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Hawk Talk Daily: Random Thoughts
Mark Hankins' Iowa golf program received another boost earlier this month when the Board of Regents approved construction for a new practice facility.

Mark Hankins' Iowa golf program received another boost earlier this month when the Board of Regents approved construction for a new practice facility.

June 27, 2011

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Random thoughts as we cross the midway point of summer...

Hey, Mother Nature! How about a little summer-like weather? Some warm, dry, sunny days would be greatly appreciated by all...particularly those who have been dealt some difficult cards.



We've written before about all the very positive chatter that's going on about Fran's squad - hey, did you notice? Iowa men's basketball is fun again and isn't that great! The arrival of the newest Hawkeyes and the start of the Prime Time League have taken the chatter to another level which, again, is a good thing. Positive conversation about the Hawkeyes - the football team, the women's basketball team, the volleyball team, track and field, field hockey, soccer, tennis or any team that wears the black and gold -- in June and July is always a positive thing.

A tip of the fedora to everyone involved in the inaugural Ladies Football Academy. It was a home run by every measure: The participants had a ball, the coaches and instructors had a ball, and the event generated $150,000 for the Iowa Children's Hospital. Can it get any better than that?

The Board of Regents gave the UI a "go" last month to proceed on the path of constructing a new training space for men's and women's golf programs. It promises to be a great addition: A 3,000-square foot "performance studio" with a swing analysis system, a 1,080-square foot indoor putting surface and two heated hitting bays that open to Finkbine Golf Course's driving range are just some of the amenities. If you're inclined to provide some financial assistance - and the project will be 100 percent funded through private contributions - contact Scott Brown or Diane Thomason at UI Foundation. You can reach them at (800) 648-6973.





A tip of the fedora to everyone involved in the inaugural Ladies Football Academy. It was a home run by every measure: The participants had a ball, the coaches and instructors had a ball, and the event generated $150,000 for the Iowa Children's Hospital. Can it get any better than that?


Speaking of Finkbine, I continue to be amazed at the quality of our championship golf course. I had the pleasure of playing 18 at Wakonda Country Club in Des Moines last Monday as a guest in the Polk County I-Club's annual event. That's one of Iowa's oldest and grandest facilities, and, while the golf courses are markedly different, Wakonda and Finkbine both offer beautiful greens, wonderful fairways, challenging rough and an interesting 18 holes of golf. The difference, of course, is one is a private for-members-only facility and, therefore, likely has less traffic than the other, which is public. Kudos to superintendent Ted Thorn and his crew for a job once again well done.

A quick note about my foursome in Des Moines... I had a great day and that's usually the case in events like these when you have a great group to play with. Mine was four guys who played together often and enjoy themselves when they do. They also were four very competent golfers who routinely hit it about 60 to 80 yards (sometimes more!) further than yours truly off the tee. I contributed a couple nice short strokes to help us post a 59...which was a nice score but several strokes behind the day's winning number.

The staff is about a month away from moving back into our revitalized home - Carver-Hawkeye Arena. That's good news for the more than 150 or so of us who have been operating out of the Paul W. Brechler Press Box at historic Kinnick Stadium and other locations on campus for about seven months and some even longer. It's also good for fans of the Hawkeyes curious about the project: We are close enough to the finish line that we're finally going to be given access for some photography. How 'bout a big "Go Hawks!" for the contractor!

We're about two months away from the start of the college football season. I found myself staring at the Hawkeyes' schedule on Thursday. I was wondering which of the 11 - the game at Nebraska is already off the charts in terms of interest among fans of the Hawkeyes - has the full attention of "Hawkeye Nation." I passed on Iowa State, passed on the visit to Minneapolis, and passed on the season back-to-back games with state of Michigan and landed on the Northwestern game for two reasons: We've got a little "thing" going with the Wildcats these days and it's scheduled for prime time - which means Kinnick will be hopping. Then, of course, I reminded myself to do what I never seem to be able to do: Take 'em one at a time.

Finally, it's camp season on the UI campus which meant I got lucky the other day when I was wandering past Coach McCaffery's space in Brechler and he was having a late lunch. We talked for about 15 minutes about weather, camps, summer vacation plans, and recruiting. I left the chat feeling like I always feel after visiting with Fran: Our men's basketball program is in some very strong, very capable hands.

Go Hawks!