The future of Iowa Golf Has Never Been Bighter

Fifth-year men’s head coach Mark Hankins has guided the program to unprecedented heights. The Hawkeyes have made three NCAA appearances in his four seasons, which includes a program-best 10th place showing at the 2011 NCAA Championships.

First year women’s head coach Megan Menzler is ready to do the same, as she has led the Iowa women’s team to an impressive start to the 2011 fall season.

Another major announcement has added to the excitement surrounding Hawkeye golf. 

In an effort to help both programs reach new heights, the Hawkeyes recently began fundraising efforts to construct a new varsity golf training complex located off No. 6 fairway and the driving range of Finkbine Golf Course. 

“Like Hawkeye fans, I expect our student-athletes to compete for championships each year,” said Menzel, a Cedar Rapids native. “The Varsity Golf Complex will allow our student-athletes to work on their game year round with the help of the latest technology. It will also allow us to recruit nationally ranked players--keeping us competitive within the Big Ten Conference and across the nation. The Varsity Golf Complex will be a much needed addition to our nationally ranked golf course and university.”

A year-round commitment, both in the classroom and on the field of play, is required to provide Hawkeye student-athletes the opportunity to train to be the best. As one of the finest golf venues in the state, Finkbine Golf Course serves as an excellent training ground for the Iowa men’s and women’s golf teams. However, for up to five months per year, Finkbine may be unusable.

Currently the “Bubble” and the UI Field House serve as training space for the Iowa golf teams during the winter months. The two do not compare to the new golf complex when it comes to giving Hawkeye student-athletes and coaches the chance to compete for individual and team championships in the Big Ten Conference and nationally. Accordingly, the UI has begun an effort to raise the funds necessary for the Iowa Varsity Golf Complex—a new training facility, dedicated solely for Hawkeye golf.

The new state-of-the-art facility, which will overlook Finkbine’s sixth hole, will feature:

• A 3,150 square foot putting green that can be modified much like a natural grass green, effectively recreating an outdoor putting surface.

• A 1,200 square foot performance studio featuring the V-1 Video Swing Analysis System, allowing players to digitally record, analyze, and compare their swings to professionals to learn from the best in the world.

• Two heated hitting bays open to the driving range enabling up to five student-athletes to work on full swing mechanics throughout the entire year.

• Men’s and women’s locker rooms, coaches’ offices and a team lounge which will display the history of Iowa golf.

“With support from friends and alumni, the Varsity Golf Complex will allow Hawkeye golf to realize its true potential,” said Hankins.  “A state-of-the-art video swing analysis system, indoor practice green and indoor-to-outdoor hitting bays, will make the performance studio one of the finest practice facilities in the country.

“In addition to attracting top recruits, this facility creates a home where our current Hawkeye student-athletes can improve in any weather and compete with the nation’s best year around.”

Private support is crucial to the overall success of all UI athletics programs. The estimated total cost of the Iowa Varsity Golf Complex is $1.8 million and is being paid for entirely with UI Department of Intercollegiate Athletics revenues.

An investment now, in Hawkeye student-athletes and coaches, will provide the University of Iowa campus with a facility that will rival the finest in the Big Ten Conference and across the nation. It will give UI student-athletes the competitive edge they need and deserve.

Read more on the Iowa Varsity Golf Complex and other facility campaigns.

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