Hawkeye Fan Shop — A Black & Gold Store | 24 Hawkeyes to Watch 2016-17 | Hawk Talk Monthly — May 2017
By BRANDEE BRITT
IOWA CITY, Iowa — When University of Iowa assistant women’s golf coach Mike Roters decided to register for the 2017 U.S. Open Local Qualifier, he knew he would be in need of a quality caddy. He found what he needed in head coach Megan Menzel.
“She caddied for me last year at the U.S. Open Qualifying at the Cedar Rapids Country Club. We did alright, but I’m convinced she struggled with her math and gave me some bad numbers and I didn’t play very well,” Roters joked. “She wanted to redeem herself, so I let her on the bag again.”
The choice paid off for Roters as he carded an even-par 72 at Burlington, Iowa’s, Spirit Hollow Golf Course on May 15. He will move on to sectional qualifying set for June 5 at a location yet to be determined.
“She was there as my biggest cheerleader, she came in and read some putts and she did a good job,” Roters said. “Of course, I kept her out of the math this time, but it was awesome to have her out there. She obviously has a lot of experience.”
“He is an easy person to caddy for, because he’s a strong player,” Menzel said. “It was fun to be out on the course competing together. We are usually in a different roll, so it was fun to go out there with a different perspective.”
Roters began playing golf with his Dad when he was 8-years-old, but the sport always took second to baseball. The Idaho native played collegiate baseball at Mt. Hood Community College (1999-2002) and New Mexico State (2002-03) before becoming a golf professional in 2007. He joined the Canadian Tour in 2009.
“One of the reasons I thought Mike would be a good fit at Iowa was because he is still a good golfer,” Menzel said. “It’s important to remember how difficult the game is, so I challenged Mike to compete. I think it helps bring you closer to the game, and helps you remember what your players are going through.”
With two and a half weeks until his sectional qualifier, Roters remains focused on improving the mental aspect of his game.
“My wife is doing Yoga and Meditation training, and she has been using me as her crash test dummy,” Roters said. “It has been amazing on the golf course. I never believed in that stuff, so it has been eye opening to see it work. It has been a major key in my game.”
While Roters plans to take full advantage of the mental preparation now, it is also an aspect of the game he and Menzel hope to pass along to their student-athletes this fall.
“It’s always helpful when, as a coach, you can try something that you are asking your players to do,” said Menzel. “It’s much easier to talk about your mental game than to go out there and actually execute it. Now, we have confirmation that we are coaching the right thing, because we can see it work. Hopefully that provides a confidence boost for us as coaches and for our student-athletes.”
Roters will compete in the sectional qualifier on June 5. The U.S. Open Championship is set for June 15-18 at Erin Hills in Erin, Wisconsin.