Rain Or Shine, Hawkeyes Manage

May 1, 2007

By Jennifer Bissell

Spring weather in Iowa is unpredictable at best. And this spring has been no exception. While the changing weather patterns can be a problem for anyone, it was especially difficult for members of the Iowa women’s golf team, who rely on outdoor facilities for practices.

Even though the worst of the inclement weather appears to be over, the Hawkeyes had to endure rain, snow, ice and wind throughout the season, often shortening competitions and reducing practice time.

“We’re an outdoor sport, and any time you can’t get on grass it’s a bit challenging. We’ve been as creative as we can be with the indoor facilities that we have had access too. But we are just limited with how we can prepare for our tournaments,” said first year Head Coach Kelly Crawford.

Typically the Hawkeyes use Finkbine Golf Course to practice; however rain and snow left them without a practice facility for much of the spring. Instead the team had to rely on sharing indoor facilities with other sport teams and adjust their practices to their situation.

“When Finkbine is closed, we practice in the Loft of the Field House. We were given access to the Bubble once we returned to campus after the holidays in January. Since Spring Break we have only had access to the Loft and Finkbine when it has been open,” said Crawford.

Even though they were able to practice indoors, that doesn’t mean that they were able to accomplish the same things they would have had they been outside. Practices had to be adjusted to fit their limitations.

“When indoors, we are limited with space, so we just have to get creative with our drills. I feel we have done a pretty good job with that,” said Crawford.

The Hawkeyes tried to make the best out of the cold weather. When possible, they still practiced outside, often wearing many layers and learning how to play through the elements. However, Crawford recognized the challenges of playing through an Iowa spring.

“It’s more challenging mentally. You really have to psych yourself up and just accept that these are the conditions. Much easier said then done,” she said.

Staying positive through the weather changes is something Crawford tried to maintain. The adverse conditions made the season anything but easy, but Crawford believes that’s just a part of the game.

“We can choose to make the fluctuating conditions a disadvantage or we can choose not to. I believe, for our team, we choose not to. Adverse conditions are always challenging. But that is golf. If it isn’t too cold, it’s too hot. If it isn’t too windy, it’s too rainy. I choose to believe it’s ok to prepare in the worst conditions as that will only make us tougher,” she said.

“I choose to believe it’s ok to prepare in the worst conditions as that will only make us tougher.”
Head Coach Kelly Crawford

Practice wasn’t the only part of the game that was affected by wind and rain. A tournament on April 9-10 in Indiana had to be shortened due to weather concerns. However, Crawford didn’t see the team’s scores suffer greatly from the wintry conditions.

“We started the spring season, after a four month layoff, playing really well and almost setting a new school record. In Indiana, where the conditions were the coldest we’ve competed in, we played better then the two previous events,” she said.

The fluctuating weather hasn’t scared off Crawford, who previously coached at the University of California-Irvine. She said her first purchase to prepare for an Iowa winter was a parka. But no matter what Mother Nature has in store, Crawford can handle it.

“I knew what I was getting into prior to arriving in Iowa City,” she said. “I love being a Hawkeye and this weather doesn’t scare me! This hasn’t been difficult at all! This has been the best decision I ever made! Go Hawks!”

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