Judd Gibb had a great thing going in Ankeny with the "Operation State Champ" program.
However, there was always one position that could pull at his heartstrings like no other.
The Fort Dodge Senior High graduate was recently named the new head professional at the Fort Dodge Country Club, effective June 1.
Gibb, who started working at the course when he was 12 years old, will replace Steve Fuller.
"If it wasn't the Fort Dodge Country Club, I wouldn't be doing this," Gibb said. "I couldn't be any more excited.
"There have been other opportunities before, but nothing I looked into too seriously. When I did hear Steve was going to step down, it piqued my interest."
THE GIBB FILE
- 5-time Iowa PGA Player of the Year (2000, '01, '02, '05, '06)
- 2-time Iowa PGA Teacher of the Year (2003, '05)
- 2-time participant in the PGA Tour John Deere Classic (1999, 2010)
- Iowa PGA Match Play champion (2000, '02)
- Iowa PGA Section champion (2009) and Iowa PGA Assistant's champion (1995, '96, '98)
- Ranked No. 1 teacher in Iowa by Golf Digest (2011)
- Was previously an assistant golf coach with Iowa State University
- Worked at the Des Moines Golf and Country Club and Legacy Golf Club
Gibb said he met with several members of the board, and credited his devotion to his work with the youths as one of the reasons why he was hired.
"My first love is teaching the game of golf," he said. "I love to be around the game, see people play well and help them play well.
"We need to grow the game (with younger players). It has to be done from the junior level to get people playing again, and playing in Fort Dodge."
While Gibb did confirm the June 1 start date, he did say people can plan on seeing him around the course prior to that thanks to the start of the IGA Senior Match Play. That tournament begins May 30.
"I think they might be on the flexible side considering the match play tournament," Gibb laughed. "They have a staff out there taking care of everything right now, but I would think they want me to be on site for that event. I'm sure I'll show my face a little bit before (June 1)."
The course will also be hosting the Fort Dodge Amateur June 21-23, an event Gibb referred to as "the premier amateur" tournament in Iowa in his eyes. The annual Fort Dodge city event is slated for July 13-14.
"Those first 30 days, I don't know how much sleep I'm going to be getting," Gibb said. "I've been staring at my ceiling these past few nights wondering what have I got myself into.
"It's going to be a busy first couple of weeks, but what better place to spend your days. The Fort Dodge Country Club is the best office to have."
Gibb has plenty of accomplishments of his own on the links, as he was named the PGA Iowa Section Player of the Year five times and section teacher of the year twice. As a Cyclone, he was a four-year letterwinner and team captain.
For now, Gibb will commute to Fort Dodge, but the plan is to bring his family to town in the near future. That includes his wife, Mary, and their two children - Andrew, who is 12, and Lauren, who is six.
"This just seemed like the right thing to do," he said. "I might be fairly biased, but I think (Fort Dodge) is a great place to raise a family. Anytime I think of Fort Dodge, I think of the Country Club. They go hand-in-hand for me and to come back now, it is just a huge honor."