Dec. 17, 2012
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — For most people in the state and across the Midwest, the winter months are the time to put the golf clubs away and pursue other interests. That couldn’t be further from the truth for the University of Iowa men’s golf team, who will be working as hard as ever.
With a quick turnaround into the spring season and competition against schools that can play outdoors all year long, the Hawkeyes can’t afford to lose any ground. So, Iowa head coach Mark Hankins will utilize every resource and facility at their disposal to make the offseason a time for improvement rather than regression.
“There’s a bit of a myth that we have this huge offseason to take time off,” said Hankins. “In reality, only a few weeks into the spring semester we are playing the Big Ten Match Play Championship on the Big Ten Network, so we have to be ready to go. The offseason is a very important period for us to keep at it.”
Iowa’s new indoor/outdoor facility, the James M. Hoak Family Golf Complex, will go a long way toward helping the Hawkeyes stay sharp. The facility includes a 4,200-square foot performance studio, which has a chipping green, two large heated indoor to outdoor hitting bays with V1 and Trackman video technology and room for five hitting stations.
Iowa will also use a variety of other facilities such as the indoor putting green at the UI Field House, the new football facility for full wedge play and chipping, and the indoor-to-outdoor performance studio at Blue Top Ridge. The Hawkeyes will also use the offseason to work out, whether it be golf-specific weight lifting, flexibility training or cardio workouts.
While many recreational golfers look to work their way back in the spring, the Hawkeyes will be looking to not only stay sharp, but even improve during the offseason.
“Here at Iowa, we implement all of these techniques to not only hold our ground, but to gain an advantage that will result in us advancing and playing well through the championship spring season,” said Hankins.
Iowa’s student-athletes will also travel to warmer areas and play tournaments in the offseason individually. Junior Steven Ihm, sophomore Joseph Winslow and freshman Nate Yankovich are slated to compete in the South Beach International Amateur in Miami just before Christmas. Winslow will also compete in the Patriot All-America Invitational in January.
With the plan of implementing indoor workouts at a variety of facilities and traveling to compete in tournaments throughout the south, the Hawkeyes can help narrow the gap between themselves and southern schools that practice outdoors all year long.
“Traditionally, Big Ten schools tend to fall quite a bit in the rankings once we get into spring,” said Hankins. “Hopefully, we’re at the point where our facilities will prevent that drop or make it less dramatic.”
The goal of the offseason work is to stay mentally and physically sharp through the offseason, which will be a vital task. A quick turnaround into the spring season leaves little time to separate from their clubs. Iowa will be competing in tournaments that affect their rankings, which factor into qualifying for the NCAA Regionals, as early as February. The Hawkeyes will compete Feb. 2 in the Black and Gold Alumni Match, and open the season Feb. 8 with the Big Ten Match Play Championships in Bradenton Fla.
“The goal of the offseason work is to stay mentally and physically sharp, and to also have some time to improve technically without the concerns of posting a score every day,” said Hankins.