Women's golfer DePalma tries Iowa after Hawaii


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No one could have predicted that Anna DePalma would eventually become a Hawkeye.

After growing up in warm San Clemente, Calif., she decided to pursue golf collegiately at the University of Hawaii. Two years into being a Warrior she knew she needed a change.

“She was unhappy with her current situation on her team,” Iowa women’s golf coach Megan Menzel said. “She was curious about her other options, and Iowa seemed to really interest her.”

After mulling her options, DePalma decided that Iowa, the complete opposite of what had been normal to her, was the right choice.

“I really fell in love with the team and the coaching staff,” she said. “They really opened themselves up and made me feel like a part of the family before I had even committed. It just felt like home.”

She soon realized that Iowa was actually much different from “home.”

“It was actually snowing when she came out to visit,” assistant coach Laura Cilek said. “She didn’t seem to mind the cold, though. So that’s when we knew this could be the right place for her.”

The winter weather of the Midwest may not faze DePalma, but the adjustments that she’ll have to make in her golf game are a whole different story. In California and Hawaii, DePalma was able to work on her swing nearly year-round. In Iowa, that’s not exactly the case. DePalma’s confident, though, that with the help of her team and coaching staff, her transition should be seamless.

“The team has already given me a heads up on what we do when it snows or when the course is closed,” she said. “We have indoor facilities, and they’re building the new indoor facility at Finkbine Golf Course as well.”

The new facility at Finkbine that she referred to is a brand-new, $1.8 million building that will give both the Iowa women’s and men’s teams a place to work on their game during the winter. The building includes performance studios as well as the V-1 Video Swing Analysis System, which will allow players to analyze their swings with digital recordings.

“The weather is obviously an adjustment, but being at Iowa gives us so much opportunity to work on our game regardless of the weather,” DePalma said.

Seeing snow on the golf course isn’t the only adjustment DePalma has had to make in her first semester at Iowa.

“Anytime you come to a new school, you have to meet new people. She’s had to get used to the campus and the golf course,” assistant coach Laura Cilek said. “We’re just trying to help her do that right now.”

DePalma pointed to one teammate in particular who has helped to simplify her adjustment.

“Kristi Cardwell has taken me under her wing. She’s been there to tell me what to expect and what’s expected of me,” DePalma said. “The girls gave her the nickname ‘Mama Hawk,’ and she’s really lived up to that.”

DePalma has not competed for the Hawkeyes in tournament play yet, but she expects to compete when the coaches believe she’s fully adjusted.

“The team has helped push me to the highest competitive level of golf that I can get to,” DePalma said. “If we continue to do that for each other, we’ll be successful in everything we do.”

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