Iowa Alumni Magazine | October 2006 | People

Local Talent: The UI Men's Golf Team

By Shelbi Thomas

Homegrown. Authentic. 100 percent Hawkeye. These words describe the men's golf team, which boasts a complete roster of players drawn from Iowa.

Unusual in Division-I sports, the team's makeup reflects head coach Terry Anderson's philosophy of recruiting Iowa players first. Anderson estimates that, in his 12 years of coaching, 90 percent of his players came from Iowa. The last three years, it's been 100 percent, with this season's players hailing from Iowa City, Coralville, Waterloo, Fort Dodge, Keokuk, Cedar Rapids, and Marion.

Golf Team Photo: Adpro Design

Anderson, who played college golf at Iowa State, appreciates in-state recruits' built-in loyalty for the university. Take senior Bennet Hammerberg. He's been to every Iowa home football game since the day he was born. "It feels good to wear the black and gold," he says. "It would be impossible for me to play anywhere else."

An Iowa native makes an easier transition to college and has less chance of dropping out because of homesickness. Most of the players knew each other in high school from junior golf tournaments, and they're also adjusted to the need to take a break from golf during winter.

The team's 11th place finish in the Big Ten Championships last season might raise questions about whether Anderson can recruit effectively from such a limited field. The coach points out that the tournament result didn't reflect his team's strong performance all year.

Perhaps the team shouldn't be judged on its score card, anyway. Loyalty and pride aren't easily measured. Anderson says that his all-Iowa teams help him build closer relationships with his players, many of whom still visit their alma mater.

"After they leave here, they think of how special their time was on the golf course at Iowa," says Anderson. "That makes this program a success."