“Working with the Veterans is my way of showing how grateful I am for their service.” – Carol Nitzschke-Henrich

Iowa PGA Pro and GIVE instructor Carol Nitzschke-Henrich knows that golf is more than just a game. To thousands of Veterans across Iowa, it’s a way to cope with and overcome the everyday battles in their lives.

And if you ask her, it’s a way to thank Veterans for their service—empowering them to make friends, improve their health, and help others do the same. As the daughter and niece of WWII Veterans, Carol’s upbringing instilled in her a strong sense of duty to support and give back to members of our nation’s armed forces. And that’s exactly what she’s been doing with GIVE for the past 15 years.

Now leading GIVE’s golf instruction program at Terrace Hills Golf Course in Altoona, Carol’s dedication and passion have earned her the esteemed 2023 Iowa PGA Patriot Award, a testament to all she’s done for the Hawkeye State’s military heroes both on and off the course.

This is her GIVE story.



Carol Nitzschke-Henrich’s involvement with GIVE started in 2009, the summer after she moved to Des Moines. The prior season, she heard about a new therapeutic golf program for Veterans – which had just started at Riverside Casino & Golf Resort – and how they needed more instructors to keep things moving. Without hesitation, she embraced the opportunity to make a difference.

She spent her Saturdays working alongside Veterans of all backgrounds, never thinking twice about making the 220-mile round trip to and from Riverside, Iowa. Whether they were new to the sport, adapting their gameplay after incurring an injury in the service, or anything else—Carol was there to help guide them.



In 2013, Carol expanded her involvement by helping bring GIVE to the Des Moines area, in collaboration with the Central Iowa VA Medical Center. She played a pivotal role in establishing the Des Moines GIVE chapter at Willow Creek Golf Course and then helped migrate the program to Warrior Run Golf Course shortly thereafter.

The program would remain at Warrior Run until early 2023, when the GIVE community was shaken by the unexpected passing of GIVE PGA Pro instructor Mark Burke and the closure of Warrior Run Golf Course in early 2023.

It was a huge loss for the GIVE community. Without a place to anchor its Central Iowa operations for the ’23 season, dozens of local servicemen and women could end up missing out on the chance to experience transformative camaraderie and support. It would take a committed, courageous leader to get classes back up and running—someone like Carol.



Carol led the charge to transition the GIVE program to Terrace Hills Golf Course in Altoona, Iowa just in time for the 2023 season. She seamlessly assumed the role of managing and running classes, setting GIVE up for years of growth throughout the Central Iowa region. Her dedication extended beyond instructional duties as she orchestrated the relocation of equipment and resources, ensuring the program’s continuity and growth.

When asked about Carol’s reception of the Iowa PGA Patriot Award, Linda Burke – wife of the late Mark Burke – described how Carol stepped up to keep Mark’s legacy alive.

“When the GIVE Central Iowa Chapter had to move to a new location this year, she organized volunteers to assist in relocating the large inventory of golf equipment and merchandise that had been donated to the Veterans through this program,” she said.

“She is a true patriot and deserves the recognition of this award for not only her dedication in assuring that the Central Iowa Chapter continued to grow and flourish, but also for her previous years of service to Veterans.”



Indeed, Carol’s history of helping Veterans extends beyond GIVE.

Toward the beginning of her involvement with the GIVE community, she served as a Teaching Professional at the National TEE Tournament in the greater Iowa City area. Alongside two other female instructors, Carol spent her days on the driving range, offering continuous support to blind and eligible disabled Veterans as they honed their skills. Whether completing a round or simply passing by, the Veterans knew they could rely on Carol and her team for guidance.

In recent years, Carol has also been working with a group of visually impaired Veterans, organizing several small 9-hole tournaments and play days throughout the summer. Following their golfing sessions, they gather for lunch and socialize with friends, fostering a much-needed sense of camaraderie and enjoyment.



No matter where she’s at or who she’s with, Carol says her work is always rewarding. “It’s great to see the excitement and enthusiasm they show when they hit a good shot. It’s even better when they hit a couple of good shots in a row,” she said. “They know they can do it and the good shots start to happen more often. They are very thankful for this great program and I’m thankful that I can help them.”

To say that Veterans are grateful for Carol’s support would be an understatement. She’s helped change thousands of lives through her work, with golf representing just one of the ways she makes a difference.

U.S. Navy Veteran Mickey Dawson said the deep appreciation and reverence Carol has for military servicewomen and men are just as impactful as the expert instruction she provides.

“Many of us Veterans who are old enough, have lived through some years when we wore a uniform during an unpopular war. Many of the general public treated us as if WE were the enemy,” he said. “It is a wonderful feeling to be treated just the opposite from that, and that’s exactly how Carol treats each and every one of us.”

In Carol Nitzschke-Henrich, Iowa’s Veterans have found not only a dedicated instructor but a true friend and advocate. Her tireless efforts and unwavering commitment serve as a powerful reminder of the profound impact one person can have in the lives of others—hundreds of others.



When it comes to supporting our Veterans here in Iowa, there’s always more work to be done. We need your help to advance our mission of providing our Veterans with the empowerment, camaraderie, and accessibility they deserve.

Explore our website and follow us on social media to learn more about the GIVE community and how you can support our mission.

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