Erin Strieck has been in the golf business so long that she just considers herself “one of the guys.”
Well, with her latest accomplishment, it's a bit more difficult to not separate her from her male PGA professional counterparts.
This month, Strieck, the head golf professional at Pinnacle Country Club in Milan, set herself apart when she was elected president of the Iowa PGA Section and with that became the first woman to hold that title.
She will also serve as the Iowa PGA Foundation President during her two-year term. Strieck, a 1990 Bettendorf High School and 1994 University of Iowa graduate, earned her Class A status in the PGA of America in December of 2001.
“You've known me a long time; I never really look at it as the first woman to do anything that I've done in my career,” said Strieck, who has held numerous lofty management positions throughout her career, including a long stint at Eagle Ridge in Galena where she was director of golf.
But she admits that the outpouring of support over her appointment has been “very overwhelming.”
“The phone calls, the texts, all of it,” Strieck said. “I'm just me. … I'm just a golf professional who loves to go to work and do what I do.”
Those within the section feel she is a perfect fit for her new responsibilities.
“We are pretty excited about having her as our Iowa PGA President as she has worked hard in her career to get this position,” said Greg Mason, Iowa PGA executive director. “It is well deserved from an award-winning PGA professional, great business person and true leader.”
Strieck credits some strong mentors with pushing her along in the golf business, including John Valliere, head pro at Glynns Creek Golf Course and a past-president of the Iowa PGA Section.
“Once I got into it, I really thought I could make an impact whether or not I was a female,” said the soon-to-be 50-year-old of encouragement she received from her mentors, including Valliere.
While being the first woman to hold the president's position, she is not the first from the Quad-Cities with the honor. Five others preceded her in that seat — Valliere (2015-17), Steve Hutton (2007-09), Bob VanFleet (1985-87), Gary Lockie (1971-72), and Bob Fry (1957-59).
Strieck, who said she was honored to hold the new post, was previously on the board and said she enjoyed being in a position to help the game prosper within the Iowa PGA Section. So she got back in.
“After my two-year term was up, I decided that I wanted to stay involved and support the section and support the members and try to grow the game of golf from a section perspective,” she said. “So I decided to run for secretary of the section. I was fortunate enough to be elected for that and just worked my way up the chairs.”
Strieck said she held two-year terms as secretary and vice president ahead of her recent election as president.
The 2020 winner of the Iowa PGA Section Professional Development Award has set some items on her agenda as president that she hopes will benefit all 275 members within the section.
“For me, it's all about mentorship and cultivating relationships with the associates and the assistants we have within the section; giving them all the tools they need to succeed,” said Strieck, noting this appointment will not detract from her Pinnacle duties. “Golf can sometimes be a very tricky business to navigate as an assistant. When I started this, it's trying to be a mentor and be part of a support system to anyone I can.”