“It’s something positive – we’re going to be trying to help as many people as possible,” Ian Johnston said. “It’s great to be part of something where we’re going to be helping people not have to go through some of the same things our family has gone through.”
Johnston’s older brother died on Oct. 4, 2016, about a mile from where Johnston, then a sophomore in high school, was finishing up a district golf tournament the same day.
His mother died on June 29, 2021 at age 46. In this case, one death was connected to the other, Johnston said.
“My mom was a very caring person,” he said. “She was a stay-at-home mom so I saw her every single day and it was awesome. But my brother’s passing definitely traumatized her. It caused her to go down a road that wasn’t so great, unfortunately.”
The Tour begins in Cedar Rapids and goes through Des Moines then to Sioux Falls. From there they will go north to North Dakota before veering west to Montana, Idaho and Washington. They will then go south and cut back through Colorado and Nebraska on their return to Iowa.
The second leg begins in Minnesota – a fishing trip is going to be part of that trip – and then goes east and southeast. The final leg will include the south and parts of the southwest.
“When I’ve explained it to some people they think we’re crazy,” Johnston said. “But we’re doing it for a good cause. I’m very excited about it – I have been excited about it for a couple months now.”
Johnston began raising money for substance abuse agencies while still in high school so the charitable angle is in line with his history. Along the way he’ll be doing all he can to improve his game. It’s a dual-pursuit then with a pair of worthy targets.
Playing golf outside Iowa and South Dakota will be nothing new for Johnston, who estimates he’s been to more than 30 states already. Different conditions, different kinds of golf courses – what’s not to like with this trip?