For nearly three decades, Rosemary “Rosie” Iverson guided thousands of golfers to a better swing.
“She was a natural,” said Jock Olson, who worked with Iverson when he was the head golf professional at Interlachen Country Club in Minneapolis. Over the years, Iverson also taught the sport at Hillcrest Golf Club, Minikahda Club and Rush Creek Golf Club. And for several years, she ran her own golf school — Precision Golf Studio in Minnetonka.
When Minnesota’s courses shut down for the season, Iverson, of Bloomington, headed to warmer climes to teach and play golf.
“She was a summer girl,” longtime friend Zella Berg said. “She hated, hated winter.”
But mostly she loved golf and teaching the game to those who wanted to learn, said Berg, who thought of Iverson like a younger sister.
Iverson, who recovered from colon cancer 21 years ago, died Jan. 28 from health complications. She was 60.
Iverson followed her parents and her older brother onto the green, taking up golf when she was 8 years old.
“None of the rest of the family are good golfers,” said her brother, Jim, of Janesville, Wis. “It was purely recreational.” But his sister “took it to a new level,” spending as many summer days as she could on a nine-hole course in Brodhead, Wis., a small town about 35 miles south of Madison.
“She was athletic, and I think it was a way for a girl to be athletic in those days,” Jim said. There weren’t any girls’ sports teams at Brodhead High School, where she played intramural basketball and softball before graduating in 1972. She was inducted to the Brodhead High School’s Wall of Fame.
“I lettered for four years in two sports — basketball and football — and she’s a far better athlete than I am,” Jim said. “She developed into a far better player in sports than I ever was. She had a God-given ability and she loved it. It was her passion.”
Iverson was a high school junior and Berg was a newly minted teacher when they met. “She had sun-bleached hair and a golden tan,” Berg said. “She was 100 percent Norwegian.”
“Her dad owned the Chevrolet dealership, and I remember seeing her driving around in a turquoise Corvair with a white rag top. I remember the golf clubs in the back and she was always on her way to someplace.”
At the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Iverson played on the women’s golf team and was the first woman to play on the men’s golf team, her family said. “She was a long-ball hitter and good with the irons,” Jim said. “And it all fit together.”
She also played basketball at Eau Claire and was inducted to the university’s Hall of Fame for both basketball and golf.
But Iverson’s real passion in golf was teaching, Jim said. She took pride in helping people improve their game. She was named one of the top 50 golf instructors in the country by Golf for Women magazine and was twice named LPGA’s Midwest Teacher of the Year.
“She taught the fundamentals to help them be better golfers and enjoy it more,” said Penny Zavichas, owner of Craft-Zavichas Golf School, based in Pueblo, Colo. “She was always upbeat and happy.”
And in a game that can lead to frustration, Iverson was a voice of calm, Olson said. She was patient and she was fun in teaching thousands of students not only in Minnesota but also from around the country, he said.
“The students could tell that she cared,” Olson said. “And they had fun.”
Iverson is also survived by her niece, Jodi Curtis, of Beloit, Wis., nephew, Jeff, of Lake Mills, Wis., other family members and many friends.
Services have been held.