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Hawkeye parents often travel cross-country to watch sons golf

BY BEN WOLFSON | APRIL 27, 2011 7:20 AM

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When the five starters on the Iowa men's golf team compete, they are usually followed by a small circle of fans — their parents.

Many of the starters' parents travel across the Midwest and the country to watch their sons compete at the highest level of amateur golf.

Senior Vince India's father, Dan India, has played a prominent role in his son's journey through golf, starting from when he introduced the game to his son in seventh grade.

"Over the years, Vince and I really had a great camaraderie back and forth on the golf course," Dan India said. "I didn't force golf on him, I just asked him one day in seventh grade if he wanted to come and learn the game."

Dan India, who works for Qualisys North America Inc., has only missed three of Vince's college tournaments in four years. Because his job deals with the study of the body's motion, he will videotape his son and talk with him about adjustments to his game.

"[My dad] usually travels anyway and does demonstrations [for his job], and he's a big help to me," Vince India said.

After his son finished fourth at last weekend's tournament at Ohio State, Dan India was able to go over video of him putting on the course and offer advice.

Vince India described his father as somewhat of a "manager," and said Dan India will often help him plan out what amateur tournaments he plays in and then will go along to make hotel and flight arrangements so the golfer can focus on playing.

Dan India also caddies for Vince in the summer and manned the bag for his son in the Western Amateur, Illinois State Amateur, and the U.S. Amateur.

"He's a familiar face out there; it's good to see him at every tournament because it's when my mom gets out there that it gets weird, because she gets more nervous than I do," Vince India said and laughed.

Fellow senior Brad Hopfinger is also accustomed to seeing his father in the crowd when he's competing for the ninth-ranked Hawkeyes.

His father, Frank Hopfinger, travels to the majority of his tournaments and follows him during competition.

"With his job, he has to travel a bunch, so he has customers all over the country," Brad Hopfinger said. "A lot of times [my dad] will manage to sneak in work and come out to watch the tournament. He doesn't do any coaching — he's there for support and to have fun watching."

Said Hopfinger's father, "It's been really exciting and a great opportunity to see how the program has grown as well as seeing how the team members can pick each other up after a bad day."

Parents are often their children's biggest fans, and head coach Mark Hankins said it's common for many parents to travel and watch the team compete.

"Our parents travel fairly well; they're all Midwestern kids, so it's accessible in the spring because we have five events that parents can drive to," Hankins said.

As the Hawkeyes travel to West Lafayette, Ind., to compete in the Big Ten championships on Friday, the golfers' parents are sure to be in attendance, ready to offer advice but mainly to support their sons.

"Every parent wants their kid to win," Dan India said. "[Vince] might finish second or fourth, but what's most rewarding for me is when he goes out, does his best, and walks off the course as a gentleman."


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