Iowa women's golf team sits out of Hawkeye Alumni Challenge


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The fifth-annual Hawkeye Alumni Challenge was meant to be an event for both the Iowa men’s and women’s golf teams. As it turned out, only the men’s team played in the event.

“We would have liked to play, but we only had one group of people show up,” sophomore women’s golfer Lauren English said.

The Alumni Challenge is intended to unite past and present Hawkeye golfers. It also gives former Hawkeye teammates a chance to reunite and meet alumni from different generations of Iowa golfers. The format for the event is a four-alumni scramble in which each alumni group is paired with a current Iowa golfer or coach.

Each group then plays a round of golf at Finkbine Golf Course and competes for several different prizes, including the Alumni Challenge title. The teams invited former Hawkeye golfers from all over country to participate. Afterwards, an awards social was held at the University Athletics Club.

“The Alumni Challenge will give former members of the Hawkeye golf team a chance to meet current players, coaches, and administrators,” men’s head coach Mark Hankins said in a release prior to the event.

“The event will be held in conjunction with the Women’s Alumni Challenge.”

On a day that was nearly cut short because of inclement weather, the men’s team saw approximately 50 former Hawkeyes show up to partake in the event; the women’s team had only four alumnae in attendance. Because of that, the women decided to hold a practice and chose not to participate in the event.

Women’s head coach Megan Menzel, who spoke prior to the event, speculated that the Alumni Challenge would be geared more toward the men’s team.

“The men have been doing it for a few years, but we’ve been trying to get the women involved as well,” she said. “It’s a little slower getting it going on our end, though.”

Prior to the scheduled shotgun start at 2:30 p.m., members of the men’s team gathered around one another and their approximately 50 alumni members for a photo opportunity. While the men jovially posed behind a banner indicating their participation in the Alumni Challenge, the women’s team was practicing putting at an adjacent green.

Shortly thereafter, the men piled into their golf carts and sped off to their appropriate starting tees. The women continued to work on their short game.

The substantial difference between the two team’s turnouts may have been expected, but that didn’t stop the confusion that ensued among the women golfers. Some players, including sophomore English, were puzzled by the day’s events.

“We thought it was kind of odd,” she said. “We thought it was weird and expected more people to be involved. I was expecting to play but it just didn’t work out that way.”

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