Weather limits practices, tryouts as Gophers’ season enters new phase

Coach John Carlson said his team wasn’t able to complete practice rounds this week because of rain and snow.

Nickalas Tabbert

John Carlson is ready for sunshine.

The Gophers men’s golf coach said Minnesota’s winter weather has impaired his team’s ability to practice this spring.

The problem is especially challenging for golf, a sport that requires suitable conditions on the greens and fairways of the Les Bolstad Golf Course.

“I shouldn’t say ‘terrible,’ but it’s pretty tough,” Carlson said of the conditions. “When there’s no golf courses open in the state, it’s pretty tough for us to [practice].”

The team tried to hold qualifying rounds Monday and Tuesday to determine which golfers would compete in this weekend’s Hawkeye Invitational in Iowa. But rain shortened the head-to-head competition to a single 18-hole round.

The recent weather is part of a six-day stretch of precipitation in the Twin Cities. After a short winter in 2012, the first day of spring this year in Minneapolis was the coldest since 1965.

The forecast looks a little better this weekend in Iowa City, Iowa, but Carlson said he expects frost to delay the tournament at some point.

The weather on the road has been more cooperative for Minnesota this spring. Only the final round of the Linger Longer Invitational in Georgia was canceled.

In its last road trip two weeks ago, Minnesota carded its best tournament score in three years at the U.S. Intercollegiate in Palo Alto, Calif.

Since returning home, the weather has kept Minnesota off of the golf course, which doesn’t work well with Carlson’s style of coaching.

“I like to have my guys play in practice as much as possible,” Carlson said. “I think it keeps a lot of the rhythm going.”

Carlson said the practice area at Les Bolstad should open next Monday. The course’s website said the driving range should open this Friday.

Notes

—Minnesota will stay closer to home the next three weeks, as it is scheduled to play in Iowa, Pennsylvania and Indiana. The team has traveled to Arizona, California, Georgia and Florida this spring.

—Freshman Jon DuToit returns to the lineup this week after missing the last two tournaments with tendinitis in his elbow. DuToit is the only Gophers player this year to have every round he’s played count toward the team’s score.

—The other players in the lineup this week are seniors Robert Bell and Erik Van Rooyen, junior Alex Gaugert and sophomore Tyler Lowenstein.