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The approach is different between 18-hole days and 36-hole days

BY NICK VITTORE | OCTOBER 14, 2014 5:00 AM

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College men’s golf offers teams the unique opportunity to play two rounds of a tournament in one day. Iowa’s golfers are getting ready to see more of these, having played a 36-hole day at the Windon Memorial, and they have several others scheduled.

The first two tournaments of the fall campaign offer the complete contrast: the Golfweek Conference Challenge was a three-day tournament, consisting of one round each day, and the Windon Memorial was a two-day tournament consisting of two rounds on the first day and 18 holes on the next.

Sophomore Raymond Knoll noted that 36-hole days can sometimes last as long as eight or nine hours, and he stressed that the correct mindset is the key to success.

“You just have to stay focused and stay patient,” he said. “Staying patient is key because you’re going to hit a lot of golf shots, you’re not going to hit them all great. You need to stay positive and keep pushing forward even when things are going bad.”

There’s no questioning the challenges 36-hole days present not just for Iowa but for all teams. Former men’s golf head coach Mark Hankins remembered being a part of them. The weather, which hasn’t been too big of an problem for the Hawkeyes this year, can play a large factor.

Hankins also stressed the importance of nutrition and hydration. In addition, he emphasized maintaining focus.

“You have to prevent yourself from zoning out if you go through a stretch of holes on a long day,” he said. 

To combat this, Hankins said the team does morning workouts throughout the week in addition to stretching to combat late-day fatigue. Because golf is played in the morning, starting the day on the right foot is especially important.

Current Iowa head coach Tyler Stith said two-round days are the ones that separate the best from the rest. He emphasized that the players who remain focused and play one hole at a time are the most successful during long outings. 

“Over the course of 36 holes, it’s likely that at some point you’re going to make a few mistakes,” he said. “But you need to limit mental errors because of fatigue.”

At the Windon Memorial, the top teams and players were able to improve from the second round compared to the first despite the fatigue. Seven of the top-10 players in the tournament equaled or improved their first-round scores in round two. Moreover, five of the top-10 teams in the tournament did the same thing.

The most recent tournament the team competed in, the Rod Myers Invitational, was originally under the same format as the Golfweek Conference Challenge, but inclement weather caused the third round to be canceled.

When the Hawks round out the fall at the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate on Oct. 27 to Oct. 28, they will play under 36 holes the first day and 18 the second.

From nutrition and hydration to focus and fatigue management, Hankins summarized these events best.

“It’s an athletic event for sure,” he said.

Follow @NickVittore on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa men’s golf team.


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