The daily-fee Finkbine golf course at the University of Iowa takes its name from the man who donated the land to the university. Robert Bruce Harris (a prolific Midwest designer after the Second World War) originally laid out the course in 1953, which was later remodelled by Harris’s assistant, Dick Nugent.
Host to numerous NCAA tournaments and Iowa State amateur events down the years, Finkbine remains a stern test when set up in its tournament livery, especially when played from the tips.
Located on the western edge of campus, the 7,200-yard layout plays over rolling terrain, from where numerous uneven lies add greatly to the challenge. Recently the opening hole and the 10th have been swapped, so the introduction to Finkbine is anything other than a gentle handshake. This 488-yard brute is a tough driving hole to open with a fairway canting severely left to right, leaving a long approach to a back-to-front sloping green.
Finkbine’s signature 13th hole features not one but two island greens. On this hole the length can be varied from 235 yards from the back tees to the right green, down to 89 yards from the front tees to the left green.
Troon Golf was selected to manage the facility in February 2020 to arrest a loss of nearly $300,000 in 2018. A new 19,000 square-foot clubhouse was unveiled in spring 2020 with plans afoot to redevelop 44 acres of land adjacent to the golf course, where a hotel, retail outlets and even residential housing may appear in the future.