By: BRANDEE BRITT
IOWA CITY, Iowa — If you get a chance to see the University of Iowa women’s golf team in action this spring, you might notice head coach Megan Menzel and assistant coach Mike Roters have a different way of congratulating their players for shooting under par.
For every birdie the Hawkeyes card, Menzel and Roters do five burpees — a strength training exercise that requires the following steps: dropping into the squat position with your hands on the ground, lowering your body so that it touches the ground, immediately returning your feet to the squat position, and then jumping in the air.
“As soon as they make a birdie, we hit the ground and start doing burpees,” said Menzel. “For some reason our team just got a kick out of it, and it has been good motivation.”
Roters originally sparked the idea on Iowa’s training trip to Arizona earlier this year. 180 burpees later, the concept stuck.
“Mike really brought the energy, and enthusiasm for it during our training trips,” said Menzel. “It just gets the team excited. On the first day we had to do 180 burpees. We were pretty tired, but it was fun.”
Now, three meets into the spring season, and the entire team is responding.
“At first I didn’t think much of it, because it was obviously just a way to motivate us to make more birdies,” said junior Jessica Ip. “After playing these past two tournaments, it makes a difference in a way that I didn’t expect. We all like to be rewarded, and seeing our coaches be ‘punished’ for something is, well, kind of like payback for waking up at 6 or 6:30 a.m. five days a week. It’s more satisfying when they complain about how sore they are the next day.
“There’s a sense of bliss when I turn back and see my coach doing burpees in the fairway or on the tee box.”
The unique reward has caused some interesting looks from opposing teams on the course, but doing the burpees in real time has been beneficial to every Hawkeye competing.
“It is funny seeing how other teams react when they are doing burpees,” said senior Jessie Sindlinger. “Everyone thinks they are crazy. When I see them doing burpees, I know we are making birdies as a team and that motivates me. It’s different, because no one else is doing anything like this for their teams.”
While the “Burpees for Birdies” craze started as a team bonding experience, Menzel would like to see if grow throughout Hawkeye nation.
“We don’t have a lot of people that get to come out and watch us play all the time,” said Menzel. “I’d love for people to follow along and then post some photos and videos of them doing their burpees for the Hawkeyes. That will remind our team that they are a part of something bigger in the Hawkeye community.”