Time off not a factor for Iowa men's golfers

BY KEVIN GLUECK | MARCH 27, 2013 5:00 AM

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Iowa men’s golf head coach Mark Hankins isn’t worried about his team being rusty, despite being out of competition for more than five weeks. In fact, he’s full of confidence.

The Iowa men’s golf team last played on Feb. 16 in the Big Four Championship, in which they took home the title after defeating the three other in-state Division I schools in match play. Despite the long break, the squad has remained sharp.

The Hawkeyes spent their spring break in Scottsdale, Ariz., golfing for seven days straight, culminating in an exhibition match versus South Mountain Community College.

“We played well. We had some guys shoot some good numbers,” Hankins said. “As far as training, it was a great week of perfect weather. We got a lot of golf in.”

Hankins has kept the practice routine the same over the past month, including morning workouts, hitting at the Hoak Family Golf Complex, along with normal chipping and putting routines. In the Grand Canyon State, the squad golfed in the morning, then practiced in the afternoon.

“You wouldn’t know it, but we’ve had as much golf as anybody,” Hankins said.

With snow still on Finkbine, the week out West — outside on real grass instead of synthetic turf for a change — was the most beneficial part of the month.

“We all got a great seven or eight days of practice in,” sophomore Joseph Winslow said. “I think by the end of the week, just about everyone felt as if his game was right where he wants it to be. It was huge for us.”

Freshman Nate Yankovich echoed that.

“It was nice to get out and just play. We can practice all we want here,” he said. “Playing and practice are two totally different things.”

The Hawks will use their week of nonstop golf when they return to action at the U.S. Intercollegiate at Stanford today through Friday.

The upcoming tournament features some of college golf’s best teams — seven top-50 teams are competing, including No. 7 USC and No. 9 Stanford. The stiff competition sets up the Hawkeyes with a hearty challenge in the second half of their spring season.

“I’m excited. My game feels great; I think everyone else is really excited, too,” Winslow said. “Everyone’s playing well. We got a big spring ahead for us.”

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