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Golfers seek strong finish

BY ROD ENGBLOM | MAY 15, 2015 5:00 AM

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With the college golf season near the end, plenty of work is ahead for the Iowa men’s golf team.

Iowa is competing in the NCAA regional, and it finished the spring season strong, placing second as a team at the Big Ten Championships with sophomore Carson Schaake tying for first place.

“They’ve worked really hard over the winter and had a good spring so far, and they’ve all been getting better each and every week,” head coach Tyler Stith said. “I feel really confident with the group that we have, and I think we’re going to have a lot of fun in these last couple of weeks, and it should carry over into the summer as well.”

He hopes that the high quality of golf that the team has been playing the past two months can also transition into the fall season.

But because the college golf season is split in two, with half taking place during the fall and the other half during the spring, college golfers are left with three months during the summer in which they cannot play for the team competitively.

So in order to counter that, the players sign up individually for competitive tournaments that are held at different golf courses throughout the country.

“They all want to play throughout the summer,” Stith said.  “It’s a year-round sport, and all of our guys have aspirations to play golf beyond college. Certainly at that level, they play year-round, and our guys keep working on their development and training.”

The drive to play after college drives them, and the only way to become a higher-level golfer is to constantly practice both on the range and in tournaments.

Summer is also the perfect time for college golfers to hone their games because they don’t have to worry about the day-to-day demands that a full-time college student has to deal with.

“Summertime is when they can work on their golf swings and make new changes that they feel like they need to make to their games, and the tournaments give them the opportunity to go test that in a competitive setting to see how those changes help out,” Stith said. “Competing at a national level against high-level competition will help them out in preparing for the school year, so the competition in the summer is very important.”

Stith sits down with each player to help map out a plan about potential tournaments that the individual player might consider.

He hopes the good vibes from his first season at the helm of the Hawkeyes will transfer to next season with the acquisition of three freshmen, who happen to all hail from Iowa.

“We have three guys from Iowa who are coming here next year,” Stith said. “All three of them are really competitive guys, strong student-athletes, and they’re going to come in right away and expect to play, and they’re going to do whatever they can to get in the lineup, and I’m really excited to have them join our team.

“We have a very talented group, and we’re going to finish off this season very strong and expect another big year next year.”


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