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Lightning delays and heat do not faze the Hawkeyes

BY NICK VITTORE | OCTOBER 28, 2014 5:00 AM

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It was a late Saturday night in mid-October. The Iowa men’s golf team had traveled nearly 1,000 miles to play 36 holes on the first day of the Rod Myers Invitational in Durham, North Carolina, followed by 18 to conclude play Sunday. After sticking out a delay, officials decided to eliminate a round from the tournament because of extensive lightning in the area.

Previously, the team had endured rain and 20 mph wind at the Windon Memorial Classic in Evanston, Illinois.

Weather delays change the dynamic in golf, and more so than other sports, can suspend play for a long time.

It’s not just the rain and wind that golfers have to battle through but also the heat and humidity. For each of the two scheduled days of the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate, the temperature in Dallas has reached highs just shy of 90 degrees.

When weather plays a factor in the tournaments, it affects everyone.

“When delays occur, you can compete in 15 minutes or two hours,” Iowa head coach Tyler Stith said. “It is important that you still think about what you're doing and not get too tight in the muscles.”

How does this affect the Hawkeyes?

Senior golfer Brian Bullington believes it’s about how a player perceives weather delays, in a positive or negative manner.

“You can either view it as a negative or you can accept that it is happening and just use it as momentum to push yourself and score even better afterwards,” he said.

Bullington said his head coach has done a great job to motivate the team to fight on during weather delays.

“We’ve had two weather delays, one in which there wasn’t a drop of rain, and everyone was pretty frustrated, but he said, ‘Listen, a lot of the teams down here are going to be frustrated, so let’s be the team that is motivated to return to play,’ ” Bullington said. “So I think it’s a perspective thing and just controlling what you can control.

“We can’t control the weather but just controlling our attitudes.”

The golf team is fortunate not to have been affected by too many delays last season, but it still had to play through tough conditions, especially in the spring. Last season, the Hawkeye Great River Entertainment Invitational, Iowa’s only home event, concluded with a rainy day. The first round of regionals was delayed because rain.

The Hawkeyes can expect Mother Nature to interfere with golf next spring. In addition, they can expect the heat to be in full force in spring events in Florida, Georgia, and Arizona. But they also expect that their golf games will improve, no matter the circumstance.    

But with the rainy days and poor weather comes experience, something freshman Jack Holmgren can use once spring rolls around.

“You just have to be patient and be ready to get out there at any moment,” he said.

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


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