “and we also use wetting agents to help with the problem.”

A crew of 48 plus 125 volunteers will be on hand for the two Solheim Cup events, and Tegtmeier will lean heavily on his two course superintendents — his son Nate, a 10-year GCSAA Class A member, and superintendent Tim Sims, a nine-year association member. “Their goal is to take care of the courses. I’ll take care of everything else,” Rick says.

Someday, Rick hopes to resume his waterfowl hunting. For now, he is hunting golf course excellence. “We want to make our members proud,” he says.

Howard Richman is GCM’s associate editor.