AMES — Iowa State men’s golfer Frank Lindwall went home to Cedar Rapids after the NCAA Regionals.
He played a round of golf with Iowa Golf Hall of Famer Larry Gladson. Gladson was Lindwall’s mentor growing up, but during this round of golf, there was no mentoring, no teaching, no advice. It was just a round of golf.
“We just played,” Gladson said. “We just went out and enjoyed ourselves. We visited about the game a little bit. But as far as advice, he’s in a very good place with his game, with his swing, with his mind. There wasn’t any advice given other than, ‘Go get ‘em.’”
Iowa State and Lindwall travel to Stillwater, Okla., to compete in the NCAA Golf Championships Friday through Wednesday.
Gladson was also Zach Johnson’s mentor growing up. Lindwall said the biggest thing Gladson taught him and Johnson was to be themselves. It’s a cliché, but it was real and it worked for Lindwall.
“That’s probably the reason Zach’s been so successful,” Lindwall said. “That’s one thing that Larry has tried to teach me to do, is just be myself.”
What does Gladson mean by “be yourself?”
“Don’t go out to impress others, just go out and be yourself,” Gladson said. “Be the person you are and don’t play for other people’s expectations. You’re out there to play for yourself, and the challenge is the golf course, it’s not the competitor that you play with. You’re out there to try and beat the golf course.”
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Trying to just beat the golf course will be important for Lindwall, a freshman. Iowa State went to the NCAA Championships last season as well, and teammates have told him that it’s different because there is a lot more commotion and TV cameras.
Lindwall just needs to be himself.
The Cyclones completed one of the most improbable turnarounds of the season. They were No. 88 in the nation in February, not even sure if they would make the NCAA Regionals.
“We were kind of struggling as a team. I don’t want to say we were lost, but we weren’t really super structured,” Lindwall said. “We found these common values in hard work and discipline and making sure we can do the things we can control really well. We’ve been doing that really, really well for the last two months and it’s led to some good play.”
Not only did Iowa State make the NCAA Regionals, it beat out teams like No. 6 LSU to reach the NCAA Championships. It’s Iowa State’s third appearance in the 30-team field since 2014.
Lindwall is excited about the experience.
“Team-wise, it’s been a roller coaster,” Lindwall said. “We didn’t get off to a very good start. We’ve come a long way and it’s been fun to share that with my coaches and teammates. Now, to have an opportunity to compete in the NCAA Championships is pretty awesome.
“Two of the sophomores on the team, they went as freshmen, and I remember watching them and thinking how cool it would be to go next year,” Lindwall said. “To have that opportunity to compete against the best 30 teams in the country is a privilege.”
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