Q&A with Shelby Phillips

Feb. 8, 2012

IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa freshman Shelby Phillips arrived on campus after being the second-ranked player in the state of Arizona. The Gilbert native played 12 rounds in her first collegiate fall, which included an even par round (72) at the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational. Phillips recently met with hawkeyesports.com to talk about to opportunity to return to her home state for two tournaments this spring.

You closed your first collegiate fall with your best performance at the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational. How much did you improve throughout the fall? What’s the biggest thing you learned this fall?
“I learned to stay calm. I went through a big change coming from Arizona. Coach Menzel taught me to stay calm throughout your round, and it’s a three day process. Just keep going with it and try to finish strong.”

What impresses you the most about coach Menzel? What was your first impression when you met her?
“She’s awesome. She’s sweet, kind and I can go to her for anything. I can talk to her if I have problem — just anything — that’s the best part of having her as a coach.”

The team plays in Arizona twice this spring. How excited are you to get to play in your home state?
“I’m so excited. The first one is an hour away from my house, which is OK, but the second one is five minutes from my house. It will be awesome to have that support from home, being in my home area and playing on the courses I grew up on.”

All of your tournaments are away from Iowa City, what do you do to keep yourself entertained during road trips?
“There’s really not much that we had to make up. This team was so entertaining, and we were always so competitive against each other that we kept it interesting.”

What are your goals for the spring season?
“I want to play good golf. I had some good rounds and bad rounds during the fall, so I want to keep it all good and eliminate the bad rounds.”

What’s the biggest difference between high school golf and collegiate golf?
“High school golf isn’t nearly as competitive as collegiate golf. It was great, but it is a total different level of competitiveness.”

What has been the best thing about being a student-athlete at Iowa?
“They respect us so much. They care for us, and look after us with our grades. If we need something they’re always there.”

What is your best golf memory at Iowa?
“I can’t think of exactly one. Being with this team is incredible; we all get along so well. There’s so many personalities. I know that it’s going to be a good time because we get along so well.”

What do you think the next step is for the Iowa program?
“It’s starting to improve. I’m a freshman so I didn’t see it before, but I can see us all improving. I hope that we can get to that next level of top 50, then top 25 and then get up to where we want to be.”

If you could play a round of golf with anyone, who would it be? Why?
“Tiger Woods, no doubt about it. I admire everything about him. I grew up playing golf with his niece. He’s a total different level of golfer. I want to get to that level.”

What is the best golf shot you have ever hit?
“I don’t remember where it was, but it was one of those shots where you had to slice it around a tree and then fade it two inches. It was either you were going to make it or you’re going to make a triple (bogey) because you just did something stupid. I pulled it off, and it was pretty awesome.”

If you could give one golf tip, what would it be?
“I wouldn’t say anything about the swing, I would say the mental game. It’s all mental. Ninety percent of it is and if you believe in yourself then you’ll get far.”

What person has been the most influential on your golf game?
“My dad. My dad is really tough on me with golf, but he does that to keep me going. It was always like, well if you want to go to the golf course that’s awesome, but I’m not going to go over there so you can chat with friends. I’m going to go there so you can play so you can get to where you want to be.”