Former Iowa PGA Executive Director Kirk Stanzel Passes

Feb 11, 2023

To The Iowa PGA Members, Associates and Friends, some of you may already know this. but Kirk Stanzel, our Executive Director from March of 1989 until his retirement in April of 2006 passed away on Wednesday February 8, 2023 at around 3 pm.  Once we receive more details, we will be sure to pass this onto the Iowa PGA Membership. Nebraska PGA ED/CEO David Honnens let me know today of his passing.

As many of you on this email served with Kirk as an officer and/or board member or as an Iowa PGA Member or Partner, we wanted to make sure you were aware of this.

Click here for Captain’s Obituary and service information.

Kirk hired some wonderful people during his time with the Iowa PGA Like our very own Tess Goudy, current Executive Director Kevin Helm (Michigan PGA), Executive Director Geoff Lofstead (South Florida PGA) and former Iowa PGA Executive Director Troy Christensen. Troy said he had talked to “The Commander” on January 9th and that he was upbeat and told him he was on the mend.
Kirk led us through some wonderful times and growth within our section – from the start of our Junior Tour, DCP, Golf Pass, GHIN Handicap system (Iowa PGA/IGA Joint offices at the time) and the Las Vegas Pro Am to name a few awesome programs we continue to have to this day.  He also led us through the tough times. He always had the best interest of our Iowa PGA Members and Golfers in mind. I am glad that he was  part of the success of our Iowa PGA including the impeccable mentoring he did with the people he hired.
For those that never had a chance to meet Kirk, you missed one of the true gentlemen of our PGA. and Iowa PGA.
Keep his family in your thoughts and prayers. Click here for Captain’s Obituary and service information.


Greg Mason, PGA | Executive Director

Here are some thoughtful quotes from some of the Iowa PGA Past Presidents & Section Leaders

I am forever grateful to Kirk for his support.  He believed in me and provided me the opportunity to start my career with Iowa PGA. He was wise and fun and will be missed.
Tess Goudy, PGA – Assistant Executive Director/Junior Golf Director of the Iowa PGA

Kirk’s numerous contributions to Iowa/Western Illinois Golf as Executive Director for both the Iowa PGA Section and Iowa Golf Association will never be forgotten. Some of Kirk’s biggest accomplishments include the introduction of the GHIN handicap system, Iowa Junior Tour, Drive, Chip, & Putt, Golf Pass, and Las Vegas Pro AM. Kirk treated his employees like family which was apparent by looking at the staff longevity during his time as Executive Director. He was a fabulous mentor as three of his employees went on to serve as Executive Directors in various PGA Sections. Most will remember Kirk for his upbeat personality and sense of humor. Kirk’s presence would always brighten your day.
Troy Christensen – Former Executive Director of the Iowa PGA & Boatwright Scholar IGA

Much like Kirk did with everyone, he immediately became my biggest fan and biggest supporter once he hired me. I was completely inexperienced, young and quick to make a mistake. None of that mattered to Kirk as he mentored me and supported my career growth. As I have said many times Kirk demonstrated to me how to treat people. Every person Kirk interacted with was the most important person in the world at that time. I learned a great deal in my three years with Kirk but how he treated others will be something I’ll carry for the rest of my life.
Geoff Lofstead – current Executive Director/CEO of the South Florida PGA & former Assistant ED/Tournament Director of the Iowa PGA/IGA 

Thank you all for these great messages you are sharing with your respective memberships. Kirk was instrumental in starting me in my career in association management and was an amazing mentor to me as a very young and inexperienced lover of golf trying to figure out how to make s career out of it. My wife and I were married during my three years working for Kirk and he and Kathy were so supportive… They were great friends and role models for s young couple from Ohio beginning life together a long way from home in Iowa. RIP Kirk.
Kevin Helm – current Executive Director/CEO of the Michigan PGA & former Assistant ED/Tournament Director of the Iowa PGA/IGA 

Kirk was a great man and friend.  He strongly believed in the PGA Golf Professional and had a simple common-sense approach and leadership style.  He was instrumental in the growth of the Iowa PGA and was the right man at the right time to lead us. I cherish our time together…..he will be missed!
Larry Gladson, PGATo All,, Kirk Stanzel was a great leader for our Iowa Section PGA.  I would echo all of Greg and Jeff’s comments about Kirk. I always enjoyed working with Kirk during my time serving on the Board of Directors. I always considered him a friend. Sorry to hear the news of his passing. Prayers to his family.
Ross deBuhr, PGA

To all,
Sad to hear of the passing of Captain Kirk Stanzel.  Kirk was a strong leader for our section creating many new programs which our section still benefits from today.  He was always well respected amongst fellow Executive Directors and had a keen since of hiring great people such as Tess, Troy, Kevin and Geoff.  May Kirk rest in peace.
Jeff Smith, PGA 

Kirk was a tremendous leader for our section. He was a great thinker and put his thoughts into action. He was a consensus builder and a great advocate for the PGA professional. I have many fond memories of “Captain Kirk”
Ken Schall, PGA

Kirk was a great leader for us.  We all have great memories or a story of Kirk that puts a smile on your face. He lead us thru a crazy time in our section history and did it with true professionalism.
Prayers to Kirk’s family.
Steve Hutton, PGA

Kirk was a tremendous leader and did so many good things for us PGA pros. Had a moment for everyone anytime. Very saddened to hear this news and my condolences to his entire family at this time. RIP Captain, you will be missed!
Richard, Now former “owner/operator”, Specht, PGA
(Kirk always called me that)

I am so sorry to hear of Kirk’s passing. He was a wonderful executive and truly admired the PGA professional. My fondest memory is of my “professional interview” for becoming the first woman member of the Iowa Section. He was so positive and encouraging…& was a “forward thinker”. Our Section owes him a great deal.
Lisa Miller, PGA Master Professional

Thank you for sharing Greg, so sorry to hear this news. I came into the section in early 2002 and had the opportunity to interact with Kirk for 4 years – he was a wonderful man! My condolences to all who knew him, may we all do as much for the section and golf as he did.
Sarah Bidney, PGA

It is sad to hear of Kirk’s passing, he helped lay the ground work of where we are now.  A great leader and he had tremendous respect of the PGA membership.  I had several interactions with him throughout my years in the golf industry (both with the GCSAA and PGA), and it was always positive. Huge loss to the golf industry.
Wishing the best for his family.

David Roe, PGA