Busy recruit visits for women’s golf

BY J.T. BUGOS | OCTOBER 02, 2009 7:20 AM

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For the Iowa women’s golf team, a recruit’s official visit is just 48 hours. In that small time frame, prospective student-athletes must see the Hawkeyes’ golf facilities, academic facilities, spend time with the team, and usually attend a sporting event.

Athletes who come in for official visits are ones whom Iowa is highly interested in, so the idea is to both impress them and inform them.

Part of impressing a recruit comes in the form of football games.

The women get to walk down Melrose Avenue and see all the crowds and sights, including tailgates, of course.

Before kickoff, the recruits get a tour of the Kinnick Stadium press box, which head coach Kelly Crawford said is an amazing facility that makes an impression.

After that, the athletes get to join more than 70,000 fans cheering on the Hawkeyes.

“When you walk into the stadium, and you’re there before the football team comes out of the tunnel, and AC/DC’s ‘Back in Black’ starts playing, and the guys are walking out in the black jerseys, and the stands are completely filled with black and gold, it’s a pretty overwhelming experience,” Crawford said. “So that’s something we definitely want the prospective student-athletes to experience.”

After the football game, recruits go downtown for dinner with their family and the Hawkeye coaches. This can allow some time to answer questions.

Assistant coach John Owens noted that the trip is not confined to campus, it also includes parts of Iowa City that students experience daily. The trip downtown for dinner allows recruits the chance to see what the town can offer.

For the information part of the visit, recruits visit Finkbine Golf Course, where they can see the facilities available.

“Our golf course is a must-see,” Crawford said. “To have our own facility on campus is huge. It’s a great golf course and so close to campus.”

Recruits also see the Gerdin Athletics Learning Center, which is available to athletes.

Crawford is a fan of the campus tours. It is important, she said, for prospective student-athletes to walk on campus because of how neat the experience is for a high-school student.

Owens is a big supporter of getting the athletes to the learning center.

“We’re not allowed to do golf-related things or test them in the gym,” he said. “But the learning center is a really big one to see, just because it’s one of the top in the nation, and the parents love to see that as well.”

During the 48-hour visit, Crawford said, she is able to figure out what is important to the recruits and what their needs are. Every person is different, and Crawford understands committing is a big decision.

Many times on visits, officials will make offers to recruits, but neither Crawford nor Owens expects immediate answers.

Ultimately, the point of an official visit is to get recruits on campus and experience what it feels like to be a Hawkeye, along with what it would be like to attend school at Iowa.

“I think once the kids see all that we have and the facilities both athletically and academically, there’s not much more we can say that’s going to convince them,” Owens said. “At that point, it’s up to them.”

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