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Iowa women's golf marches to own beat

BY TORK MASON | OCTOBER 04, 2011 7:20 AM

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Golf is a sport often called an individual's game — a sport without teamwork in the most common sense of the word.

That sort of individualism is apparent in a typical day of practice for the Iowa women's golf team.

"Everybody's a little different," head coach Megan Menzel said.

Each player spends most of her time working on the aspects of her game she feels need the most work. Some players spend their days on the practice greens going through a variety of chipping and putting drills, and others take time to hit the driving range and work on full-swing shots.

The team will occasionally participate in organized drills, but it's largely an individual process.

And how each player approaches the day is just as variable as what she works on in practice.

Freshman Shelby Phillips, for example, can often be seen by herself listening to her iPod as she works on her game, seemingly in her own world. Once the earbuds come out, though, she appears willing to talk about anything and everything.

A conversation between Phillips and Menzel turned to Phillips' trademark high-cut socks.

"When I was at the tournament in New Mexico, [the other players] were all like: 'You're still wearing the socks?' 'Yes I am,' " Phillips said to a laughing Menzel.

"I love the socks," Menzel said.

Junior Gigi DiGrazia and freshman Lauren English seem to be the jokers on the team. At the driving range, they could be heard cracking wise with nearly anyone who came near them.

Menzel said DiGrazia in particular is a player that likes to liven things up. She and Menzel talked briefly about the flu shots each player received before going to New Mexico, and several players said their shoulders were aching from the vaccine.

After a few swings, Menzel asked DiGrazia, "How's [your swing] feel?"

"My flu shot? It still hurts," DiGrazia said, laughing.

A man walking toward a set of Porta-Potties placed on the course for football tailgating provided the players with another way of entertaining themselves while on the driving range.

Senior Chelsea Harris looked at junior Woojay Choi with a grin, and asked, "Should I?"

After the man was safely inside, Harris lined herself up and started lobbing shots at the Porta-Potty.

"This is how we have fun," Choi said.

"We're probably the only team in the Big Ten that takes target practice at Porta-Potties," Menzel said.

But this was just one day of practice for the team; what they do tomorrow may be wildly different.

As each player said, the daily routine "depends on the day."


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