Owned and operated by Iowa State University, the Veenker Memorial Golf Course is a Perry Maxwell design dating back to the late 1930s, when it was constructed by the Works Progress Administration under the American New Deal agency which provided work for young unemployed men.
Author Christopher Clouser chronicles the course development in his book, The Midwest Associate: The Life and Work of Perry Duke Maxwell, from which this edited extract is taken:
“After selection of the North Woods as the location was finalized, the college hired Perry Maxwell to come in and design the course. After the final costs were calculated the college would end up paying approximately $30,000 according to the early estimates, due to the significant funding from the WPA.
The largest part of the early work involved cutting and removing trees, moving hills, filling holes, making ditches and piling dirt for fairways and greens. R.R. Rothacker and J. David Armstrong were two of the landscape architecture professors at the university and they were overseeing the largest portion of the construction.
The college nurseries contributed numerous trees and the grass that was seeded on the course, colonial bent. Opening of the course was delayed until the arrival of irrigation pipes and the moving of manpower to other projects. A final reseeding was needed due to drainage issues and the course opened in the summer of 1938.
In 1972, the City of Ames underwent a street expansion project that directly affected the Veenker course. 13th street was to go directly through the course and this would eliminate three holes from the original design. A second redesign occurred in 1982. With this work four more holes were eliminated or altered significantly. Today, just over half of Perry Maxwell’s course remains.”