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Iowa freshman golfer focused on mental approach

BY BEN SCHUFF | SEPTEMBER 06, 2011 7:20 AM

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Joseph Winslow is truly a student of golf.

A freshman from Overland Park, Kan., he has read or is reading several books about the sport, including The Golfer’s Mind and Putting Out of Your Mind, both by Bob Rotella. He’s also listened to Jim Fannin’s Life in the Zone to help with his mental approach, as well as old cassette tapes from the 1980s such as The Psychology of Winning.

Winslow, a psychology major, is taking the psychology class “Resiliency and Your College Experience.” The 18-year-old said he hopes to take lessons from the class and apply it to the golf course.

“If you get into a bad situation, [ask yourself], ‘How do you bounce back? How do you move forward? How do you take that next step?’ ” he said. “I’m really into the whole mental side of this game.”

While one of the newest additions to head coach Mark Hankins’ squad talked at length about the strengths and weakness in his game, his teammates had a much simpler description.

“He’s a golf nut,” fellow first-year Hawkeye Steven Ihm said. “You’ll be talking about clubs or something, and he’ll just go off. He knows everything.

“He’s just a golf freak — in a good way.”

Winslow came to Iowa as a highly touted high-school player. He was a three-time individual state champion in 2008, 2009, and 2011, and during his senior year, he was ranked as high as No. 13 in his class and No. 21 in the country by POLO Golf Rankings.

Among numerous awards and distinctions, Winslow was named the 2010 Kansas City Golf Association Junior Player of the Year.

He described this past summer as “one of learning.” Throughout the nine events he played in, a few poor showings resulted in a more focused effort to adjust his mental approach.

“I learned a lot about myself and a lot about my golf game,” he said. “I was putting in the time, but I wasn’t putting in the kind of tournament-style practice I needed to.”

Now, through around two weeks of college practices, Winslow’s new teammates have noticed his attention to the mental side of golf.

“He is definitely eager to learn,” senior Chris Brant said. “He’s very astute in many aspects of the game, which is awesome, because the more you know, the more information is available to you.”

One of three first-year golfers on this year’s team, Winslow said he now feels the game’s mental side is one of his strengths.

Hankins said he, too, believes Winslow’s mental aspect of the game may be ahead of that of a typical freshman’s.

“It doesn’t matter what age you are; it’s how long you’ve been playing golf and how much you’ve learned in those years,” Hankins said. “Someone who is a freshman could actually have more practice time in than a senior.”

While Hankins didn’t predict how much of an effect his freshman golfer could make, Winslow said he expects to be one of Iowa’s five starters at every tournament.

It would seem he’ll have an opportunity to do that, because this is the first time in three years the team held qualifying rounds to determine who will compete this weekend at the first tournament of the year.

“I may be 18 and I may be a freshman, but as far as experiences go, I’ve been at it for a long time now,” Winslow said. “I think my experiences, especially from over the summertime, are going to help me a lot.”


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