Q&A with Chelsea Harris

Dec. 30, 2011

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa women’s golf team was led by its lone senior, Chelsea Harris, during the fall season. The Normal, Ill., native paced the Hawkeyes with a 77.1 per round average. Her best performance came in Iowa’s fall finale, as she posted a season-low 228 (76-77-75, +15) at the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational. Harris enters her final spring as a Hawkeye with one goal in mind, a regional berth.

What are your goals during your final spring season as a Hawkeye?
“I want to go to Regionals and am going to do everything in my power to make that happen.”

As the team’s only senior, what kind of impression do you want to leave on the program?
“I would love for people to just look back and say `Wow, she was a good teammate, reliable, a good player, hard worker.’ I just overall want people to think that I was a good teammate to everyone. If I could leave with some impressive rounds in the spring that would be awesome.”

What impresses you the most about Coach Menzel? What was your first impression when you met her?
“She’s so personable. Everywhere we go she’s friendly, making friends. She’s really approachable and easy to talk to. When I first met her I knew it was going to be a good season just because she was so positive. She can turn anything into a positive situation.”

What do you think the next step is for the Iowa program?
“I think we’re heading in a great direction. I’m sad that I’m leaving when we’re making such big strides. I think we’re going to be contenders for Big Tens starting this year and especially in the next few years. We’ve got good recruits coming in and I’m really sad I’m not going to be a part of that.”

You led the team in scoring average during the fall, what was the key to your success?
“Just practice and trying to keep a level head. Things can go really good and you can get excited and anxious but you have to stay calm and focused. The same way when you’re playing bad. It’s just finding that place where you can just be calm and keep your nerves quiet. And just working hard.”

If you could give one golf tip, what would it be?
“I wish growing up I knew how mental the game was. I would have focused a lot more on my mental game. Just being confident, under control and controlling my thoughts. For competitive golfers, that’s the one thing that I would suggest.”

What has been the best thing about being a student-athlete at Iowa?
“All the opportunities that we get. Being coached under some good coaches and having great teammates.”

The team gets to travel to Texas, Arizona and Hawaii this spring. How excited are you to get the opportunity to travel?
“Another good thing about being an athlete at Iowa is that we get chances to travel to places that I probably wouldn’t go if I wasn’t an athlete here. I’m most excited about Hawaii. My uncle lived there for a few years and he just said it was awesome. It’s going to be good to get away from Iowa and then also get opportunities to play some of the best courses in the country.”

All of your tournaments are away from Iowa City, what do you do to keep yourself entertained during road trips?
“Listen to my iPod a lot. I finally got an iPhone so that’s going to help a lot. We like to pick songs, make good playlists and act like idiots when we’re listening to our music on the airplane.”

What is your best golf memory at Iowa?
“Hopefully I haven’t made it yet because I would like to look back and have my best memory be competing at Regionals. But, probably when I had a really good tournament at Onion Creek my sophomore year. I shot 69, that was fun. Or when I shot 70 at Wisconsin in really bad weather my junior year. My best memory is when I can walk off the golf course and feel like I did something great.”

What is the best golf shot you have ever hit?
“No. 13 at Purdue my freshman year of Big Tens. The wind was howling, there’s water on the hole. It’s a par three, it’s like 155 yards and the wind was switching and going crazy so I just grabbed eight iron and walked up. It was actually on TV. It was an inch and a half away from going in the hole so that was an awesome shot.”

If you could play a round of golf with anyone, who would it be? Why?
“It would probably be Annika Sorenstam because I grew up watching her and she’s obviously one on the best players to ever play the game.”

What person has been the most influential on your golf game?
“It’s a tie between my family and my swing coach. My dad always pushed me from when I was eight years old and I decided I wanted to do this to even now. He’s taking care of the LPGA Futures Tour stuff for me and getting that rolling. He’s kind of been my support, but my swing coach, John Platt, has always just been real with me and just says I’m a good player and just need to believe it for myself. He’s made swing what it is today.”

What do you do in your spare time off the golf course?
“Mostly study. In the summer I love just hanging out with my friends and having fun.”